Older Albertans Struggling with Debt

By Andrew Rickard | May 15 2015 01:02PM

A credit counseling firm in Alberta has noticed an increase in the number of older people who are having financial difficulties.

photo_web_302Money Mentors, a not-for-profit credit counselling agency in Alberta, says that last year about 25% to 28% of its clients were over the age of 55. In the first quarter of this year, the agency has seen an increase of about 5% to 7% in the number of clients from this age group coming to all of its six offices in the province.

"Normally, these age groups have been known for their good savings habits, so why the struggle right before, or during, retirement?" asks Money Mentors. "It can be argued that some of the reasoning is: seniors borrowing money to assist their adult children, or not enough retirement savings to begin with. This often leads to the usage of payday loans, credit cards, and other financial products with high interest rates."

The agency points to research conducted by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College which shows that 71% of people born between 1965 and 1974 are at risk of not being able to retire, and that 52% of people born between 1948 and 1954 may not be able to maintain as high a standard of living when they finish working.

"In comparison to younger generations, Alberta seniors aged 55-70+ are leading a race that no one wants to be winning," says Money Mentors.