The Unhealthy Wealthy – The Relationship between Health, Wealth and Happiness

I couldn’t help but write today when I read about a few Hollywood stars who are having health problems.  One has an irregular heartbeat and another has a collapsed lung – serious health problems in both cases.

While I wish them both well, it just goes to show there’s no definite correllation between wealth and good health.  Studies show a correlation between poor socioeconomic standing and poor health.  That is, people who are very poor tend to have more health problems.  This is most likely because poor people have less access to healthcare and healthy foods.  Many people below the poverty line also have high stress levels due to work conditions and money troubles.  However, beyond the level of poverty, wealth has little effect on health.

Having all the money in the world doesn’t meant you’ll have good health unless you take care of yourself.  My guess is that neither of these stars will be spending their millions while laid up in a hospital bed (unless,of course, you count the cost of the hospital stay, which is probably quite exorbitant).

Can you be wealthy AND healthy?  Sure!  But for the average Joe who’s barely makin’ it in today’s economy, good health is probably closer within reach than extravagant wealth.  And, good health will lead to greater happiness.

Tellingly, studies also show that wealth has no effect on happiness beyond the poverty line.  Miserable people who  win the lottery might be happy for a short time, but they will inevitably return to their miserable existence unless they make more profound changes.

So what is the best predicor of happiness?  How does one become truly happy?  Good health ranks high!  Other avenues to lasting hapiness include self-esteem, optimistic thinking, challenging work, adequate rest, close relationships and interaction within a community, along with  sense of control, acceptance and purpose.

The important question, then, is not Do you make enough money to stay healthy? but Are you healthy enough to experience lasting happiness? Are you optimistic about your health?  Do you feel like you have control over your health and your destiny?

If you’d like to learn more about how to put your health before wealth, go to


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