Nearly half of all Americans reach the end of their lives “with virtually no financial assets” after spending years dependent on Social Security, a new study found.
About 46 percent of U.S. senior citizens die with less than $10,000 in total financial assets, according to James Poterba of MIT, Steven Venti of Dartmouth College and David A. Wise of Harvard University, the co-authors of the study.
They factored in assets such as stocks and bonds as well as cash savings.
“There are substantial groups that have basically no financial cushion as they are reaching their latest years,” said Poterba, an economics professor at MIT.
That lack of a cushion makes sudden financial burdens like medical treatments not covered by Medicare or Medicaid even more difficult for seniors to bear.
The study also found a “strong correspondence” between wealth and lifespan, with seniors who had more assets – including home equity and savings – tending to live longer than those who had less.