illustration of arm in business suit holding umbrella above water (Photo: Shutterstock)

Older adults hold more debt today than in past generations, and a new study from the University of Michigan shows a correlation between indebtedness and cognitive ability. This relationship is even more pronounced during the pandemic. Much of the increase in total debt is due to older adults with higher cognitive ability taking on disproportionately more mortgage debt in response to increasing local home prices than their counterparts with lower cognitive ability. In addition, adults with higher cognitive ability also take on greater debt of other types, such as credit card and medical debt.

“We find that cognitive ability is an important predictor of debt burdens in older age and that this relationship has changed over time during the period of expansion in financial complexity,” according to researchers from the University of Michigan. “Our results suggest that older adults with higher cognitive ability have taken on more debt relative to their counterparts in more complex financial environments.”

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?



Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and
  • Exclusive discounts on and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.