Seniors See Rise in Personal Debt

April 26, 2018 Posted by kingcade

While personal debt can affect people of all ages, few are affected by it more than seniors who are already living on fixed incomes.  A recent study by the Washington, D.C.-based Employee Benefit Research Institute highlights the risk of financial strain that comes with aging.  Researchers found that between 1992 and 2016, a higher percentage of American families headed by people age 55 and older are struggling with debt.

The increase in those carrying debt has been most prevalent among families headed by those age 75 and older, where the percentage rose from 31.2 percent in 2007 to 49.8 percent in 2016.  The debt is coming from different sources. A number of seniors are helping their children and grandchildren attend college by co-signing student loans.  In fact, the number of people age 60 and older with student loan debt as quadrupled in the last 10 years to 2.8 million, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As these borrowers age, it becomes more difficult to afford the monthly payments while also paying for necessary food, housing, prescriptions, and medical expenses. The trouble begins for many seniors when they begin using credit cards to pay for basic living expenses.

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