This study examined income data for 3.383 adults between 1985 and 2010 to analyze the effect of sustained poverty and perceived financial difficulty on cognitive function in midlife. compared to individuals never in poverty, individuals with all-time poverty performed significantly worse on verbal memory, processing speed, and executive function. Similar results were observed in adults with perceived financial difficulty. Findings were robust when restricted to highly educated participants. Poverty and perceived hardship may be important contributors to permature aging among disadvantaged populations.