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Credit card debt growing among America's seniors

Living on a fixed income presents a whole host of unique challenges. However, this is something millions of senior citizens deal with on a day-to-day basis. Even though retired seniors are past their most significant income-earning years, they might still deal with growing expenses and debt.

A study conducted by the National Center for Policy Analysis showed that seniors are dealing with growing debt loads, largely as the result of credit cards and home mortgages. People in this situation may be living in a tight financial situation, but are dealing with the same kinds of debt as people who have a regular income. Ultimately, burdensome debt may cause seniors to seek debt relief.

According to the previously mentioned study, people between the ages of 65 and 74 had an average credit card balance of $6,000 in 2010. That figure has grown tremendously since 1989, when it was an average of $2,100. At the same time, people aged 75 and older had credit card debt averaging $4,600 in 2010, which an immeasurable figure in 1989. Clearly, people are taking on increasingly larger debt loads even as they get older.

Beyond credit card expenses, housing costs are still the greatest burden for seniors. Namely, the same study showed that the amount of mortgage debt among 65 to 74 year olds jumped by almost 16 percent between 1989 and 2010.

Between making mortgage and credit card payments, seniors might feel absolutely overwhelmed. Thankfully, however, there may be options available. Relieving this pressure by seeking debt relief could allow individuals to truly enjoy their golden years without major financial burdens.

Source: USA Today, "Seniors overspend on mortgage, credit cards," Robert Powell, Feb. 8, 2014

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