There's a surprising amount of Debt among the Elderly

Debt isn't just for kids anymore. A new survey found nearly half of Americans 75 and older have debt; that's up from 25% 25 years ago.

Michael Smith at Houston's STA Wealth Management says seniors are using a lot more credit these days.

"They once were able to generate interest on their savings; with interest rates that have been so low for the last eight years they're having to take out credit cards just to meet their basic needs."

Smith says with many of us living into our 90s, even 75 isn't too late to make a retirement plan.

"Their largest asset is their home so there's things they can do with that; there are options but they're gonna have to sit down and really put that plan into place."

But sadly, Smith says many of us are using death as a retirement plan. The median debt level among seniors 75 and over is nearly $21,000. Smith says at that late age, many may simply choose not to pay it off.

"There's just no way out for a lot of people in terms of such a large amount of debt so, look, defaulting on the debt is something we're probably likely going to see in the future."

Smith says the good news is, with many living into their 90s, it's not too late to make a retirement plan. A surprisingly large amount of those over 75 have student loan debt.

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