Under the Crush of Debt

Many seniors are in the same predicament. A recent study by Demos, a nonprofit public policy organization, found that one in five middle- to low-income seniors spent more than 40 percent of their fixed incomes on debt payments. They will all have to figure out ways to come up with the extra money to for the payments if rates rise. "As interest rates rise, we're going to see more and more people succumb to financial ruin," said Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program at Demos.

Many consumers weighed down by debt loads don't have the flexibility in their budgets to face increased payments.