They’re Wealthy, but Are They Healthy?

More than half of HNWs say they health is their top priority, but their actions seem to belie their words

Wealthy investors say keeping physically fit is as important to them as staying fiscally fit, but their actions belie their words, according to a new study.

Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner surveyed investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million (not including primary residence) for a first-quarter wealth level study.

Respondents expressed more concern about the health of their spouse (63%) and their own health (56%) than about securing their descendants’ financial situation (57%) and maintaining their own current financial situation (55%).

High-net-worth respondents, on average, were older than their less wealthy counterparts, so it was not surprising that health issues would be of elevated concern, the report said.

Thirty percent of high-net-worth investors reported that they had worked in the past five years to cut out counterproductive habits such as smoking, overeating, drinking and caffeine intake. This compared with less than 25% of younger millionaires and mass affluent investors, who may have already adapted a healthier lifestyle.

But the study suggested that if these high-net-worth investors were indeed working to improve their health habits, it was only part time at best.

Just 11% said they were monitoring their weight more than they had five years ago, while only 7% said they were eating healthier foods. Fifteen percent were seeing their doctor more often.

Age was a factor in adopting a healthy lifestyle, and younger high-net-worth investors were taking the lead, according to the survey.

Twenty-two percent of those younger than 46 said they were seeing a doctor more often than they had five years ago. Similarly, 17% of the youngest respondents were monitoring and trying to control their weight.

Although only 9% said they were exercising more, this was probably a reflection of an established fitness regimen, according to the study. In contract, some 66% of boomers 47 to 64 and 30% of seniors ages 65 and up said they had tried to quit smoking, overeating, drinking and other bad health habits.

The report said it paid—or, better, saved—to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Citing the 2012 Health Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, it noted that health care accounted for 18% of expenses for people 85 and older, 15% for people 75 to 84 and 12% for people 65 to 74.

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