Death Takes a Payday: Getting Paid Can Mean Permanent Termination

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Looking forward to payday? Maybe you'd better circle that date in red. According to new research by a team at Lund University and The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, getting paid may be hazardous to your health. A significant increase in premature deaths is related to paydays.

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The researchers analyzed the correlation of salary payments and mortality among Swedish public sector employees during a six-year period, from 1995-2000. Accounting for coincidental dates of holidays or "other days were mortality is exceptionally high or low for reasons unrelated to salary receipt," the researchers considered a total of about 22% of the entire Swedish workforce.

"Our findings indicate that the mortality consequences of salary receipt are large," the team concluded. "We find a 23% increase in total mortality, corresponding to approximately 96 premature deaths per year if extended to include the entire Swedish working-age population, on the day that salary payments arrive."

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Apparently for some, payday can mean termination. Literally. The increase in mortality is not followed by a subsequent decline, the researchers say, but is mainly comprised of additional premature deaths. The study also reveals that an overwhelming number of the increased deaths – fully 83% -- are due to circulatory conditions. Heart conditions (67%) and strokes (119%) increase substantially.

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Perhaps most shocking of all, the phenomenon is not related to crusty old "I'll-never-retire" big-shot executives in the corner offices cashing their last ticket. It's particular driven by an increase in deaths for low-income individuals and younger workers. Payday increases mortality rates for 18 to 35-year-olds by an astonishing 164%.