Fears over Leeds toll of ‘severe’ debts

People are struggling with severe debts in their 60s and into retirement in Yorkshire
People are struggling with severe debts in their 60s and into retirement in Yorkshire
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People are struggling with “severe” debts in their 60s and into retirement in Yorkshire, with a Leeds-based charity urging steps are taken to stop people being “destitute in older age”.

Years of increased borrowing, low interest rates and a lack of savings are having an impact on some in their retirement with experts blaming a number of factors for the spending squeeze including those who have children later in life to people simply living longer.

There are concerns the situation could spiral in the coming years as the first big wave of interest only mortgages mature with financial experts warning last night they are seeing older borrowers who simply have no plan in place to repay their mortgages.

Figures obtained by the Yorkshire Evening Post from the debt charity StepChange show during 2015 the average over-60 in touch with the organisation in the region owed £13,644 on credit cards, loans and other unsecured debts.

Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange debt charity said: “It is vital that we avoid the risk of problem debt leaving people destitute in older age.”

He said the charity traditionally saw more clients in other age brackets but when the over-60s sought advice: “they tend to owe larger amounts and their financial problems can be severe.”

In cities across Yorkshire the StepChange figures showed the average unsecured debt seen by the charity in the over-60 group was £12,888 in Leeds, £15,187 in York and £13,358 in Hull.

Around one in seven people retiring this year have no personal pension savings and will be either completely or heavily reliant on the state pension, recent research by Prudential found.

Reasons for problem debt in later life are varied from ill health to losing a loved one.

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