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Houston Matters

Study: Texas Seniors Carry The Most Debt Nationwide

The study looked at non-mortgage debt balances for seniors in the 50 largest metros.

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Seniors between the ages of 65 and 70 in Texas carry more debt into retirement than seniors in other states, according to a study from LendingTree.

The study calculated the median non-mortgage debt balances for seniors in the traditional retirement age range (65-70) in the 50 largest metropolitan areas.

"We found that there was a wide variety of how much non-mortgage debt people in this age range owe, anywhere from a median of 15,093 for people between the ages of 65 and 70 in Louisville, Kentucky to just under $30,000 in San Antonio, Texas," LendingTree's senior research analyst Kali McFadden, told Houston Matters.

Nationwide, the average median debt for seniors was $20,643. Of the 50 largest metro areas, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas ranked 1-4 in terms of having the most debt. The median non-mortgage debt in San Antonio was $29,993, while in Houston it was $26,219.

"Auto loans I think are the big driver in Texas for these kinds of non-mortgage debt burdens that people are carrying," McFadden said "We did a very similar study for millennials and we found very similar results. We found that when you look at the proportion of debt across average debt holdings, that a disproportionate degree of auto loan debt seemed to be the driver of cities at the very top of the list."

In San Antonio, for example, on average 46% of the amount seniors owe is on auto loans. "That’s the highest in the country," McFadden said.

The two metro areas with the lowest non-mortgage debt among retirement-age seniors were San Jose, California and Portland, Oregon.

The study used a sample of about 75,000 My LendingTree users born between 1948 and 1953. Total debt balances were calculated using second quarter 2018 credit reports. The full study can be viewed, here.