People who know they are growing more forgetful may have a tendency to simplify their investments — or their children may make them do so.
Three economists — Su H. Shin, Dean R. Lillard and Jay Bhattacharya — reported that conclusion in a new study distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
(Related: Dear Future Me: Please Listen!)
Shin and the other economists wrote the paper, Understanding the Correlation Between Alzheimer’s Disease Polygenic Risk, Wealth, and the Composition of Wealth Holdings, to look at the relationship between people’s risk for developing dementia and their retirement savings.
The economists conducted the study by using data collected from 1992 through 2014 by the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) program.
The HRS team surveys American adults ages 50 and older, and their spouses, every two years.
In 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the HRS team collected saliva samples from the survey participants. The team used the samples to develop “polygenic score” (PGS) statistics for the participants, or estimates of how likely the participants were to develop dementia, based on genetic testing results.
The researchers studied correlations between survey participants’ PGS results and their investments.
The economists found that the high-risk survey participants held about 9% more wealth in bank certificates of deposit (CDs), or “hands-off assets,” than other, comparable HRS survey participants did.