The Most Important Debts to Pay Off By Retirement

The Most Important Debts to Pay Off By Retirement

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2017-10-23

 

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy life, whether that means traveling around the world or staying at home to enjoy time with the grandkids. Unfortunately, far too many seniors are spending their golden years worried about their finances-- and debt is a big reason why. 

As many as 61.3% of households headed by an adult aged 60 or older have some form of debt and, among senior households with debt, the median total owed is around $40,900 . 

A combination of too little retirement savings and too much debt combine to create the perfect storm of financial stress that, in a best case scenario, make it harder to enjoy retirement and, in a worst case scenario, result in actual financial disaster. Bankruptcy rates have been rising among seniors. In point of fact, almost 3 million senior households experienced food insecurity in 2015, so the threat of a dire financial emergency is very real. 

To head off this potential disastrous situation, here are the top debts to focus on paying off before you hear the words, “Congratulations on your retirement:”

Housing Debt

According to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, housing debt was the major component of debt for families with a head age 55 or older. The debt levels among those with housing debt have obvious and serious implications for the future retirement security of these Americans, perhaps most significantly that these families are potentially at risk of losing what is typically their most important asset—their home. 

Nearly 33% of Americans' total expenditures in 2015 went toward housing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One way to shave down your mortgage is to apply extra money toward the principal. 

Student Loans

In recent years, almost three-quarters of students graduating college were saddled with an average debt of over $25,000 each. 

One thing to keep in mind here is that your child can finance their student loans, but you cannot finance your retirement. If you’ve taken on the responsibility of paying for your child’s education, start repaying loans as soon as they come due, make more than the minimum payment, and as soon as your child gets a job after graduation, have them contribute a certain amount each month to paying down the debt. 

Unsecured Debt

If you have $10,000 on a credit card with 12% interest, for example, it’s going to take more than nine years to pay it off if you're only making $150 payments, according to Credit Karma's calculator, and you'd pay over $6,500 in interest. 

In addition, it would be wise to look at your highest-interest debt and consolidate. Some companies offer zero percent interest for 12 months on a balance transfer.

Eliminating debt doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make sacrifices, it just means you need
to change your habits. So sit down, go through your budget, and figure out where you can trim the fat.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. 

Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances. Member FINRA & SIPC

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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website: www.davidlerner.com

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Jake Mendlinger
Account Manager
Zimmerman/Edelson
516.829.8374 X 232
jmendlinger@zimmed.com

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