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Credit card debt may be source of depression for older adults

Most people have found themselves complaining about money issues from time to time, but serious financial problems can actually lead to significant physical and mental health issues for many people throughout the state of Florida and beyond. Taking into consideration research findings from a major study, one expert now suggests that the psychological well-being of older Americans may depend, at least in part, on the amount of unsecured debts they carry.

According to the Retirement Confidence Survey recently released by the Federal Reserve, more than 40 percent of retired people claim to have problems relating to personal debt and the majority of workers are not adequately saving for retirement. And in a new study published by a Rutgers University professor, findings suggest that the financial issues that many older Americans currently face can take a toll on their mental health.

Using data collected from a 2006 survey that looked at the psychological health and well-being of almost 6000 subjects over the age of 50, the new study found that incidents of decreased psychological well-being and depression could be predicted by considering the amount of unsecured debt carried by the individual.

Increased credit card debt is believed to contribute to the overall debt claimed by retirement-aged adults, and fewer have adequate savings to enter their retirement years without encountering financial problems. Fortunately, however, there was also evidence in the study’s findings to suggest that symptoms of depression were diminished in incidents where subjects perceived that they were in control of their financial situation. Such findings may contribute to the argument in favor of promoting financial counseling for older adults.

Source: Rutgers, “Rutgers Study Finds Debt for the Middle-Aged and Seniors to be Associated with Increased Depression,” Beth Salamon, April 29, 2014

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