Debt Advisory Centre Scotland says debt help is available for the over-55s
Debt Advisory Centre Scotland stresses that debt help is available to over-55s, following reports that this age group are saving less and facing higher debts, according to Aviva.
by Melanie Taylor Monday, August 13, 2012
If you're of a certain age and you follow the news, you might have seen reports that pensioners have 'never had it so good' and should shoulder more of the burden of the financial crisis. The government recently introduced the controversial 'granny tax' in the last Budget, when it changed the threshold of age-related personal tax allowances.
The political debate around the over-55s is on-going, with some saying that people of this age group have benefited the most from society with things like free University tuition and grants. Some say older generations have benefited from rises in the value of property and that they are still entitled to state help with fuel bills, prescriptions and TV licences, regardless of income - although that could be on the way out too, after the matter was recently raised by Tory MP Nick Boles.
But over-55s suffered the most from the tax rises in this year's budget according to the BBC, and looking at the information available, it seems that many older people are having a tough time with their finances, at an age when many expect to be putting financial stresses behind them.
There seems to be conflicting information about how much better off the over-55s actually are. The Institute of Fiscal Studies recently said that pensioner incomes have increased by 3.4% more than non-pensioner incomes since 1999.
But figures from Aviva, one of the UK's largest insurance providers, suggest that debts among over-55s are 31% higher than in Spring last year. The average amount of unsecured debt among borrowers in this age group is £22,401.
On the other hand, the average savings pot for this age group has grown over this time. Aviva does stress that this is largely down to the fortunes of the 65-74 age group, many of whom have benefited from the removal of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) and/or have boosted their savings with a lump sum from their annuities.
People over 55 and approaching retirement, and those over the age of 74, meanwhile, are having more difficulties than the 65-74 age group. And overall, the amount that over-55s are putting into savings each month fell from £39.97 in the first quarter of this year to £31.05 in the second quarter.
A spokesperson for Debt Advisory Centre Scotland commented: "Everybody hopes that they will have sorted out their finances before the end of their working life so that they can retire comfortably, although figures suggest that more and more people over the age of 55 are carrying debt into retirement.
"It gets harder to sort out financial matters after retirement, but even after you finish working, there are still options available if you're having debt problems - a debt expert could still help you.
"People over the age of 55 with debt problems and a high enough income may qualify for DAS, the Debt Arrangement Scheme - a form of statutory debt management that can protect borrowers from attempts to make them bankrupt.
"There are also options that could help people over the age of 55 with a pension-only income. A debt adviser would be able to tell you more."
Debt Advisory Centre Scotland provides debt help and advice to Scottish residents. It''s part of the Think Money Group, which is one of the UK''s leading financial solutions providers and delivers a comprehensive range of financial services, including debt, insurance and other financial solutions. Debt solutions are subject to conditions and acceptance. Your credit rating may be affected. Fees are payable if continuing services provided. Repaying debt over longer may increase the amount to be repaid. For more information, visit the Debt Advisory Centre Scotland website at http://www.dacscotland.co.uk. Contact: Melanie Taylor Debt Advisory Centre Scotland Melanie.Taylor@dacscotland.co.uk Tel: 0845 056 6480
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