Pre-Retirees Face Mounting Debt
As Americans continue to deal with a lagging economy, the presence of debt seems to only be increasing. The majority of people who contribute to retirement plans have accumulated more debt than retirement savings in recent years, according to a new report.
A study conducted by Hello Wallet evaluated the financial standings of older adults between the ages of 50 and 65. What they found was not encouraging and repeats findings from other studies that have evaluated the status of debt amongst older Americans.
In 2010, the average monthly debt obligation was equivalent to 22% of individual earnings. This percentage is up a staggering 69% from 1992. The average worker currently has only enough money saved to replace two years of income and nothing more. Given the average time span of retirement life is 17 years, these savings don’t even come close to covering the costs that will be accrued during post-work years.
Assets and Debt
A similar, separate study conducted by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found nearly the same thing. The percentage of individuals in their 60s who claimed debt rose from under half in 1998 to almost two-thirds in 2010.
Debt as a percentage of assets has close to doubled, from 10% in 1998 to 18% in 2010. Mortgage debts make up the greatest percentage of all these accrued debts, according to the CRR study.
Planning for retirement takes more than just setting aside money every year. Many people don’t formulate a written plan for their retirement and end up with more debt than they do savings, a situation that causes people to delay retirement year after year. Mortgage debt plays a large role in this problem, but credit card debt is also an increasing issue for seniors.
Saving for Retirement
Studies have found that those with written retirement plans are much more successful at reaching their savings goals than those without a written plan. It makes sense, but it is something that very few of us actually think about or do on our own. With increasing costs of health care, paying attention to saving enough is crucial if we ever want to enjoy retirement and not spend the later years of life stressing about finances.