Study: Loss of Wealth Increases Risk of Death by 50 Percent

If you or someone you know suffered a great financial loss during the recent recession, you should focus your attention on the state of your health.

Recent research that was published in JAMA revealed that when “people lose 75 percent or more of their total wealth during a two-year period, they are 50 percent more likely to die in the next 20 years,” according to Science Daily. The study, which is the first to look at the long-term health effects related to serious financial loss, revealed that over 25 percent of Americans suffered such a loss over 20 years. While many lost a lot of savings during the Great Recession, others lost it at other times.

The revelation that sudden loss of wealth later in life can affect on one’s health is not necessarily surprising, but the degree to which it is a predictor of early death is unsettling. According to lead author Lindsay Pool, people in this situation are at a greater risk of death for two main reasons: “These people suffer a mental health toll because of the financial loss as well as pulling back from medical care because they can’t afford it.”

The study also found that people in the low-income bracket who had never acquired any wealth had an increased risk of death of 67 percent over a period of 20 years. Interestingly, suffering a major financial blow late in life is almost as risky to one’s health as never having attained any wealth at all.