Many people feel guilty and depressed as a result of carrying debt on their credit cards. Studies have shown that people feel significantly more depressed when their credit card debt increases by ten percent or more. However, most people in California and other states do not show clinical depression, but rather experience an increase in household stress, which can manifest in an inability to eat and sleep properly.
Although depressive symptoms were apparent in all ages in a recent study, older adults between the ages of 51 and 64 displayed the most acute symptoms. Unfortunately, statistics show that Americans older than 50 averaged $8,278 in debt owed on credit cards in 2012. This is significantly greater than younger Americans. People younger than 50-years-old reported an average of $6,258 owed on credit card accounts.
A significant portion of the debt accumulated on credit cards by Americans over the age of 50 is a result of spending on basic expenses for living. Thirty-four percent of the older Americans surveyed stated they utilized credit cards to purchase groceries, pay for utilities and even to obtain insurance. Half of the older people surveyed stated they used their credit cards on medical bills. Loss of employment was also reported as a reason for 25 percent of older people using credit cards.
Older Americans with significant credit card debt should be sure to be cautious, since they could eventually find themselves facing overwhelming debt problems. Once a person, no matter what age, falls behind on their monthly payments it may be challenging to catch up with their bills. However, those who do find themselves being buried with credit card debt may wish to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy in California is designed to discharge unsecured debts, which includes debts owed to credit card companies.
Source: Post Crescent, “Older Americans carrying more credit card debt”, Alan Prahl, June 21, 2013