Intelligence

Why Are American Seniors In Debt?

We recently worked with a marketing research and polling firm to conduct a phone study last month on the topic of senior debt. The main takeaway from the responses was that more than half of adults 55 and over said they were in debt. Here are some of the highlights from our findings: – Housing loans (mortgages, home equity loans) are the biggest source of debt among older adults – 40% of older adults owe $50k or more (whether from housing or other sources) – Older men have more debt than women (60% of men said they had debt compared to 47% of women) – Older adults under 65 have more debt that those over 65 (over half — 55% of respondents aged 55-64 owe $30k or more, compared to 40% of respondents aged 65-74 and 32% of respondents 75 and over who owe that amount). – Older adults with a household income under $49k were far likelier to list “medical debt” as their main source of debt than those with household income of $50k or more. My article seeks to provide analysis about what the findings mean, with the help of input from economists, financial advisors and senior experts. Is it surprising that older adults are in this amount of debt, or that housing loans are the main source? Any hypotheses as to why older men have more debt than their female counterparts? Furthermore, what do these findings mean for older Americans’ ability to afford/plan for the costs associated with growing old in this country, from health care to senior care (assisted living, in-home care, memory care). In other words, for the more than half of adults between 55-64 owe at least $30k in debt, do they have enough time/leeway to put away the money they’ll need to pay for their future care? And what are the implications for the adult children of these older adults — will they be on the hook for their parents’ debts and/or costs of their future care? If you have any insight on this topics—either from an economic, personal finance, or senior care perspective