Cash-strapped older Americans are racking up credit card debt faster than other consumers amid dwindling retirement portfolios and rising medical costs, a study shows.
The study, which will be released Tuesday by Demos, a liberal public policy group, shows that low- and middle-income consumers 65 and older carried $10,235 in average card debt last year, up 26% from 2005. Card debt for all borrowers surveyed rose 3% during that time, to $9,827.
Overall, revolving debt -- mostly on credit cards -- grew during much of 2008, the Federal Reserve says. But as consumers pared spending, outstanding debt also fell. From the fourth quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2009, revolving debt slipped 2.3% to $939.6 billion.