The Senior Debt Crisis

March 11, 2004 | | |

"Credit-card debt is becoming common among older Americans in the same way it's common among all other age groups," says Tamara Draut, a director at Demos, a New York-based research and advocacy company, and co-author of a recent study on credit-card-debt trends among retirees. According to the study, nearly one-third of senior citizens in the U.S. carry card balances. Within that group, the average debt is $4,041, an 89% increase over the past decade.

The rate at which retirees are filing for bankruptcy has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Retirees are now the fastest-growing segment of bankrupted Americans, according to research by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project at Harvard University.