The Christmas season is probably NOT the best time to bring this up (or maybe, it's the perfect time!) but a surprising number of seniors are retiring notwithstanding the fact that they have not paid off their credit cards. In fact, according to this article in USA Today, some seniors are accumulating debt during retirement that they have no way or intention of paying.
I do find this shocking.
My general scenario (barring job loss or crippling health issues) is that one pays off the house, credit cards, etc. BEFORE retiring.
It's not like retirement is likely to bring in EXTRA income--that pie we spent our working lives accumulating is being sliced into ever-smaller pieces once we retire.
I will say that the part of the article I don't have a lot of sympathy with is the failure of retirees to leave an inheritance for their children. While I want to give my children something, and do expect to, it is NOT my children's right to expect that I will. My retirement funds are meant to fund MY retirement, not anyone else's.
Right now, working is important to me, both emotionally and financially. I could not fund my current lifestyle (meaning, my current debt payments!) on what I will have during retirement even counting Social Security and my 401(k). In fact, I've always wondered about folks who expect to rent throughout their retirement. Having my mortgage paid off (which it will be in 3.5 years) is a major factor in my ability to retire.
I wonder if this has to do with being a Baby Boomer? Do we just consider credit cards and credit card payments and mortgages part of life--that lasts until we die?