If high net worth investors are working on adopting better health habits, it is only part-time at best.
Physical fitness, as much as fiscal fitness, are the primary personal concerns of high net worth investors, according to a first quarter wealth level study conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. But what are they doing about it?
These investors, with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million (not including primary residence) are more concerned about the health of their spouse (63 percent) and their own health (56 percent) than they are than they are about securing the financial situation of their children or grandchildren (57 percent) and maintaining their own current financial situation (55 percent).
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High net worth investors, on average, are older than their less wealthy cohorts, and a recent study from the University of Washington and published by The Washington Post finds that wealthier Americans live longer than those at the lower end of the income spectrum. So it is not surprising that health issues would be of elevated concern.
Accordingly, high net worth investors report that they have worked in the past five years to eliminate such counter-productive habits as smoking, overeating, drinking, and caffeine intake. Thirty percent said they have been working to curb these behaviors in the past five years, compared with less than one-fourth of Millionaires and Mass Affluent investors, who, being younger, may have already adapted a healthier lifestyle.
But our study suggests that if these high net worth investors are working on adopting better health habits, it is only part-time at best. Just 11 percent said they are monitoring their weight more than they did five years ago, while only 7 percent said they are eating healthier foods. Fifteen percent see their doctor more often (Wealthy or not, it is hard to keep self-improvement resolutions. One study finds that 22 percent of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January, while 60 percent have abandoned them by June).
Age is a factor in adopting a healthy lifestyle, and younger high net worth investors are taking the lead. Twenty-two percent of those younger than 46 said they are seeing a doctor more often than they did five years ago. Similarly, 17 percent of the youngest high net worth investors are monitoring and trying to control their weight. While only 9 percent said they are exercising more, this is probably a reflection of an established fitness regimen. In contract, almost two-thirds of boomers ages 47-64 and 30 percent of seniors ages 65 and up said they have endeavored to quit smoking, overeating, drinking, and other bad health habits.
It pays to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Or more to the point, it saves. Health care expenses are a key component of spending in retirement, and in 2009, health care accounted for 18 percent of expenses for people 85 and older, 15 percent of expenses for people ages 75-84, and 12 percent for people ages 65.74, according to the 2012 Health Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and released earlier this year. Read more about the survey here.
A majority of high net worth investors feel that rising health care costs are a threat to their retirement security. Read about it here.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.