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How older Americans can deal with debt

Texas seniors who are in debt are part of significant portion of the country's older population. According to a report by financial education site MagnifyMoney, one-third of Americans over the age of 50 have non-mortgage debt that they carry from month to month. In addition to that, credit card debt for older people tends to go hand-in-hand with lower net worth and low bank account balances.

MagnifyMoney analyzed data from the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center's annual Health and Retirement Study. The study, which began in 1990, surveys more than 20,000 Americans who are at or over 50 about their finances. MagnifyMoney found that according to the latest survey, the average non-mortgage debt for seniors is about $12, 490, with about $4,786 of that being credit card debt.

Debt in later age could interfere with retirement plans, and it could even make paying for necessary medical care difficult. Seniors who have credit card debt are likely to have a net worth that's only slightly more than half that of seniors who are free from credit card debt. But credit cards aren't the only problem. More than one-third of people over 50 have less than $1,000 in their checking accounts.

Some of MagnifyMoney's tips for seniors on getting out from under debt include paying it down, even if it means not putting money into a retirement account. Others include downsizing by considering a smaller home, delaying retirement, and resisting the temptation to help adult children with money.

When debt becomes so overwhelming that it seems impossible to manage, bankruptcy is a valid, legal solution. Many ideas that people have about bankruptcy are myths. The truth is that bankruptcy can help people to start on a path towards repairing their financial standing Another benefit is that by filing, consumers will obtain at least a temporary stay on creditor harassment and collection activities. An attorney can explain the process in more detail.

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