More Seniors Carrying Debt

By Andrew Rickard | September 15 2015 08:52AM

A survey conducted by HomEquity Bank and Equifax Canada reveals that seniors are carrying an increasingly heavy debt load.

Conducted in July of this year, the study measured the growth in the main categories of debt (e.g., mortgages, lines of credit, bank loans, car loans, credit cards and retail cards) for those age 55 and older between 2013 and 2015.

The research found that 16.5% of people age 55 and older have mortgages, which is 10% more than in 2013. The average mortgage balance has also increased, up 11% over the period from $158,000 to $176,000; those between the ages of 55 and 60 have an average mortgage balance of $189,000, and those age 75 and over have an average balance of $134,000.

What's more, the study shows that the overall amount of debt carried by those who are 70 and older went up by 12% between 2013 and 2015, while people under that age only saw their debt increase by 4% during the period.

"It's shocking to find Canadians 71 and over are still carrying hefty mortgages," comments Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions. "By this age, they are fully retired and there's no opportunity to increase their income."