Tough economy hits retirees

10:42 PM, Jan 3, 2011   |    comments
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Swiping a credit card can become a necssity for some seniors on a fixed budget, especially easy when credit card companies offer cards with high limilts.

Eileen Doherty, director of the Colorado Gerintological Society, says seniors are using credit cards more for gas, food and prescriptions and this is leading to higher debt.

Doherty says, "I have seen people put things on credit cards that are just mind boggling. And, you know, going in they do not have the ability to pay them back."

Doherty councils seniors who might be getting threatening calls from collection agencies or be at risk of losing their homes.

A recent report shows people 55 and older now make up more than 20 percent of all bankruptcy filings and the high cost of medical bills and prescription drugs is leading more and more seniors to use plastic.

"A shocking statistic came out recently that said 40 percent of retired Americans had raked up credit card debt and were not concerned about how they're doing to repay it."

Kim McGriff with Money Management International, believes seniors might be extremely concerned about their money problems, but too quiet and proud to discuss those issues.

McGrigg says any unpaid debts at the time of someone's death will come out of an estate and could wipe out any inheritance a retiree is hoping to pass on.

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