Rising Household Debt a Game Changer for Seniors

More and more Americans are spending their golden years racking up debt—a trend that if left unchecked could derail entitlement reform and alter the traditional pattern of wealth being transferred from older to younger generations.

For the past several decades, millions of senior citizens have been able to enjoy relatively safe retirements, in part due to a lifetime of savings, private pensions, Social Security, Medicare, and home ownership.

* The AARP and the left-leaning think tank Demos released a survey in January indicating that half of Americans older than 50 carry medical expenses on their credit cards, almost a quarter used their credit cards to help other family members, and nearly 20 percent have paid their credit card bills by dipping into retirement savings.