The cities where retirees are in the most (and least) debt

It’s clear that carrying a large debt load when you approach retirement age is a problem for many Americans.

Workers are increasingly retiring with debt, data shows. 4 in 10 retirees say paying off their debt is a top priority, according to a survey from TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies. Americans aged 60 to 69 had $1.99 trillion dollars in overall debt at the end of 2017, compared to $1.33 trillion in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data.

It’s clear that carrying a large debt load when you approach retirement age is a problem for Americans.

Credit monitoring service LendingTree calculated the median non-mortgage debt balances for retirement-aged Americans (65-70) to find the cities where retirees are most burdened by debt. Using an anonymized sample of over 75,000 My LendingTree users born between 1948 and 1953, researchers calculated total debt balances from second quarter 2018 credit reports.

The average median debt for retirees (or people working towards retirement) across all 50 of the largest U.S. metro areas is $20,643, according to their findings.

Cities where retirees owe the most (with median balance)

  1. San Antonio: $29,993. (46% owed on auto loans; 32% on credit cards.)
  2. Austin, TX: $26,424
  3. Houston, TX: $26,219
  4. Dallas, TX: $25,604
  5. Washington, D.C.: $25,202
  6. Oklahoma City, OK: $24,644
  7. Richmond, VA: $23,642
  8. Virginia Beach, VA: $23,398
  9. Buffalo, NY: $22,482
  10. Memphis, TN: 22443

Cities where retirement-age Americans owe the least (with median balance)

  1. Louisville, KY: $15,093 (41% credit card debt)
  2. San Jose, CA: $15, 499
  3. Portland, OR: $16,224
  4. Sacramento, CA: $16,910
  5. Milwaukee, WI: $17,142
  6. Detroit, MI: $17,490
  7. Providence, R.I.: $18,356
  8. San Diego, CA: $18,377
  9. San Francisco, CA: $18,495
  10. Nashville, TN: $18,567

As for the types of debt owed, student and personal debts were the smaller categories, compared with the major sources of debt: auto loans and credit cards. About 10% of Americans aged 65-70 still have student debt, but not for themselves – it likely comes from students loans co-signed for a child.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.