Don’t be fooled by that adorable old couple smiling on their vacation – they’re probably racking up a tab they hope they’ll never have to pay. While many of us assume the most solvent Americans are the oldest ones, their creditors and heirs are learning otherwise. Between sky-high medical bills, confusion about high-interest-rate credit cards, a struggling economy and the fact that people are living longer than they used to, more and more people are dying with debt.
“At the end of the day, some people of a certain age say, ‘It’s too late in the game for me to do anything about it. I can’t win. So I’m just going to stop playing the game,’” said Neil Ellington, executive vice president at CESI Debt Solutions (USA Today).”
“Study after study shows that more elders are living with heavy credit card debt, regularly swiping cards to pay for things like gas and groceries. And as the balances pile up, the elderly cope in a number of ways. Some, like Mr. Freedman, permit their adult children to step in, while others seek outside counsel in an effort to preserve their independence. Some elderly debtors are trapped in limbo, too proud to ask for help but too strapped to pay off the debt (New York Times).”
“Over the last two decades, the ranks of the nation’s bankrupts have not only been swelling, but also graying. In 2007, 7% of those filing for bankruptcy were 65 or older, up from 2.1% in 1991 (Forbes).”
If this happens to people who had pensions, what will the next generation face?