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Boomer Wealth Dented By Mortgages Poses U.s. Risk

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-28/boomer-wealth-depressed-by-mortgages-poses-u-s-spending-risk.html

Mortgage-burning parties in the U.S. may be going the way of home milk deliveries and polyester leisure suits.

A growing number of homeowners are reaching retirement age still owing money on their houses. The share of Americans 65 and older with mortgage debt rose to 30 percent in 2011 from 22 percent in 2001, according to a May analysis by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau based on the latest available figures. Loan balances also increased, with the median amount owed climbing to $79,000 from $43,400 after adjusting for inflation, the data showed.

“There were old-fashioned beliefs probably 30 years ago” that included “you should pay off your house before you retire,” said Olivia Mitchell, executive director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia. “This is no longer the case.”

The increase in mortgage debt may influence labor-force dynamics as some older Americans find they’re unable to completely retire, needing extra cash to keep up monthly payments. It also diminishes home equity and wealth, making these households more susceptible to swings in the economy and curbing spending on things such as vacations and visits to grandchildren.

Further on in the article they talk to someone who's "retired" and took out a home loan in 2003 and then topped it up with a equity release! No mention what they spent the money from the second loan on.

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