It's a growing problem among Americans, credit card debt. For two-fifths of Americans that debt looms over them when they retire and one in four people aren't concerned about paying off their debt before they die.
According to a survey done by CESI Debt Solutions, a credit-card and debt counseling service, whether people realize it or not when you pass away your money-problems don't always go away either.
Attorney John Lane has seen cases involving paying off someone's debt after they die, and nowadays he's seeing even more.
"We see this all the time, you have the family farm that's been passed down from
generation to generation or a house that great-great-grand-dad built but they have
no other money and they've run up a lot of credit card debt," explained Lane.
So now the family is left with two choices, either work with the credit card company in paying off the funds or sell the family home.
"People really need to be aware of their use of credit cards when it comes to their estate because whatever there is, is what they're going to go after and if you don't have anything but
the house you could potentially lose that too," said Lane.
The survey also finds that more than 50 percent of retired individuals have less than $50,000 saved for retirement.
"It's good for the what ifs in life, but it's not going to produce much for monthly income," said Certified Financial Planner and Founder of Personal Money Planning, Gary Silverman.
According to Gary that's not nearly enough to sustain someone for decades after they retire.
"Somebody may have $50,000 and say they only need $1,000 a month, that's not a big
deal, that can last for a long time well that's only 50 months. At $500 a month, that's
only a hundred months, that's not that much time," said Silverman.
The best way to avoid the pitfalls, plan ahead, meet with a financial advisor, perhaps even retire at a later age. No matter what, creditors will find a way to get their money back.
Children are never responsible for paying off their parents debt, creditors will find other means.
For those who don't own a home, companies will look at all your assets and then determine how they will get the funds.
There's always help for retired individuals who are in debt. Gary says you can contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). They can sit down and talk with you over your money problems.