One-third of retirees described their current personal debt levels as a problem, and 7 percent called it a "major" problem. The number of seniors age 65 and older who filed for bankruptcy jumped 213 percent between 1992 and 2001, outpacing all other age groups, one study found. Health care costs are driving the trend. Debt levels for households headed by someone 75 and older averaged $20,234 in 2004, a 160 percent jump from 1992.
Consumer Debt, Senior Citizens
Debt gaining on many U.S. seniors
Leslie Haggin Geary
AARP Poll and Employee Benefits Research Institute