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Retirement debts risk for over-45s

31 December 2014

• Nearly one in five over-45s expect to retire in debt or are not sure they will clear debts
• Key Retirement study shows 53 per cent of over-45s currently have outstanding debts

Nearly one in five over-45s expect to retire in debt or are unsure they will clear all their debts before they can afford to stop work, research from leading financial provider Key Retirement shows.

Its nationwide study among over-45s who are still in jobs shows 10 per cent do not expect to clear all their debts before retirement while another nine per cent are unsure if they will be able to.

Key Retirement believes the high numbers of over-45s who expect to retire with debts underlines the need for lenders to be more flexible on lending to older borrowers.

The introduction of the Mortgage Market Review in April has lead to concerns about mortgage lenders being unwilling to lend past standard retirement ages with some companies demanding loans are paid off by State Pension Ages while others insist mortgages are cleared by 70.

The research found that currently 53 per cent of over-45s owe money on credit cards, mortgages, personal loans or other finance arrangements.

Dean Mirfin, group director at Key (www.keyadvice.co.uk), said: "Access to credit is a major issue for many people as they get older and more particularly for the over-55s and over-65s, as demand remains high while lenders remain wary and the risk of rejection is high.

"Lenders have to be responsible and ensure that customers can afford to repay but at the same time there are millions of over-55s who are creditworthy and should be able to borrow responsibly.

"The interest-only mortgage issue, where many homeowners have looming deadlines to clear capital, highlights the need for new products and new thinking which potentially can include equity release."

The study found people aged 45+ in Northern Ireland are most likely to have debts with 63% saying they owe money on credit cards, loans, mortgages or other finance arrangements while people in London are the least likely with just 45% saying they owe money.