Middle-aged Americans who experience a major economic blow are more likely to die during the years that follow than those who don’t.
That’s according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Shockingly, those who experienced a devastating financial loss – called a “wealth shock” – have a 50% greater risk of dying early. And it doesn’t matter how much money you had to start.
How likely are you to experience a wealth shock?
About 1 in 4 people in the study have had a wealth shock, averaging a loss of about $100,000. Often it was a result of a drop in the value of retirement investments or a home foreclosure.
Some shocks happened during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Some happened before or after that.
But it didn’t matter if the economy was good or bad – a wealth shock still increased the chance of dying early.
The findings suggest a wealth shock is as dangerous as a new diagnosis of heart disease, says Dr. Alan Garber of Harvard University. Another expert noted that,
We should be doing everything we can to prevent people from experiencing wealth shocks.”