Money gives you everything and takes them away too. Health, happiness and peace of mind cannot be bought with the help of paper currency, but the lack/loss of currency has the potential to take away all of these. So integral has money become to human beings that we value it above our own self. There are people who are ready to kill their own kith and kin for the sake of wealth, individuals ready to give up anything (their culture, values or principles) to earn more and some trying to save by being as stingy as possible. In another category are people who earn hard, save hard and lead a good life. At the end of day, each of us require money to survive. But one thing that keeps haunting our mind is whether more the money it leads to more problems or lack of money leads to a decreased quality and quantity of life?
Spanning a Life’s Worth Money
We’ve known from previous studies that how much wealth you have or don’t have determines your health and mortality risks. Its well-known that lack of money leads to lack of funds for expenditure on good food and hygienic living which in turn can lead to poor health, and again absence of money to treat the poor health affects quality of life. Apart from physical health, the absence of money has a devastating impact on mental health of the individual. Loans, interest rate on the loan, lack of funds for quality education, treatment of diseases or shortage of funds for fulfilling even the minutest of our child’s wish makes a person feel stressed and anxious. Stress is a dangerous factor that can disrupt a person’s living. Apart from yoga and meditation there are quite a few other ways shared at www.firsteatright.com to stay free from stress. There were even several episodes during the previous recessions that bore light on the huge financial crisis that people faced, how stressed they were because of this and how this affected their health.
There have been several studies that delved into the relationship between personal wealth and health for instance, wealthier people have a longer lifespan, but the reasons are yet to be unraveled. A new study has shed light on the effects of weight loss in long term whether losing money could impact longevity. The study which was carried in the United States over a 20-year period found that one-quarter of middle- and older-aged individuals experienced what was termed as the ‘negative wealth shock’. Almost 9,000 individuals over the age of 50 participated in the study.
Negative Wealth Shock
Negative wealth shock is defined as losing more than 75% of wealth over a period of 2 years. One can never forget the Great Recession (early 2007 to 2010) during which people lost their jobs, stock rates tumbled badly and there were many left on the streets without a penny. But the negative wealth shock was something that was present across different economic climates. The researchers also considered the case of individuals with asset poverty which was defined as “having zero or negative total net worth at the start of the study.”
Results showed that individuals who experienced a negative wealth shock were 50% likelier to die in the ensuing 20 years compared to those who did not lose wealth. Having wealth and then losing it was as bad on your life expectancy as never possessing any wealth. But in any point of time it was proved that losing money was far better than suffering from no money at all. In fact, individuals with asset poverty were 67% at a higher risk of death in the same 20 years compared to those who lost wealth.
Women face a greater risk of suffering from a wealth shock, but the risk of death was equal in both. Two grave risks faced by these people include mental health crisis as well as abstaining from hospital care owing to insufficient money to afford the same. Such a loss even led to changes in blood pressure rates, depression and abnormal cardiac functionality. The main solution for this is to diversify your money in different sources rather than stuffing it up in a single source such as mutual funds or gold bars. By diversifying the money, you reduce the risk of experiencing a 75% decline in value. Next is to diversify the income. Most of us develop a skillset, sharpen it and depend on it for our survival. If they lose their job or if the job market for their skillset disappears these guys are lost and stuck without a job. If diversifying your assets or doing multiple jobs is not possible for you at least recognizing that you’re in a difficult situation can save your health to a great extent. Also, remember that:
If wealth is lost, nothing is lost
If health is lost, something is lost
If character is lost, everything is lost
All that we need is our heart and soul to earn money. If we stay depressed nothing is going to improve. While the effects of the wealth shock were maximized on individuals who lost a home or had fewer assets, in the end all that matters are how you bounce back and get on with life.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.