You might assume that younger people would use credit cards more often than older ones do. The convenience of buying now and paying later is still relatively new to them. They also haven’t had years of paying interest on unpaid balances.
However, according to a recent survey by GOBankingRates, those most likely to say that they relied too much on their credit cards were 65 and over. Some 39% of seniors said that. That percentage dropped into the 20s for those between 35 and 64. Respondents between 25 and 34 were least likely to feel that way (just 11%).
Of course, whether a person relies too much on credit cards is subjective. However, many older people have become used to paying for things on credit after having done so for decades. They also tend to believe they understand how credit cards work, which may make them more likely to use them. However, younger users were more likely than older ones to say they used their cards for “practical” things like school expenses and even to pay their taxes.
According to the survey, only 8% of seniors said that interest rates confused them. Slightly more, but under 13% percent, admitted to not completely understanding the fees. When all age groups were combined, 21% admitted to not completely understanding how interest was calculated on these cards, and 19% admitted to confusion about credit card fees. That lack of understanding could explain why so many people accumulate more credit card debt then they’re able to keep up with.
Nonetheless, the survey found that eliminating credit card debt is a priority for many people. Overall, about 20% of people surveyed said it was their top financial goal. Almost 38% of those 65 and above placed it at the top of their priorities.
It’s important to look at your credit card debt along with the entirety of your debt and your financial situation as a whole. If your payments on credit cards and other loan products are impacting your ability to pay for your basic living expenses, it may be time to consider debt relief options like bankruptcy.