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Freedom From Debt Is On The Horizon

Seniors turn to credit cards as medical costs soar

Middle-income seniors in Kentucky and around the country have taken on large amounts of credit card debt in recent years according to a study from a leading think tank and the AARP's Public Policy Institute. The amount owed to credit card companies by middle-income households led by an individual over the age of 50 surpassed the revolving debt of younger middle-class households for the first time in 2012, and the data suggests that a worryingly large number of seniors are relying on credit cards to make ends meet and cover basic living expenses.

More than half of the individuals over the age of 50 surveyed by Demos and AARP researchers said that they had used their credit cards to pay medical bills, and about a third said that they routinely used their cards to cover basic daily expenses like food and gasoline. A vice president of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling said that seniors often find it extremely difficult to escape the revolving debt trap because they usually have few opportunities to generate additional income during financial emergencies.

In addition to being difficult for them to pay off, high levels of credit card debt can make it difficult for seniors to gain admittance to long-term care facilities. Individuals who fail to adequately plan for their retirement years can find it very difficult to live on a fixed income, and many experts expect the problem to get worse in the years ahead.

Taking on high-interest debt to cover day-to-day expenses is not a sustainable financial strategy, but there are options available to those struggling with unmanageable bills. Attorneys with experience in this area could explain how debt settlement and credit counseling differs from filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 and they could also point out that filing a bankruptcy petition also puts at minimum a temporary end to harassment from bill collectors.

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