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, the study found.
“We found losing your life-savings has a profound effect on person’s long-term health,” said lead author Lindsay Pool, a research assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s a very pervasive issue. It wasn’t just a few individuals but more than 25 percent of Americans had a wealth shock over the 20 years of the study.”
Though the rate of savings loss spiked during the Great Recession, middle- and older-age Americans consistently lost savings across the 20-year period, regardless of the larger economic climate.