I remember when our church in Emmett Idaho finally was able to retire the mortgage. Our parish had a pot luck dinner; several parish members spoke, including my mother, and then a ceremony to burn the mortgage. I was 11 years old then and knew nothing of money or a mortgage, what I do remember was how happy everyone was. No mortgage meant they owned their church!
Now a new realization is coming forward, those of us who were 11 in 1957 are pushing into retirement in a group known as the Baby Boomers. Along with our emergence into retirement, we are bringing with us a nasty little dangler. A recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noted the percentage of homeowners ages 65 and older with mortgage debt increased. These increases are not slight, they are disturbing. Baby Boomers entering retirement with a home mortgage have increased from 22% to 30% in the past 10 years. Even those prior to the Baby Boomer Generation are carrying debt, the Greatest Generation, those over age 75 have seen their mortgage debt soar from 8% to 21%.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also noted that the rise in mortgage debt was a potential threat to the retirement security of older Americans. They also stated that debt is also in the form of more credit cards and in some cases holdover from the college years, student loans.
The evolution from those who lived through the depression forward to the Baby Boomer Generation is a complete change in attitudes; debt is ok, as long as there is money to service the debt. Many retirees are now understanding that debt can have a very negative affect on retirement, stress to make the cash flow continue is causing medical issues.
What to do? If possible reduce as much debt as possible, consider investigating a reverse mortgage as an option for mortgage debt relief. Add up your assets and look at them in a careful manner, possible there are certain debts that can be lowered by talking to your credit card company.
Be careful, money spent today on a credit card has to be repaid with future earnings, earnings that might not be as much as once thought.
Help is available, here is a link to a nonprofit counseling service, ask for help: https://www.nfcc.org/