The experience of debt for older people
Many older people live on fixed incomes that require great care in budgeting. The Council on the Ageing State of the Older Nation, 2021 survey identified that 16% of those surveyed were experiencing difficulties paying their bills. The number one item on the list was electricity or gas at 9% (up from 7% in 2018). Older Australians who were more likely to have overdue bills due to payment difficulties included those who:
- were in their 50s
- rated their long-term financial security as poor
- had a household income of less than $30,000 per year
- had experienced a significant reduction in their income during the last 12 months
- were living with a disability
- preferred to speak a language other than English at home.
While many affected were unemployed, some with a full-time wage were still vulnerable to experiencing financial strain and keeping up with their expenses.