A large financial loss in middle age is associated with higher risk of death, according to a study report by researchers from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Michigan. Middle or older-aged Americans who experienced a huge economic blow were at a significantly higher risk of death than adults.


According to the study, people who lose 75 percent or more of their total wealth at mid-age that is called “negative wealth shock,” are 50%more likely to die within the next 20 years.

The study looked 8,000 American adults’ financial and physical health between the ages of 51 and 61. Researchers followed them for more than approximately 20 years and they found that nearly 25% of those individuals experienced a negative wealth shock and over 2,800 people died. Nearly 7% were experiencing long-term poverty.

The researchers reported that sudden financial loss is associated with a 50% higher chance of premature death while poverty is associated with a 67% higher chance of dying.

“Our findings offer new evidence for a potentially important social determinant of health that so far has not been recognized: sudden loss of wealth in late middle or older age,” said author Carlos Mendes de Leon, senior PhD, professor of epidemiology and global public health at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

This study was conducted by looking the Great Recession from 2007 to the early 2010s and concludes that a large financial loss in middle age may increase your risk of death. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Tuesday, it was based on the data collected from the Health and Retirement Study from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).