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Older UK consumers running into credit troubles

Jul 05, 2013 Simon Williams

Many individuals have struggled with making ends meet while they drive themselves further and further into debt. In the wake of the Great Recession, so many people in the United Kingdom let their credit card balances roll over for months, medical bills go unpaid and student loan accounts become delinquent, among many other things. When trying to keep up with payments in these situations, some things often have to give - for instance, some might let a car payment go unpaid if that means making rent for another month.

Some individuals might believe this situation only occurs within certain demographics. For example, it's relatively easy to say that younger adults are the ones that usually find themselves in these scenarios. This is because they often have larger student loan balances, have to buy new things like an apartment or car when they establish themselves, struggle to find new jobs right out of school and other factors.

Therefore it may surprise many British consumers to find that a large portion of the people in the nation struggling with debt are the elderly. The general thought might be that these individuals are experienced with financial situations and know how to manage their money, but the recent worldwide economic troubles really threw everyone for a loop.

Indebted pensioner population on the rise
According to The Telegraph, a number of consumer credit companies in the U.K. have discovered that elderly citizens are the ones increasingly asking for help managing their personal finances.

The news source reported that one debt relief charity, StepChange, recently revealed that the over-60 population is in debt for over £1 billion. In 2012 alone, more than 13,000 individuals in this age group went to the nonprofit asking for help, representing a 36 percent increase over the previous year.

The average credit debt for all groups in the U.K. currently stands at £10,000, the newspaper detailed, but that number skyrockets to £15,000 when pensioners are concerned. For this generation, catalog, store card and overdraft debt is also significantly higher than their fellow citizens, by £2,000.

Alternative help
That being said, because these individuals are older, they might be able to seek help from alternative finance companies. Many short term lenders are taking nontraditional scores into account when applying for loans, using things like positive histories of making timely payments to utilities providers, something that older British citizens might well be able to qualify for.