The number of women aged 65 and over falling into bad debt has almost doubled in the past 10 years.
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In 2018, 2,082 women were found bankrupt or had to enter a voluntary arrangement to pay off what they owed – 88% on the 1,109 in 2008 who faced the same financial problems.
Over the same period, the number of insolvent men rose 29%, according to research by over 65s job site Rest Less.
The data shows that the number of women in insolvency rose across every age group, but most in those in retirement.
Although debt levels increased for men aged between 34 and 65 years old, the number fell for younger age groups.
Across all age groups, the number of insolvent women has overtaken that of men. In 2008, the rate for men was 56% higher than for women, but in 2018 this had reversed, with women ahead of men by 14%.
Rest Less founder Stuart Lewis said: “The rapidly increasing rate of insolvency amongst all women is cause for concern but is particularly concerning amongst women over 55, many of whom are already at higher risk of finding themselves in a financially precarious position: the over 55s are more likely to be made redundant, to be in long term unemployment and to face age discrimination in the recruitment process when applying for jobs.
Significant financial hardship
“Women in their 50s and 60s are also more likely to have taken time out of the workplace and to have caring responsibilities, whether for elder relatives, partners or grandchildren. Add to this, the wide gulf in private pension savings between men and women – due to 40 years of a historical gender pay gap – and it’s no surprise to see why insolvencies amongst women over 65 are rising faster than other groups.
“All these factors can contribute to significant financial hardship for this hardworking group of individuals, yet with an ageing population, this is an area that will affect us all. We’d like to see more holistic support being provided and focussed around later life re-training, encouraging all-age apprenticeships and common place age diversity policies aimed at supporting this often overlooked, but talented and hardworking group of individuals.”
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