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Are Older People Risking Their Futures?


United Kingdom

March 30, 2008

Help the Aged and Barclays have just reported on a survey which shows some worrying trends in borrowing from the older generation. Figures from the survey show that in 2005 people using credit in their 60's owed around 2,000 each. This is 4 times the amount this group owed in 1995. So does this mean that in 2015, this figure could be 8,000? 

David Sinclair of Help the Aged warned that this trend was a "Ticking Time bomb". He went on to say, "This report shows that there are some worrying trends in credit usage that could represent a debt crisis for those coming up to retirement. We know from working with older people suffering from chronic debt problems that even owing a relatively small amount of money can cause untold misery for those living on a fixed income." 

The worrying figures show that credit is becoming easier to find. The Debt Counsellors Credit Survey's latest figures show that 44% of the people, who have taken part, strongly agreed with the statement that 'credit was easy'. So, should the government do more to stop people falling into this trap of over stretching themselves? 

John Porter of Debt Counsellors said "we are seeing more and older people with debt problems; they seem to get themselves into trouble, quite innocently, often just buying essentials like food and fuel. But the worry is that if they are coming up to retirement, which often means less income, then why would a credit lender lend. We ask, is this responsible lending?"

Help the Aged also stated that they hope the Government will introduce a strategy to continue progress in tracking pension poverty. It called for an overhaul of Social Fund to meet the needs of the poorest pensioners.

John went on to say "being in debt can be worrying enough, but in most cases people have time and can work to get themselves out of trouble, but being of retirement age and relying on the state pension for income, that that must be a huge worry". 

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