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Financial Planning > College Planning > Student Loan Debt

Seniors and the problem with debt

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Debt continues to hound many retirees. We surveyed a group of seniors recently to find out what their debt situation is and how they’re handling it.

If you have thoughts you’d like to share with us on how you’ve worked with retirees on getting them out of debt, please leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]. The following are highlights from those responses we have received so far:

I’m working on it. Things had gotten completely out of hand due to housing, bad investments and an elderly parent that required nursing. All of that took a toll. I don’t want to say the amount but it was well into six figures. You can imagine the stress. I guess I hit bottom when I couldn’t get another credit line on the house and had maxed out the credit cards. At that point our whole family got together in an intervention of sorts. We met with a family friend who’s a financial guy. He helped us carve a plan out. I’ve been good. We all have. We got that plan and have stuck to it. We have a long, long way to go, but the plan is there.

Greg, 69
Seattle, Wash.

My husband and I timed the market perfectly. We sold our house in Los Angeles at the top of the housing boom in 2005. The price of our home had tripled since we had purchased it a decade earlier. We were tempted to buy another house in the LA area. Actually, we almost did, but we were outbid on a house in Pasadena. Maybe it was divine intervention. I don’t know. After that, we took the money and decided to relocate. We were able to buy a nice bungalow here in Sedona with cash and had plenty left over to pay off our debts. We’re now completely debt-free and our house backs up to a golf course.

Barb, 66
Sedona, Ariz.

Debt can ruin you. I saw friends and family get wiped out. I am very conservative. If I don’t have it I don’t spend it. I pay cash for almost everything and I make out a budget annually and monthly. Through my job years ago I took an adult learning course on managing your money. The approach is very conservative. I don’t know that I was going to get rich following this plan. That’s okay. The debt has never gotten out of hand.

Larry, 71
San Antonio, Texas

For more from Daniel Williams, see:

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