Personal Finance

Sadly, This Is by Far the Most Common Debt Among Retirees

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Senior woman looking at her bills
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Talk to just about any financial adviser, and they will urge you to enter retirement without debt. But while a goal of beginning your golden years in the black is laudable, the reality can be very different.

A recent survey of 1,998 American retirees between the ages of 62 and 75 found that many of these retirees have debt. Some folks likely ran out of time to pay off their debts before retiring. Others may have entered the red or simply deepened their debt level after leaving work.

Whatever the reason, the following is the most common type of debt that retirees report — along with other debts that are part of retirement for many people.

1. Credit card debt

Credit Card Senior
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Retirees who said they had this type of debt in:

  • 2022: 40%
  • 2020: 43%

Credit card debt is almost always expensive, but it’s much scarier when you do not have a regular paycheck to help you pay bills.

If you are struggling with this type of bill, stop by the Money Talks News Solutions Center and find help paying your credit card debt.

2. Mortgage

Happy senior couple in front of their house
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Retirees who said they had this type of debt in:

  • 2022: 30%
  • 2020: NA

A home loan is one of the few types of borrowing that can be classified as “good debt.” Many financial advisers suggest paying off a mortgage before retirement, but others argue against such a strategy.

Should you pay off your home loan before entering your golden years? Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson gives his take in “Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Before Retirement?

3. Car loan

Senior driver
Rob Marmion /

Retirees who said they had this type of debt in:

  • 2022: 23%
  • 2020: 30%

Unless you have a lot of money in savings, a car loan is hard to avoid — whether you are retired or not. So it makes sense that nearly a quarter of retirees still are paying off this type of loan.

Less common types of debt

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Retirees said they also are carrying these types of debts in 2022:

  • Medical debt: 11%
  • Home equity loan: 7%
  • Student loan: 4%
  • Business loan: 1%

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