The number of consumers aged 55 and older has risen sharply in recent years, according to a report in USA Today. This new trend is due in large part to the fact that older consumers have about 50 percent more credit card debt than younger people. From 2000 to 2008, the average amount of debt for households headed by someone 55 or older nearly doubled to $66,000 as those who lost a job or faced financial hardship leaned more heavily on credit cards.
"My generation thought that we were on easy street," Irene Froehlich, 61, who lives in the Chicago area, told the newspaper. "All of a sudden, we have been hit hard."
Many senior citizens may have also faced financial trouble as a result of rising medical costs or because they've tried to help support a child who has been experiencing hardships of their own.