More baby boomers facing credit-card quandary
News from NBCNews.com:

Sandy Harsh never expected to find herself with $ 16,800 in credit-card debt and her retirement dreams drifting farther away.

Harsh, an IT professional from Tuscola, Illinois, is 62, around the age at which a lot of people start actively planning to retire to a white-sandy beach with a frozen margarita in hand.

Harsh’s debt snuck up on her as she helped her two daughters with college and living costs. She went back to school after a divorce and dealt with unexpected expenses such as big dental bills. Now she has about $ 300 a month in minimum payments, spread across three credit cards, and the balance never seems to go down because of all the interest she is paying.

“I totally did not think this was what my future held,” says Harsh. “I don’t want to leave debt to my daughters. I guess I’m going to have to work until I die at my desk.”

Harsh is not alone in her predicament. According to new figures from the New York City-based policy research organization Demos, Americans over 50 are struggling with a surprising amount of credit-card debt. Low- and middle-income households of older Americans who owed credit-card companies for three months or more have racked up an average of $ 8,278 in debt, according to Demos.

“What was surprising was older Americans were carrying so much more credit-card debt than younger peop…………… continues on NBCNews.com

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Credit card debt falls while delinquencies rise
News from Boston Globe:

LOS ANGELES — Ramped-up holiday season spending typically keeps some borrowers from making timely payments on their credit cards in the last three months of the year, and 2012 was no exception.

The rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue jumped to 0.85 percent in the fourth quarter from 0.78 percent a year earlier, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Wednesday.

That’s an increase of about 9 percent. The rate also climbed 13 percent from the third quarter, when it was 0.75 percent, the firm said.

Much of the growth in late payments on credit cards in the October-December period is due to higher spending for the holiday season, said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting for Trans-Union.

When the bills arrive in January, many cardholders who missed payments start taking steps to catch up, which ends up lowering the delinquency rate in the first quarter.

‘‘For people who might have overspent themselves, they might not have the money right on hand to pay, but once they start to get their tax refunds and their year-end bonuses, you see that come back into line,’’ Becker said.

Still, that task is more difficult this year because most paychecks have been reduced since Congress and the White House allowed a two-year reduction in Social Security payroll taxes to lapse at the end of December.

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