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Debt in retirement today

Your Money
Wednesday 14 March 2018

The total debt held by the over-65s is a breath-taking £65 billion. And it’s only expected to grow, forecast to reach £142 billion within the next decade.



40% of Britons over 55 will still have a mortgage or overdraft going into retirement.

This could mean that dipping into your pension pot - either as a means of repayment or a route to extra cash - becomes tempting. It's important to remember that your pension fund is limited, and needs to provide for you for many years. 

41% of over-65s with an outstanding mortgage have an interest-only mortgage.

This number may seem surprisingly large, but outstanding interest-only mortgages are a concern for many people. If you're one of them then it's good to know that you're not alone - but you should still take the time to ensure you have a suitable repayment vehicle. 


25% of over-55s expect to have credit card debt.

The monthly repayments on a credit card can be worryingly high, especially if you're trying to reduce the balance by paying of a reasonable sum each month. For many it can be a catch-22 situation: pay off more than you can afford and make sacrifices in other areas, or pay off the minimum and be stuck with the debt. If you can't afford minimum repayments then it's time to seek urgent debt help. 

16% of over-55s have over £4,000 on retail credit or hire purchase.

Unsurprisingly, many over-55s do hope to be debt -free once they reach retirement. But with so much debt still to pay off it can be a struggle for them to get there. 

54% of mortgagees will have more than £10,000 left to pay at retirement.

Ultimately, the research shows that a large proportion of retirees find themself with one form of debt or another. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be filling RetireWise with informative articles to help those of you who are concerned about debt take back control.

While they are eye-catching, these figures are not necessarily something to be alarmed about. Although as many as four in 10 Britons still have debts when they retire, there are ways to resolve it without diminishing your pension pot or taking on more credit cards.

Many of you have an ace up your sleeve: the equity your homes have acquired over nearly three decades of increasing property values. This means further borrowing doesn’t have to be a painful business. In fact, it could help you to settle all those other worries too.

All facts and statistics drawn from more 2 life research 2016 / 2017. 

Page last updated: Monday 12 November 2018