Seniors Leaning on Credit- Washington Post


by Nancy Trejos

Alice Smith thought she would live comfortably and quietly in her Hyattsville retirement community. Instead she's fretfully dodging calls from her creditors.

She owes more than $10,000 to four credit card companies and more than $7,000 to a credit union -- in part, she said, because of spending to help her family. She doesn't give exact figures because she is unsure of them: With late fees and higher interest rates, the amount she owes has grown. Her income has not. Through a pension and Social Security from her former job at a National Institutes of Health laboratory, she receives about $2,000 a month. Her rent is $955. She doesn't know how she can ever pay down her debts. So she thinks she just might not.

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