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Unexpected bills driving credit card debt in retirement

Debt in retirement is a growing issue with unexpected bills adding to the problem. Our research shows that nearly one in five over 65s are struggling to clear debts of around £3,500 run up from unforeseen bills – this is 286% more than the average single pensioner’s monthly income of £906.

Almost half of pensioners said car repairs were the reason for having to rely on plastic, while 39% used credit cards to pay for repairs to their home and 19% got into debt to help their children out with financial emergencies.

Levels of secured and unsecured debt** held by over-65s is rising and has increased from £70 billion to an estimated £85 billion in the past two years with around £12 billion attributable to unsecured debts such as credit cards and loans. 

The research shows around 61% of over-65s with debt expect to clear it very shortly while 29% are confident they will be debt-free within five years. However, 6% are unsure if they will ever clear their debts.

Know you have retirement sorted

Key’s Debt in Retirement guide aims to help people become retirement ready with information on options for managing and eradicating debt.  It also considers some of the pros and cons of boosting income by carrying on working as well as downsizing and releasing property wealth for homeowners. 

Download your free Debt in Retirement guide


* Research conducted by independent researchers Consumer Intelligence among a sample of 3,000 adults aged 55-plus split among three groups, those aged 55 to 65 still in work: retired people aged 65 to 70; and retired people aged 70-plus

**Research conducted by CEBR ‘Debt in Old Age 2018’ - drawing on the Wealth and Asset survey from the Office of National Statistics and primary research survey of more than 2000 over 55s


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