The Days of Wine, Books, and Debt for Boomers

Written by Di Princell

January 25, 2022

Next time the youngsters make fun of Grandma’s lack of Internet expertise, take heed that baby boomers make more purchases via the Internet than any other generation. In fact, according to BabyBoomers.com and Pew Research, boomers spend substantially more on their online purchases than the average person.

Factor in that boomer’s control over 70% of disposable income in the U.S., and it’s easy to understand why they rule the online buying market. Wine and books, their #1 and #2 online purchases, so not only smart, but a grape connoisseur, as well. Go Boomers!

A lot of boomers retired during the pandemic, but not all were debt free; personal loans, mortgages, credit cards, and car loans still exist. The Federal Reserve using Experian’s 2020 State of Credit, reports an average 716 credit score (good/prime) for boomers. According to an article about Baby Boomers and Debt compared to all generations, by Select’s, Megan DeMatteo, boomers carry:

  • $6,747 credit card balance
  • $25,812 in nonmortgage debt
  • 2% delinquency rate for accounts 90-180 days past due
  • $191,650 mortgage debt

As a comparison, LendingTree’s analysis reports Gen X carries $37,524 in nonmortgage debt, while millennials carry $24,929. Obviously, the older generation has significantly less time to pay off their debts which creates more stress and the need for strict financial planning. Safe to say, debt is part of the American life and dream with 13% of all citizens believing they will remain in debt forever; a sobering thought, as reported by Shift, Credit Card Processing.

In a recent article, Boomers Getting Out of Debt Faster, the author Jessica Sillers reiterates methods for boomers to alleviate debt; first and foremost, control credit card debt by cutting off money to adult children, resisting offers for new card accounts, and paying off the high interest credit cards first. Secondly, boomers naturally accrue higher medical bills so smart medical coverage is essential and budgeting for those potential expenses creates a safety net which reduces anxiety about health. People should be aware that hospital billing staff often adjusts bills due to circumstances, and almost always, reduces the bill if you can pay immediately or set up a payment plan. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!

The boomer years should be a period of debt reduction and strategizing, however the pandemic demonstrated a 6.7% rise in boomer debt, averaging an $8,848 increase, while Gen Z and X lowered their debts, as reported by LendingTree in an AARP article, Boomers Borrowers’ Debt Has Grown During Pandemic, by Patrick Kiger, July 29, 2021. Matt Schulz, LendingTree’s chief credit analyst believes boomers deferred their mortgage payments, using those extra funds to pay off their current bills, meanwhile increasing their mortgage debt by 3%. Shultz believes some boomers took advantage of low interest rates and bought homes with inflated prices due to demand.

RIBBIT, a fintech, delivers behavioral analytics services to the debt industry for all generations. RIBBIT believes in loan inclusivity, opening doors to people who deserve financial assistance, but who normally don’t qualify based on outdated, biased methods of evaluation. RIBBIT’s data scientists redesigned the paradigm for affordability, using futuristic algorithms and adapting artificial intelligence. RIBBIT offers an equitable, accurate, unencumbered, and predictive model for assessing a consumer’s ability-to-pay for goods and services.

Stay tuned . . .

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