We’re all for aging ungracefully, but we have no intention of doing it sooner than we have to.
So we arm ourselves with an arsenal of tricks and tools to cheat the clock. We moisturise and drink water. We exercise and eat right. We try to limit our vices and don’t leave the house without sunscreen.
Add one more thing to that list. According to a recent study, if you want to delay the aging process, you also have to be responsible with money.
Financial stress takes a serious toll on your appearance, says the study, published in the journal Research on Aging. Brandeis professor of psychology Margie Lachman and several colleagues discovered that people with the highest levels of financial stress appeared to have aged more over a decade than people with lower levels of financial stress.
Over two hundred participants were asked to rate the severity of their money concerns. Photographs were taken of them in 1994-1995 and again in 2004-2005. The photos were then shown to a separate group of 19 reviewers, who were asked to judge how old the people in the pictures looked. The reviewers consistently assumed that those with greater financial struggles were older than those with more economic stability.
“It may be that people who are under a lot of financial stress do not pay much attention to their appearance,” said Lachman in a press release. “Stress can also accelerate the aging process [at a cellular level].”
Interestingly, subjects who said they were under financial stress did not see themselves as looking old for their age.
“What did surprise us was that financial stress was related just to how old you looked to others,” continued Lachman. “It was not related to how old one feels or how old one thinks they look. So it showed up to others in one’s appearance, but not in terms of one’s own subjective views or perceptions of their age.”
Other sources of stress – like work or home life – affected how old subjects felt, but had no effect on how old they looked to themselves or others. So if you want to hold onto those boyish good looks, it may finally be time to learn how to balance a cheque book or invest in Bitcoin.