We’re Dying in Debt – and Our Loved Ones are Stuck with the Bill
A new Debt.com poll shows 3 in 10 Americans go into debt to pay for family members' funerals.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A Debt.com poll of 1,000 Americans shows more than half would take on debt for a family member’s funeral. Three in 10 already have. Many of those are struggling to pay it off.
Debt.com’s new “Death and Debt” section delves into how Americans deal with death and the role money plays. “Debt is so pervasive in our culture that it’s literally a cradle-to-grave problem,” says Debt.com chairman Howard Dvorkin, CPA. “We assume debt when our children are born, and we create debt when we die – which often our children have to pay.”
This sentiment is echoed by the survey result showing that 55 percent say they would “take on debt for a family member’s funeral.”
More than half (52%) of those who couldn’t afford their loved one’s last wishes ended up putting the debt on their credit cards. With the average credit card interest rate now at over 28%, that means the debt will likely last for many years to come.
The key takeaways:
- 52% took on credit card debt to pay for a funeral
- 28% say that the funeral debt they incurred makes them anxious
- 14% said they had to put off paying other bills to pay for funeral expenses
- 70% reported they don’t have a will and they cited not having time, being too young, not having assets, and that it was too stressful to do as the main reasons for not having a will.
“Each of us needs to think about not only our own passing, but how that will affect the lives of those we leave behind. That includes everything from writing a will to planning our funeral,” Dvorkin says.
The survey also asked if they knew what happened to a loved one’s debt after they passed and 55% didn’t. Generally, the type of debt you have, where you live, and the value of your estate affects the complexity of the situation. As an example, federal student loan debt is eligible for cancellation upon a borrower’s death, but private student loan companies tend not to offer the same benefit. They can go after the borrower’s estate for payment. To find out more information, visit Debt.com.
About Debt.com: Debt.com is a consumer website where people can find help with credit card debt, student loan debt, tax debt, credit repair, bankruptcy, and more. Debt.com works with vetted and certified providers that give the best advice and solutions for consumers “when life happens.”