Wealthy Americans will go to the extreme to live longer, from downloading their brains to taking risky drugs

Americans are spending more time and money on optimizing their health to care for their future selves. It comes on the heels of the U.S. leading the global longevity economy, which reached $5.2 billion investments in 2022, according to Longevity.Technology.

A new study found that nearly half (41%) of Americans are willing to spend time ensuring they can live as long as possible. The majority of the over 3,000 Americans surveyed said they spend time ensuring they get optimal sleep during the week, plan healthy meals, and take supplements and vitamins. 

The Consumer Sentiment Survey released in June conducted by A/B in partnership with Maveron VC firm, also revealed just to what extremes the wealthiest Americans are willing to go in pursuit of longevity. 

“People will go through extraordinary lengths with the hope, the simple hope, of living longer,” Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, recently said in his podcast Chasing Life. “Some people are going to put a lot more effort into this than most.” 

The rich and living forever

The wealthiest Americans can and do spend more money on longevity practices, even potentially unsafe, experimental ones, the results show. 

The study found that higher-income groups, those who live in households making more than $250,000 per year, were far more likely to spend their time and money on their health than those in households making less than $50,000 per year. Specifically, a vast majority of higher-income Americans—over 80%—imagine prioritizing sleep, a strict diet, regular health checkups, and stress management in the future. Forty-six percent of higher-income Americans say they will use the majority of discretionary income on improving health and longevity compared to 34% of lower-income Americans, with over half of higher-income Americans willing to participate in clinical trials aimed at extending lifespan. 

What’s more, 41% of higher-income Americans say they would download their brain onto a computer to live forever compared to 19% of lower-income Americans, according to the study. In the same vein, 40% of higher-income Americans would conduct gene editing on their future children compared to 20% of lower-income Americans. And nearly half (42%) of higher-income Americans would take potentially risky medications for chronic health problems over 19% of lower-income Americans. 

“With rising healthcare costs and wellness increasingly becoming a privilege of the elite, our study confirmed the idea wealthier populations are willing to invest in more cutting edge and risky therapies, almost all of them associated with out-of-pocket costs,” Anarghya Vardhana, general partner at Maveron, tells Fortune in a statement. 

This is despite studies that show there are research-backed and accessible tactics, like engaging with others, walking, eating nutritious foods, and finding purpose that may extend both health and lifespans.

While income undoubtedly plays a major role in who plans to participate in longevity hacking, more Americans across the board are investing in health and wellness. Thirty percent use the majority of their discretionary income on improving health outcomes, and a majority of those who either hold a positive or negative outlook on the economy expect to increase their spending on health and wellness.   

“Health span is increasingly being recognized as an important concept because it emphasizes the importance of not only living a long life but also living a healthy and productive life,” Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, an internal medicine physician and founder of End Well, a non-profit focused on end-of-life care, previously told Fortune

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