Is Rising Household Debt Affecting Retirement Decisions?

Wharton Pension Research Council Working Paper No. 2019-14

Published in Mitchell, O., and A. Lusardi (Eds.) (2020). Remaking Retirement: Debt in an Aging Economy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Posted: 20 Feb 2020 Last revised: 30 Nov 2020

See all articles by Barbara A. Butrica

Barbara A. Butrica

The Urban Institute

Nadia S. Karamcheva

Government of the United States of America - Congressional Budget Office (CBO); Boston College - Center for Retirement Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2, 2019

Abstract

Household debt among older Americans approaching retirement has increased dramatically over the past couple of decades. Older households have become increasingly more indebted and more leveraged. While mortgages remain the predominant type of debt among households in their 50s and 60s, in recent years, student loan debt has also risen among these households. Using household survey data to examine how late life debt affects retirement decisions, we find that more indebted older adults are more likely to work, less likely to be retired, and on average expect to work longer than those with less debt.

Keywords: older adults, household debt, mortgages, student loan debt

Suggested Citation

Butrica, Barbara A. and Karamcheva, Nadia S., Is Rising Household Debt Affecting Retirement Decisions? (May 2, 2019). Wharton Pension Research Council Working Paper No. 2019-14, Published in Mitchell, O., and A. Lusardi (Eds.) (2020). Remaking Retirement: Debt in an Aging Economy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3540387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3540387

Barbara A. Butrica (Contact Author)

The Urban Institute ( email )

2100 M Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Nadia S. Karamcheva

Government of the United States of America - Congressional Budget Office (CBO) ( email )

Ford House Office Building
2nd & D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515-6925
United States

Boston College - Center for Retirement Research

Fulton Hall 550
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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