A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is creating quite a stir. It suggests that going bankrupt can be as bad for your health as heart disease.
While previous studies had suggested that financial trouble can lead to depression and high blood pressure, this is the first medical study to suggest that financial hardship is associated with early death.
“An analysis involving more than 8,000 Americans found that those who suffered a ‘negative wealth shock’ — defined as losing at least 75 percent of their wealth in two years — faced a 50 percent increased risk of dying over the next two decades.”
The researchers point out this puts formerly wealthy people at the same risk of early death as those who have been poor their entire lives. Now the researchers want to study whether there is any way to inoculate someone against the negative health effects of a wealth shock. However, they will first need to do some research to figure out what comes first, a wealth shock or a decline in health. It could be that wealth shocks are being triggered by rising healthcare costs, rather than the other way around.
While the magnitude of the link between a wealth shock and a decline in health revealed by this study is shocking, the fact that a link exists is not shocking. Over the years, we have noticed that some of our clients suffer physically and emotionally as they go through the bankruptcy process. That’s one of the reasons why our firm goes out of its way to make the bankruptcy process as stress-free and straightforward as possible. We do this by being responsive to our clients and brutally honest with them.
When a client calls or emails with a question, we get back to them as quickly as possible. Even if all we can say is, “That’s a good question, I’ll look into it and get back to you,” we want our clients to know that we are taking their case as seriously as they are. We treat every client we work with like they are our number one client because that is what they deserve.
We are also committed to being upfront with our clients about what is really going on with their case. We don’t sugar-coat our assessments in order to make things sound better than they actually are. We give a straightforward analysis of the issues at hand and the paths we can take to move forward. Being direct helps eliminate confusion and uncertainty, which we find are some of the most stressful parts of the bankruptcy process.
While we will never be able to make going through bankruptcy as stress-free as a walk in the park, it is our hope that having us by their side makes the process less intimidating. Bankruptcy is supposed to be a way forward, not a dead end, and we strive to make that true for our clients.