More and more seniors are struggling with their debts

More and more seniors are struggling with their debts

Neuss (dpa) – more and more elderly people in germany can no longer pay their bills. Since 2013, the number of over-indebted consumers aged 70 and older has more than quadrupled to around 470.000 people affected.

This was reported by the creditreform credit information agency in its "debtor atlas 2020". By way of comparison: the total number of all over-indebted people increased by "only" around four percent in the same period of time.

In the past twelve months alone, the number of over-indebted seniors over 70 has risen by 23 percent, according to the study. At the same time, the number of over-indebtedness traps in the 60 to 69 age group rose by 13 percent to around 725.000. "The phenomenon of old-age over-indebtedness is becoming even more significant than in previous years," warned michael goy-yun, managing director of creditreform boniversum.

Creditreform is not alone in this assessment. The food banks in germany also report a growing need among elderly citizens. The number of senior citizens collecting food from the food banks has "risen alarmingly in just one year," explained the chairman of tafel deutschland, jochen bruhl. In just 15 years, one in five pensioners could be at risk of old-age poverty.

According to the experts, the reasons for the growing old-age poverty are manifold. On the one hand, according to earlier information from creditreform, the pension reforms of the past decades are having an impact here, almost all of which were aimed at shortening the level of security provided by the state pension system. In addition, the growing number of unsteady work biographies and the growth of the low-wage sector have had an impact. The sometimes dramatic rise in rents also plays a role. However, over-indebtedness traps are still much rarer among seniors than among younger consumers.

However, old-age poverty is particularly serious, the experts from creditreform emphasized. While younger people often see poverty as a temporary phase of life and have a perspective of working their way out of their difficult situation, this is usually no longer the case for older people. Retirement drastically reduces the chances of older people improving their economic situation. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that those affected often do not claim the social benefits to which they are entitled.

The dramatic development among seniors is in striking contrast to the development in the other age groups. For despite corona, the number of over-indebted people in germany fell by a total of one more this year and was reduced by 69.000 to 6.85 million. The over-indebtedness ratio, i.E. The proportion of over-indebted people in relation to all adults in germany, fell slightly to 9.87 percent and was thus below the 10 percent mark for the first time in four years.

The figures once again reflect the robust state of the labor market up to the spring of 2020. However, this positive trend was reversed by the corona pandemic from april at the latest, according to the experts. For the next few years, creditreform expects the situation to deteriorate significantly due to the pandemic. "The long-term outlook for the development of overindebtedness is worrying," said creditreform expert patrik-ludwig hantzsch.

Short-time working and growing unemployment figures meant that many consumers in germany had less money to spend at the moment. Around 700.000 people had lost their jobs in the meantime, millions were in short-time work and many freelancers were fighting for their existence. This will lead to a rise in the over-indebtedness trap with a time lag. "For many consumers in germany, the over-indebtedness traffic light will turn red in the next few months," warned the creditreform experts.

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