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The effect of debt on older Americans

Older Ohio residents are still in debt when they reach retirement age according to a MoneyMagnify analysis. The analysis was conducted using information from a University of Michigan study. Conducted since 1990, it asks more than 20,000 Americans at or over the age of 50 about the state of their finances.

The survey found that over one-third of Americans in that age group carry debts other than a mortgage each month. It also found that the average credit card debt among those who carried a monthly debt balance was $4,786. Overall, they had $12,940 in debt not counting any mortgage balances. Carrying debt may make it harder for older people to get the medical care that they need that is not covered by Medicare. This may increase the odds that they spend time in a nursing home or some other institutional setting.

Debt is not necessarily the only problem that older Americans are facing. The analysis found that 37 percent of Americans over the age of 50 had less than $1,000 in their checking account. Overall, older folks who have credit card debt have an average net worth 43 percent lower than those who don't carry credit card debt. Options to reduce debt may include downsizing or putting an end to financial support provided to adult children.

Filing for bankruptcy may allow older consumers who are overwhelmed by their financial obligations to put an end to creditor harassment while also making it easier to get a fresh financial start. An attorney can explain the eligibility and other requirements.

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