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High Credit Card Debt Increases Risk of Depression More Than Other Debt

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — According to a study from Rutgers University, older adults with a high level of unsecured debt are much more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression compared with people with secured debt.

Unsecured debt is debt that has no physical property or other form of collateral supporting it. Examples include credit cards, unsecured loans and unpaid medical bills. Secured debt most often comes in the form of a home or auto loan, but it may also be related to CD loans and pawn loans.

The research indicates that 30% of adults over the age of 51 have some form of unsecured debt. The higher the debt-to-income ratios were for these adults, the more likely they were to show symptoms of depression.

A separate study indicated the average person 50 years or older with unsecured credit card debt carries a balance of $8,300.

One contributing factor may be that many older individuals are on fixed incomes or working their way toward retirement. The idea of paying back thousands of dollars in credit card debt could be overwhelming.

With that in mind, it is important to reduce debt at a young age so you do not add significant stress to your life in the future.

Bill Hardekopf is chief executive of, which compares and rates more than 1,000 credit cards. He is the co-author of "The Credit Card Guidebook."

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