Study: Major Financial Shock Linked With Earlier Death

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 11, 2018
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A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that people who experience a major financial shock are 50 percent more likely to die within the following two decades than those who did not. The researchers looked at 8,714 U.S. adults aged 51-61 from 1994 to 2014. They defined a negative wealth shock as a loss of 75 percent or more of total net worth over a two year period. 

Of the participants studied, 2,430 experienced a negative wealth shock during the 20 year followup period, versus 5,535 who had continuously positive wealth without shock. A total of 2,823 deaths occurred during this time. The researchers found that there were 30.6 vs. 64.9 deaths per 1000 person-years for those with continuously positive wealth versus those who experienced a negative wealth shock. Even worse were the study participants who were in a state of what was called "asset poverty," that is having a net worth of 0 or negative net worth: over two decades, this group experienced 73.4 deaths per 1000 person-years. 

"A sudden loss of wealth—a negative wealth shock—may lead to a significant mental health toll and also leave fewer monetary resources for health-related expenses. With limited years remaining to regain lost wealth in older age, the health consequences of these negative wealth shocks may be long-lasting," said the study abstract. 

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