Debt crisis for the over 60s
8 May, 2013
StepChange Debt Charity believes a growing number of older people are experiencing a debt crisis. It has seen a dramatic rise in people aged 60 and over seeking its help with their debt problems. Last year, 13,148 people aged 60 and over contacted it for help, a 36 per cent increase since 2009 when 9,628 people in that age group sought its help.
The amount of problem debt reported to the charity last year by those in this age group totalled more than a quarter of a billion pounds (£296,177,492).
Above average debt levels of the over 60s
The over 60s owe more than any other age group seeking the charity’s help, averaging £22,999 last year, almost five thousand pounds higher than the average debt for all of the charity’s clients which is £17,635.
The higher debt levels of the over 60s is driven mainly by credit card debt, which is an average of £15,152 compared to £10,006 for all age groups. This age group also owes more on catalogue debt (£2,026 for the over 60s compared to £1,808 for all age groups), overdrafts (£2,467 for the over 60s compared to £2,026 for all age groups), and store cards (£2,005 for the over 60s compared to £1,196 for all age groups).
The over 60s, however, owe less than the average on personal loans and payday loans.
Payday loans and the over 60s
While the over 60s owe less on payday loans than younger age groups, this is a growing issue for this age group. The average debt owed by the over 60s in 2012 was £1,221, whereas it was £1,657 for all clients. While lower than the overall average, it is still rising, going up from £1,136 in 2011 and amounted to over half a million pounds (£572,536) worth of problem debt for the over 60s.
Commenting on the figures, Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director at StepChange Debt Charity, said: “The rise in the number of older people seeking help from the charity along with their higher than average debt levels is very worrying.
“Whatever someone’s income level during their working years, most would expect to be in a stable, if not comfortable, financial situation when they are older.
“Unfortunately those in this age group who are struggling with debt are particularly vulnerable as their earning potential has diminished.
“It is therefore crucial that they do not suffer alone and are given the help and support they need to deal with their financial situation.”