| December 6, 2010

Seniors continue to rack up credit card debt, bankruptcies

Older Americans have experienced a sharp uptick in credit card debt in recent months, and with unemployment and foreclosures wreaking havoc upon the personal finances of many consumers, help may not be soon on the way.

Many seniors are reporting using credit cards to pay for everyday purchases, help their adult children, and cover their own medical expenses.

This can slowly deplete their Social Security and pension funds, forcing many to dip into their children’s and grand children’s inheritances, Colorado news provider 9News reports.

“They’re using it for gasoline, they’re using it for food, they’re using it for prescriptions, they’re using it for co-payments. It’s extremely sad,” Eileen Doherty, Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society, told KUSA. “They have tried all their lives to be upstanding, worthy, pay their bills, do the right thing, and now they are faced with limited income.”

Doherty says older Americans may wish to avoid using credit cards to pay monthly bills, while searching for charitable organizations and additional insurance to cover costs, the news source says.

Still others may look to bankruptcy to alleviate credit card debt. More than 20 percent of people over 55 filed for protection in the last decade.

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