Mental health and retirement savings: Confounding issues with compounding interest

Vicki L. Bogan, Angela R. Fertig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The questionable ability of the U.S. pension system to provide for the growing elderly population combined with the rising number of people affected by depression and other mental health issues magnifies the need to understand how these household characteristics affect retirement. Mental health problems have a large and significant negative effect on retirement savings. Specifically, psychological distress is associated with decreasing the probability of holding retirement accounts by as much as 24 percentage points and decreasing retirement savings as a share of financial assets by as much as 67 percentage points. The magnitude of these effects underscores the importance of employer management policy and government regulation of these accounts to help ensure households have adequate retirement savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-425
Number of pages22
JournalHealth Economics (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • depression
  • household finance
  • mental health
  • retirement savings
  • social security

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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