Understanding Debt Among the Older Population
Poor financial capability can contribute to a host of problems, particularly for people close to retirement.
Older Americans are increasingly likely to carry debt into retirement, and older households’ debt to income ratios are rising. This trend has prompted concerns about retirement security, since a higher debt burden can constrain the amount older persons can contribute to their retirement accounts and affect how they manage their retirement drawdowns. This study examines older persons’ attitudes toward and comprehension of debt, including individuals’ perceptions of their financial situations and how debt impacts their financial circumstances.
This study was presented at the June 25, 2020, TIAA Institute Fellows Symposium. To view additional research that was presented, go to the 2020 Fellows Symposium Overview.
The authors analyze debt among older Americans using two data sources: a debt module in the 2018 U.S. Health and Retirement Study and the 2018 National Financial Capability Study.