Now that we live longer, our debt lives longer, too. More Americans aged 75 and older are heads of households and they have plenty of debt -- including student loans.
Michael Smith of Houston's STA Wealth Management says it's not surprising.
"A lot of people were laid off in the rough patch we had from 2008 to current and they didn't regain jobs that provided the income to pay down their debt."
What to do? Smith says this is something you need to think about in your 50s.
"The clock is ticking; it's never too late; they need to sit down with a financial advisor -- they need to go through their balance sheets to see where they can find liquidity."
A study says the average debt for heads of households who are 75 and older is nearly 37-grand.
Smith says there are possibilities.
"Is there insurance? Is there anything they have -- insurance policies that could cover this and maybe help their loved ones that they may burden with debt."
Lots of Americans went back to school in their 50s to get an MBA or some other sort of degree that would help with a career change.