A study confirms what we all suspected – the richer you are the longer you’re likely to live.

Look at Prince Philip or our own Rupert Murdoch for that matter (hang on a minute he’s not one of ours anymore).

Low wealth is associated with death and disability among older adults, in both the United States and England, according to an article published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study, by Geriatrician Lena Makaroun, of the University of Washington and the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, looks at wealth not income as the driving force as it better reflects the financial resources available to older adults in retirement.

The study included nearly 20,000 adults in the United States and England, from two nationally representative groups of older adults in both countries.

They were separated into two age groups: 54 to 64 and 66 to 76.

This is because safety-net programs begin for many around the age of 65  – Medicare and Social Security in the United States and the State Pension in England which also delivers health care from birth through the National Health Service.

Researchers examined the association between wealth and death and disability, the latter defined as difficulty in performing daily activities, such as dressing, eating and bathing.

Adults in both countries with low wealth had a higher risk of death and disability, the study found.

However the results suggest small increases in wealth could deliver gains in life expectancy and function.

Limitations of the study include differences between the US and English comparison groups.

“Policies geared toward decreasing wealth-related disparities in death and disability in older adults should target determinants of health outside of access to health care,” the article concludes.


Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.