Do Rich People Really Live Longer?

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Longevity

The connection between wealth and longevity may be easy to track. There is a residual effect, such as access to better health care, which can include preventive maintenance, like regular checkups and monitoring, resulting in informed lifestyle choices.

Statistics from the Mundi Index places high-earning per capita as one of the primary indicators to long life, with Luxemburg leading the globe in both earnings and longevity. However, Andorra still leads the entire world in longevity, as the United States ranks with Norway in terms of GDP. However, life expectancy in Norway is averaged at 83.6 years as compared to 82.2 for the United States, which could be attributed to higher elevation or other factors.

Jay Leno has been estimated to earn an extra $20 million a year from touring and has said he will likely continue doing live shows in the coming years. Retirement may not be in his vocabulary, since he’s so eager to continue on his journey toward longevity. Leno shares his witty insights on stepping down from the throne after 22 successful years as the host of NBC’s, “The Tonight Show” through an article for Huffington Post entitled Jay Leno: Sticking His Landing. Here are some lessons Boomers who are staring down the retirement clock can learn from Leno:

  • Be ready to sing your swan song with dignity. Leno is a class act. He had nothing but nice things to say about Fallon, who replaced him. And even though he unseated Conan O’Brien when he reclaimed the late-night slot, it was because NBC begged Leno to take his old job back in 2010.
  • Indeed, eventually everyone gets screwed. Be prepared for your exit with enough money squirreled away. Everyone reaches the end, and there’s no point in denying it is coming or not preparing for it.
  • Going out on top feels a whole lot better than being shown the door. In the 2013 May’s sweeps, Leno was No. 1 on the late-night heap and drawing some of his best ratings in months.
  • It’s fine to act your age. Why pretend to be something you aren’t? You don’t have to prove anything to anyone but yourself.

Although most of us can’t identify with Jay Leno’s lifestyle, we can still appreciate his style. He could easily opt for the limelight and spend the rest of his years resting on his laurels or going on adventurous road trips in an endless quest for antique car auctions to satisfy his well-documented passion. It certainly can’t be about the money. Instead, he has chosen the high road in the race to 100 and will continue to serve as a reminder that going out on top often means never really stopping. No doubt, his health, wealth and general well-being will continue to rise along with his star of fame.

To explore the relationship between wealth and long life further, it would be helpful to ask yourself the million dollar question: What are my assets?

Before answering, consider the wealth that can be found in non-monetary items as well as your stock portfolio and nest egg. Do you perceive the value of loyal friendships, a loving spouse and a caring family as part of your estate? Certainly you appreciate the worth of professional skills, talents, and even a good sense of humor. It’s easy to lose sight of the true riches that come with inheriting the earth. When you take stock of intangible valuables, such as a kind heart and a nurturing attitude, you begin to appreciate the vast wealth that can be accumulated throughout your lifetime, and which ones will stay with you throughout your life.

There are many cultures that place financial gain low on the totem pole of life. The traditional cultures of places like Vilcabamba, Andorra and Abkhasia embrace simple lifestyles, while placing financial status as a medium-to-low priority on their list, and yet they lead the race in both quality and quantity of life.

Even if you’re not in Jay Leno’s league, you can still create your own winning combination of wealth-building tools while investing in your personal stock of the assets you want to be most remembered for – long after your race is over.

Why Retirement Is Different Today

Longevity upticks are achievable goals for both women and men that aim higher toward the 90-something mark after decades of living healthy into your 80’s. Preventive healthcare and routine maintenance are offshoots of the Baby Boomer generation. Self-monitoring devices, medical advances, and the growing acceptance of regular home health care assistance keeps seniors functioning at comfortable levels with greater efficiency.

Across-the-board improvements have boosted the average retirement age higher over the decades, thanks to the vigilance of the aging population. Good lifestyle choices carry us through the aging process granting extra years to achieve our financial and personal goals.

Governments systems struggle to maintain pension funds, and many are forced to raise the standards of retirement age. Like many other countries, France has also raised the retirement age from 60 to 62 years. Rules in place in Greece’s economy, such as those providing very early retirement to workers in hazardous jobs as well as to hundreds of thousands of public employees, coupled with Greece’s other current economic woes, threaten to bring down the whole system. The fact that people are working longer, often stems from a desire to keep active, and that helps to keep the Social Security fund in good economic health. As a result, the standard age of retirement in America has been going up.

The passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1967, put the decision process in the hands of employees, by ensuring employers can’t force retirement before the age 65, and in 1986, mandatory retirement was eliminated for most occupations. Now you can work as long as you want, assuming the jobs are there and you are able to do the work. Employers can’t force you to retire just because of your age; however, they need not retain you either.

Hitting the retirement age mark while continuing to work gives you options to plot a specific course for your future while remaining active and earning extra funding for your long-range goals. Knowing that you are there by choice can evoke a sense of respect and admiration among co-workers and may help inspire their own work ethics. Working on the plus side of benefits often increases the quality of life and raises your integrity in the workplace.

However, seniors that hang on to their jobs should really adapt a love-it-or-leave-it approach. If you’ve dedicated a large portion of your career to one employer, you may find some co-workers eager to toast your departure, especially if your delayed exit slows down their own promotions and career plans. Although we have the right to work longer, we also have the responsibility of ensuring that we’re still up for the rigors of a demanding career. Ask yourself the tough questions when contemplating delayed retirement, including a truthful evaluation of your professional stamina. If your job is physically or mentally demanding, make sure you save enough kindling to ignite your own fires after retirement. A depleted body or a stressed-out mental state should not be part of your retirement plan. Consider a less-demanding job if you must continue to earn income and research the possibility of activating your Social Security benefits to supplement any reduced pay, if necessary. You may be able to continue working while claiming Social Security, but be aware of limitations regarding early-benefit activation and your break-even point, as discussed earlier in this chapter.

To make the right decision about the date of your final paycheck or when to activate your benefits, consult a financial advisor with experience in asset and wealth management. You can also do an on-line retirement gauge check-up to see if you are on target with your financial goals.