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One in 10 over-55s have mortgage debt prior to retirement

Written by: Anna Sagar
Around 11% of over-55s have mortgage debt before going into their final decade of retirement, according to research.

A study from insurance giants Aviva, which got views from 2,000 people aged 19 plus, found that 16% of those aged 45 and over don’t know how much they owe in outstanding debt, which includes credit cards, personal loans, overdrafts and mortgages.

This is nearly double the figure for adults overall at 9%.

The report also revealed that 15% felt their debt was out of control and they had no way of paying it off, which increases to 18% for those aged between 45 and 54.

Around 11% of those aged over 55 also said they are struggling.

The most common source of debt was credit or store card debt at 30% for over 55s, followed by personal loans at 16% and 15% with overdrafts.

Around 10% of those in this age bracket said they had unpaid household or utility bills.

However, the report also showed than over half of 45 to 54 years olds said that their debt had decreased, which is double the figure of 2021.

One in five said they were likely to carry out some or significant debt into retirement. This is across all age groups.

Over a third of people said they cut back on non-essential monthly spending and 21% said they had worked overtime or got a second job.

Around 13% said they had sought advice from debt services or helplines.

‘Millions may have to rethink retirement plans’

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “Interest rates have risen to levels we haven’t seen since 2008 – and are expected to rise further. The cost of debt is now centre stage, and millions may be having to rethink their retirement plans.

“Starting to think and plan further ahead as early as possible is a small step that can make a big difference in the long term. Individuals can take some positive actions to reduce their debt before entering retirement, such as consolidating their debt, paying off high-interest loans or switching to a cheaper rate, alongside reducing unnecessary expenses or taking out a debt management plan.”

He continued: “Also, if appropriate, people could work with a financial adviser to create a full retirement plan that takes their debt into account and ensures that they have enough income to cover their expenses and enjoy their retirement years.”

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