More (depressing!) food for thought in USA Today's story "Credit Card Debt Rises Faster for Those 65 and older."
The great bugaboos of old age--medical bills and adult children--appear to be the culprits.
The rate of increase in debt among seniors is breathtaking. The study quoted in the article shows that low- and middle-income consumers 65 and older carried $10,235 in average card debt last year, up a whopping 26% from 2005. Compare this to credit card debt for all borrowers surveyed which rose 3% during that time, to $9,827.
Much of the increase is attributed to the cost of living, combined with reductions in available retirement funds.
According to an associate director of Demos, the organization that conducted the study, "The frivolous spending idea, that's not what's driving families into crazy debt. The expense that most affects families is the cost of living."
I dunno about you, but these statistics worry me even more than the increasing debt load being accrued by young adults in college--at least our younger citizens have another forty plus years to earn money and tame the debt.
Not helping matters was the survey's finding that older folks are not only borrowing more, but they are paying higher interest rates for the privilege.
It's stories like this that make me more determined than ever to get rid of my debts BEFORE I head into retirement.