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Debt management for older individuals

Individuals in Arkansas who are near retirement or are already retired should think about how they are going to manage their debt. Doing so may be more difficult during retirement, and individuals may overestimate how financially healthy they are in retirement and overspend using credit cards. People over the age of 75 have an average credit card balance of more than $4,000, and for those who are between the ages of 65 and 85, the number with mortgages has significantly increased since the 1980s. However, there are also steps that retired individuals can take to ensure that they stay on top of their finances.

Keeping track of credit card purchases by writing them down is one strategy for controlling spending. Another is regularly discussing household spending and budgetary matters with one's spouse or another loved one. In addition, reviewing actions like how much is being paid on credit cards and what those cards are being used for is important.

Some senior citizens are victimized by scams and identity theft. One way they can protect themselves is by regularly reviewing their credit reports and noting any suspicious activity. They should also keep an eye on their Medicare plans and try to see if there are less expensive options available.

Unfortunately, despite the best planning, many senior citizens find themselves overwhelmed with financial obligations due to health care expenses and other matters that even the best of planning is sometimes hard to overcome. An attorney who can offer suggestions about bankruptcy and other forms of debt relief that may be available can be a valuable resource for those in these situations.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Managing debt wisely in your retirement years", Janet Kidd Stewart, Jan. 12, 2015

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