Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular


AARP Bulletin Survey on Consumer Debt and Loans: Executive Summary

This and Related Reports

AARP commissioned a nationwide survey looking at the amount and type of debt or loans that consumers carry. The survey examined whether adults had credit card debt, loans and other forms of outstanding financial obligations.  It also asked respondents whether or not they had taken actions to reduce their debt or loan balances.

This executive summary notes that those age 18-49 and those age 50+ do not differ in regard to their levels of debt and their ability to take action to reduce these financial obligations, although more older respondents have retired their student loans than younger respondents.

Key survey findings include:

  • Seventy percent of respondents report having some form of debt or loan obligation: 73% of those age 18-49 and 60% of those age 50+. The difference between age groups is mainly attributable to the 25% of those age 18-49 who have student loan debt compared with only 5% of those age 50 and older.
  • Thirty percent of respondents report having credit card balances that are not paid in full every month.
  • Of those with debt, four in ten have monthly debt obligations that are greater than half of their monthly income. 
  • One in 10 respondents report having filed for bankruptcy or having considered filing for bankruptcy.
  • Forty six percent of those that report having debts or loans have tried to reduce the amount that they spend or owe over the last six months.  Seventy percent of respondents say they have put purchases on a debit card or paid cash, rather than use their credit cards. The same percentage (70%) says they have cut down on expenses such as eating out, purchasing consumer goods, and taking vacations.  Fewer (55%) report paying more than the minimum balance on their credit card each month; even fewer (21%) report negotiating better terms with their creditors.

The study was conducted for AARP via telephone by ICR, an independent research company.  Interviews were conducted during May 28-31, 2009, among a nationally representative sample of 1,005 respondents aged 18 and older. For more information, contact Gerard Rainville at 202-434-6295. 3 pages)

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership benefit financial college aarp

Advice on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.