How Money Influences Our Health and Wellbeing

Updated on January 30, 2021

As the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. once said, “More money, more problems.” But is that really true? While those with money and means are typically charged with more high-stakes responsibility, the trappings of wealth more than compensate for the so-called downsides. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the arena of healthcare, particularly in the United States of America.

Simply put, the wealthier you are, the healthier you are. There are many reasons for this, starting with the cost of medical treatment. Even with health insurance, many folks are forced to pay out-of-pocket for various treatments and therapies. They’ll go to and apply for an emergency loan if it means getting the medical care they need. They’ll go into debt in order to live.

Compare that to the experience of someone with wealth. They’ll also be expected to pay out-of-pocket now and then, but they’ll be able to pay it upfront without turning to loans or credit. They aren’t getting into debt in order to live.

There’s also the matter of the coverage included in health insurance plans. Generally speaking, plans with higher premiums provide more comprehensive coverage and require less out-of-pocket cost for the patient. But who can afford those expensive plans? Again, it comes down to wealth.

Then there’s the matter of environmental impacts on health and wellbeing. The poor and working-class are more likely to live in high crime areas with poor air quality and in close proximity to industrial operations. Those with wealth typically reside in suburban areas where it’s much safer and cleaner. These differences directly translate to discrepancies in health and wellness.

Wealth – or lack thereof – plays a role in our diets and therefore our health. Generally speaking, wealthier families have access to healthier food options compared to those living in low-income areas. In fact, many of America’s poor live in what is referred to as a “food desert”, where there’s limited access to fresh produce and an abundance of cheap junk food.

Then there’s the matter of stress and its harmful effects on health and wellness. Few forms of stress compare to financial anxiety – worrying if you’ll be able to put food on the table or keep the heat on in winter. Years and years of financial anxiety become a silent killer, contributing to a greater likelihood of heart attack, stroke, and other deadly conditions.

As mentioned in the beginning, wealthy people certainly experience stress like everyone else. However, it’s not financial in nature. No matter how bad things get, they get to go to bed knowing they’ll always have a roof over their head. It’s a completely different kind of stress. There’s nothing existential at stake.

We could keep going, but you probably get the point. Wealth and health are closely linked. Even with systems in place to ensure everyone has access to treatment and insurance coverage, out-of-pocket expenses put a stranglehold on one group of people while only being a mild inconvenience to another. Wealthier people also get to live healthier lives. Finally, wealthy people aren’t constantly weighed down by financial anxiety, avoiding the health repercussions of excessive stress.

If that doesn’t sound right, then maybe it’s time for change.

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