In the past few months I have seen several friends pass away…
I have seen several people in my circle struggle with illness, addiction and disability…
All are under the age of 50. None of them planned on what happened to them.
None of them planned on the impact it would have on those around them.
Life is not a straight line.
We all are forced to deal with situations that are beyond our control.
Sometimes we are forced to deal with abusive and alcoholic parents when we are young.
Sometimes we are traumatized by sexual or physical violence.
Sometimes we are injured by an accident, or illness.
Many times we self-medicate to hide the pain, trying to make it through another day…
Often times we find ourselves prescribed pain meds that lead to a nightmare of addiction and devastation.
A recent article from the Atlantic observed how radically things have changed: (1)
“In 2015, more Americans died from drug overdoses than from car accidents and gun homicides combined.”
“Authors (of a recent NBER study) suspect that the increased use of painkillers is a “physical manifestation of mental-health problems that have long been known to rise during periods of economic decline.” Depression and pain are twin agonies, in other words: Not only does depression make people more sensitive to pain, they note, opioids have been shown to help relieve depressive symptoms.”
“In the same paper, the Princeton University labor economist Alan Krueger found that nearly half of “prime age” men who aren’t in the labor force take pain medication daily.”
In a separate study from the Brookings Institution and Princeton University, authors Anne Case and Angus Deaton suggest that the links between opioids and depression have deeper roots… (2)
“Increases in deaths of despair are accompanied by a measurable deterioration in economic and social wellbeing, which has become more pronounced for each successive birth cohort. Marriage rates and labor force participation rates fall between successive birth cohorts, while reports of physical pain, and poor health and mental health rise.”
These studies lend support to the idea that many opioid overdoses are “deaths of despair,” as the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton call them—deaths brought on by joblessness, hopelessness, and both physical and emotional pain.
The Atlantic article continues…
“Europeans also suffered joblessness during the recession, but they aren’t overdosing at American levels. Most European countries have stronger social safety nets, which might soften the trauma of unemployment, as well as socialized health-care systems, in which prescription records tend to be centralized.”
In her book Anne Case pointedly singles out the dysfunction of the US health care system as a primary contributor to the crisis we see unfolding before our eyes. (4)
Clearly this is a large societal issue that we all have to deal with. We all have responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones.
The fact is most Americans are unprepared for economic or financial disruption. (3)
*37 million households lack any life insurance…
*50 million households know they need more life insurance…
*7 in 10 households would be in financial trouble if they lost their main bread winner…
*69% of those working in the private sector have no disability insurance…
*1 in 4 people will become disabled BEFORE retirement…
*68% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck…
*How many are working multiple part time jobs to fill the gap from a lost full time career?
The economy is changing and we have to adapt to new conditions. We have to put in place protections for ourselves and our families… we can’t rely on the government or anyone else to provide for us or the ones we love.
Talk to a financial advisor like myself. Explore options. But above all take action and protect yourself and those you care about.
Please feel free to contact me to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Retirement Income. Tax Efficient Planning.
Life Insurance. Disability Insurance
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2021-127297 exp 9/23
- Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, 2021