Retirees: Some Options for Managing Credit Card Debt

May 22nd, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

Senior citizens carry the fastest-growing credit card debt in the United States today.  The average balance increased 149% from 1995 to 2004 among retirees 65 and older.   That figure continues on the rise.  If you find your credit card debt worrisome, this article is for you.

You can choose to go to a debt relief counselor for assistance in managing what you owe to others.  Or you might want to choose to tackle the task yourself or with the help of a trusted family member.  If you choose the latter, here are the tried and true steps that will bring you relief:

  • Tear up, shred, cut up, burn, destroy in whatever fashion you choose, ABSOLUTELY ALL your credit cards. (Yes, it is possible to do this and survive!)
  • Make a list of absolutely everything you owe and to whom.
  • Make a list of all your income and sources.
  • Make a list of absolutely all your monthly expenses, leaving the credit card debt out of the list; pro-rate yearly expenses over 12 months to be sure you include everything.
  • Create a simple budget that includes your monthly income, monthly expenses and identify the amount that is left over.
  • The amount that is left over is what you have available to pay off your credit card debt.

So how do you decide how much to pay which credit card account?  There are several possibilities here…

  • Divide the left over funds equally among all accounts; or
  • Divide the left over funds on a percentage basis depending upon the balance (e.g., if your Visa account has the largest balance and that is 40% of your debt, apply 40% of your left over funds to that account)
  • If you have enough left over funds to pay off one or more accounts in full, call the customer service number on those accounts and ask to speak to a supervisor.  Say something like this:  “I am (your age) and have too much credit card debt.  I want to pay off this account as quickly as possible.  Can you help me by lowering the total amount of what I owe, then I’ll send you a check for that amount, and close this account?”  Some credit card companies will do this, and some won’t.  But it’s worth a try.

Don’t let your pride get in the way, if you need to ask a trusted family member or friend to help you.  It is reasonable to ask them to keep your credit card issues confidential, so you don’t have to deal with embarrassing social situations.  Following are some additional Internet resources you may find helpful:

For more commercial sites selling debt relief products, do a search for ‘financial problems senior citizens face’ and you will have over three million commercial sites available to peruse.  It’s a widespread problem and you have a lot of company in the same boat.  Don’t despair.  Take action now!



Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

8 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. [...] original here: Financial Problems Senior Citizens Face: Credit Card Debt | Senior … Posted in 70, Debt, Income, Insurance, Relationships, Traveling, advice, car, collections, [...]

  2. [...] here to read the rest: Financial Problems Senior Citizens Face: Credit Card Debt | Senior … By admin | category: debt assistance | tags: address-the-problem, aging-means, [...]

  3. [...] the original post: Financial Problems Senior Citizens Face: Credit Card Debt | Senior … By admin | category: credit card debt relief | tags: complaints, debt-relief, [...]

  4. [...] Financial Problems Senior Citizens Face: Credit Card Debt | Senior … [...]

  5. credit card low balance transfer…

    Best balance transfer credit card offers a low introductory 0% APR interest rate on credit card balance transfers….

  6. best balance transfer credit cards…

    Best balance transfer credit card offers a low introductory 0% APR interest rate on credit card balance transfers….

  7. free balance transfer credit cards…

    Best balance transfer credit card offers a low introductory 0% APR interest rate on credit card balance transfers….

  8. transfer credit card balances…

    Best balance transfer credit card offers a low introductory 0% APR interest rate on credit card balance transfers….

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.