RAW DATA: Debt Levels of Families Approaching Retirement

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A couple of weeks I put up a post showing projections of future retirement income, but these were long-term projections and didn’t provide any insight into the specific effect of the Great Recession on those who are currently nearing retirement. There are two big things we’re interested in: (a) the effect on retirement savings [401(k)s, IRAs, etc], and (b) debt levels as a percent of income. EBRI provided some rough data on the former here, and today they provide us with a look at the latter. Here’s their quick summary for all families with a head of household over 55:

The percentage of American families with heads age 55 or older that have debt held steady at around 63 percent from 2007–2010. Furthermore, the percentage of these families with debt payments greater than 40 percent of income—a traditional threshold measure of debt load trouble—decreased in 2010 to 8.5 percent from 9.9 percent in 2007. However, total debt payments as a percentage of income increased from 10.8 percent in 2007 to 11.4 percent in 2010.

This includes both near-retirees and retirees. In order to get a clearer look just at people nearing retirement, the chart below shows debt payments for families with a head of household age 55-64 (red line). As a comparison, it also shows debt payment levels for all families, taken from Fed data (blue line):

There’s much more in the full report, including data on families already in retirement, as well as breakdowns between housing debt and other consumer debt.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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