Media Release

When you’re 64 will you still be in debt?

  • research reveals a worrying trend of bad financial habits among Baby Boomers
  • Number of Australians over 65 with a mortgage increased by 54% in four years
  • Get your finances under control before it’s too late!

April 18 2014, Sydney – One of Australia’s biggest comparison websites has revealed a worrying trend amongst the nation’s older generation, with more retirees exposing themselves to debt.

In an analysis of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), found that the number of Australian households with a mortgage aged over 65 has increased by 54 percent in 2011-2012 from four years ago. There are now 142,000 of these aged households with mortgages, compared to 92,700 in the 2007-2008 period.

On top of this, more than two in every five credit card holders (43 percent) are aged over 55, which is potentially 3.35 million cardholders who are close to or at retirement age with credit cards, according to a survey of more than 1,000 respondents commissioned by and conducted by a leading global research provider pureprofile.

Out of these cardholders over 55, there are an estimated 233,790 who are over 77.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at says that this indicates a growing trend of debt amongst our older generation.

“It's a real concern because it shows that older Australians are taking on more debt and heading into retirement with a mortgage, which places greater pressure on them to work longer or be supported by their families. And the fact that almost half of Australians who have a credit card are older than 55 shows the increased risk of debt they may be exposing themselves to.

“While it was good to see that seniors are generally more responsible with their credit cards, as our survey showed those over 55 are more likely to pay off their credit card balance each month, any debt is still a greater risk as their income can be more limited than those in the workforce.”

The research also showed that the proportion of households with a mortgage aged 65 and over has increased over the past four years to 2012. In 2007-2008 those over 65 represented 3.3 percent of households with a mortgage, compared to 4.5 percent in the 2011-2012 period.

Mrs Hutchison said that many Australians need to look at how to better manage their finances, especially those nearing retirement.

“Seniors may be holding onto their mortgage for longer because they have taken on more debt from refinancing, upsizing or renovating. Or even accessing their equity through a reverse mortgage to go on a holiday. But your retirement isn’t the time to put your finances at risk.

“We’ve seen more demand for reverse mortgages by Australians, with a 17 percent increase in Google searches for reverse mortgages over the past two years. Seniors should be careful as these types of loans are higher risk and can be more expensive than standard loans.

“Every borrower should be looking at paying back their mortgage and debts as soon as possible, but this is especially true for pensioners. Borrowers should make sure they’re getting the best deal on all of their financial products and aim to reduce their debts before it’s too late.”


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