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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 September 2007, 05:51 GMT 06:51 UK
'More over-60s' seek debt advice
Credit card in use
The charity says 9% of the clients it advises now are aged over 60
More people aged over 60 are seeking help with personal debts, according to a consumer credit advice charity.

The Welsh Centre for Credit Counselling has marked its 10th anniversary with a report compiled from more than 10,000 people helped in the past five years.

It found that while overall debt in Wales was reducing, debt among the over-60s seeking aid was still rising, with the average owed topping 30,000.

A spokesman said: "There's a higher awareness of debt and seeking help."

You would be hoping people, especially in their late 40s and 50s, to be paying back their debt to be saving for their retirement
Welsh Centre for Credit Counselling

Its report found the proportion of over-60s seeking the charity's help has more than doubled in the last five years to 9%.

The largest group seeking help were those aged 40 to 59, expected to account for 41% of all clients this year.

A spokeswoman said the figures were part of a trend that the charity had seen across the UK.

She said: "It is a worry. You would be hoping people, especially in their late 40s and 50s, to be paying back their debt to be saving for their retirement.

"It's quite a marked trend. It may also be that people find it difficult to adjust to retirement and lower incomes.

"It may also be that people, if they own a property, think they have equity in their property, that perhaps the debt can be paid out of the equity."

The charity opened its Wales office in 1997 and currently employs 12 counsellors offering face-to-face or telephone counselling.

It expects to have 6,000 people ask for help by the end of this year. Five years ago, when it had eight counsellors, the charity saw less than 1,000 people a year.

The Citizens' Advice Bureau said the level of enquiries in Wales about personal debt had increased from 66,644 in 2005/6 to 91,368 2006/7.

A spokesman said debt problems had increased across the board and were not particularly attributed to the over-60s.

However, he added: "Anecdotally, bureaux will see older clients on a low income committing to active credit commitments and being unable to manage their debt due to low financial capability and also irresponsible lending, particularly when it comes to unlocking money from their properties and also with maintaining larger properties."

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