56% of Americans Retiring With Debt

And most were unwilling to delay retirement to chip away at it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2011 6:37 PM CST
In this Oct. 1, 2010 photo, Sandra Bennerson, 66, a retiree on a fixed income, shops for bargains at Target.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – Financially speaking, now isn't such a great time to be a new veteran. Or a resident of Nevada. And it's definitely not a good time to be retiring. Newsweek pulls together a handful of recent studies regarding Americans entering their golden years that are downright depressing. Among them:

  • Bankruptcies are up: In 2001, Americans age 55 and up made up 12% of bankruptcies in the country; now they account for more than 20%, according to a study by a University of Michigan professor.

  • Debt at retirement: What safety cushion? A study by nonprofit personal-finance firm CESI Debt Solutions found that a whopping 56% of retirees bid adieu to the workforce with debts on the books. And almost all of those in-the-red retirees refused to delay retirement to chip away at what they owe.
  • Old debtors vs. young debtors: With age comes ... more debt. The University of Michigan study also found that those retirees with debt owed credit cards 50% more than their younger counterparts.
  • Why? The CESI survey found that 75% of respondents listed medical or funeral expenses as the reason for that debt.

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