Recent research suggests a growing problem for the aging baby boomers. It finds that credit card debt has increased among those over age 50. While the stereotype of individuals with large amounts of credit card debt are those of young college students or young couples with children, the study found more credit card debt for those older than 50 years of age.
A woman in the story is struggling because of debt she incurred helping out her daughter’s college expense, was divorced and had to go to school herself. She also had unexpected medical bills. This has left her with over $16,000 in credit card debt and no easy prospect of paying it off. While she appears willing to pay the debt off, it would only take a medical problem or a layoff to leave her in an untenable position. Bankruptcy may be the only solution, should either of those events happen.
The problem here is that many people have used credit cards and other forms of debt to enjoy a lifestyle that stagnant job creation and income growth has increasingly pushed out of reach. Income growth for the last 30 years has been virtually flat, meaning adjusting for inflation, many of these boomers are not making much more today than when they started their careers.
Many have relied on two incomes, credit cards and home equity to get by, but with the Great Recession, many people have lost job and much home equity has been wiped out. This leaves credit cards as their last resort.
If medical issues, divorce or job loss have made your credit card bills overwhelming, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to find a solution.
Source: Reuters, “Boomers Face Credit-Card Quandary as Economic Doldrums Bite,” Chris Taylor, Feb. 20, 2013