According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total debt for Americans over the age of 70 has increased 543% from 1999 through 2019 to $1.1 trillion.

This represents the largest percentage increase of debt for any age group.

The actual cost of living has combined with higher property taxes, especially within states like New Jersey. The cost to carry a New Jersey home is 80% higher than the national average. Only seven states have a cost of carry on homes that is above 2%.

Seniors are being disproportionately affected by an overall deterioration in the country’s Social Security system. The key to carrying the debt is that people need to have the cash flow to pay their bills and still live comfortably.

The study sees that older Americans are seeing their debt levels increase significantly since 2000, placing additional strain on seniors’ finances. This has forced many older Americans to take on debt to make ends meet.

In addition, those in their 60s saw their debt, which includes mortgages and auto loans, also increase by 471% to $2.14 trillion. Even though other age groups also saw total liabilities soar over that same period, the percentage of increase carried by seniors was higher than expected.

The average American household spends $2,375 on property taxes for their homes each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with more than $14 billion in property taxes going unpaid each year, the National Tax Lien Association stated. The average property tax bill in New Jersey was $8,690 in 2017.

Seniors have been “disproportionately harmed” by a deterioration in the country’s “modest social safety net,” forcing older Americans to take on debt to make ends meet, according to a 2018 academic study on bankruptcy among seniors.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency,, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.


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