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Report: Housing Debt Saddles More Older Americans

Retirement is supposed to be about enjoying those “Golden Years.” Those who have spent a lifetime working, raising families and contributing to society are supposed to be able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of all their labor – perhaps with travel or gardening or simply spending more time with loved ones.
Of course, some financial perils may be expected, particularly on a fixed income. There is always the concern of outliving the savings or paying for long-term care or even the possibility of being lured in by some scam. But of all of these, straining to make monthly mortgage payments shouldn’t be one.

And yet, it is. Following the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, an increasing number of retirees and elderly Americans are struggling to pay housing costs. People in their 70s, 80s and beyond are forced to dip into retirement savings just to make sure they keep a roof over their head. The problem is more glaring in Florida, where nearly 19 percent of the nearly 20 million people in this state are over the age of 65. The national average is 14 percent. That figure is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

In trying to keep pace with their mortgage payments and avoid a Miami foreclosure, these individuals often work until very deep in retirement. In some cases, they are more likely to seek assistance from the government or local charities and even their children.

The problem has been exacerbated by a decades-long trend of devaluing workers. For the most part, traditional pensions have been scrapped. Wages remained stagnant. It became tough to save. Many were forced to raid their retirement accounts early. Many who invested lost a great deal of savings during the recession.

The percentage of older Americans still paying mortgages has increased substantially, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans. In 2013, there were 6.5 million homeowners over the age of 65 still paying a mortgage. That’s about 30 percent, which is a 22 percent increase from 2001. Further, the number of folks over 75 still burdening home loan mortgages spiked from 8 percent back in 2001 to 21 percent a decade later.

Even worse is the fact that the median mortgage paid by these older Americans has more than doubled. It was about $44,000 in 201 and it’s now up to $88,000.

An AARP study pointed out in 2012, among Americans over 50, there were 1.5 million who lost their homes to foreclosure during the economic crisis between 2007 and 2011. Now, three years after that study was released, that figure is almost certain to be much higher.

If you’re battling debt collection in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Tuesday at 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs and Court Keeley,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

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