Elderly Koreans Shoulder Heaviest Debt Load

      November 19, 2015 13:31

      The debt load shouldered by elderly Koreans is among the heaviest in the world.

      The Korea Development Institute in a report said Wednesday that the debt load of senior citizens stood at 161 percent, way higher than the 128 percent average across all age groups. And Korea is the only one of 15 countries studied where the debt load among senior citizens is higher than the overall average.

      The problem is that the elderly are usually less able to repay their debts than younger people as their income is smaller. Pensions and other types of government benefits account for only 29 percent of the money they need to live.

      This situation stems from the relatively late debt repayment obligations here. Americans on average start to reduce their debt in their 40s, but Koreans put it off until their 50s, according to the KDI study.

      The main reason appears to be the high educational cost shouldered by parents. Another reason is the ease of obtaining loans here and low interest rates.

      As of 2014, people in their 60s and 70s had 38 percent more debt than people in that age group eight years earlier. 

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