Grey and broke: Ottawa conference delves into the worldwide trend of indebted seniors
Retirement should be the time of life when older people can kick back and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labour.
For many, that is no longer true. Seniors are increasingly indebted — and it’s an issue that’s not going away, academics and financial experts said Monday at an international conference at Carleton University that attracted about 70 people, including speakers from as far away as Portugal and the Netherlands.
The pressures behind the trend are present all over the world: shaky pension plans, easy credit, elder divorce, people with dementia spending inappropriately. At the same time, people in late middle age are also quitting work or taking on debt to care for their own aging parents or helping an adult child gain independence or buy a home.
“There is the worldwide phenomenon of older people who go into debt to help their children,” said Saul Schwartz, one of the conference’s organizers and a professor in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration.