Male veterans face declining wealth and work prospects




In “Declining Wealth and Work Among Male Veterans in the Health and Retirement Study,” Alan L. Gustman,Thomas L. Steinmeier and Nahid Tabatabai present new evidence on how the relative financial status of veterans and nonveterans approaching traditional retirement age has varied over the last two decades. Using data on four cohorts of respondents in the Health and Retirement Study, they compared the wealth and employment status of veterans and nonveterans.

Specifically, they studied male veterans between the ages of 51 and 56 in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010. Depending on the year, one-third to one-fifth of those who served saw combat, either in Vietnam or in the First Gulf War.

The researchers found that veterans in the 1992 survey were better educated, healthier, wealthier and more likely to be working than nonveterans of the same age. However, by 2010, the differentials were reversed in all categories. The veterans in 2010 were less well-educated, less healthy, less wealthy and less likely to be working than nonveterans.

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