One in five 2012 retirees will have debts

18% of those planning to retire this year will do so with outstanding debts, according to new figures from the Prudential.

Its ‘Class of 2012’ research looks at the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year, and found that the average amount owed by debtor retirees is £38,200.

Now in its fifth year, Prudential’s authoritative series of retirement research has tracked annual trends in pensioner finances. The proportion of people retiring in debt this year (18%) has fallen slightly from 20% in 2011. However, the average amount owed has increased by more than £5,000 from last year’s figure of £33,100 per person retiring with debts.

Outstanding mortgages and credit card bills make up the bulk of the Class of 2012’s debt. Half of those with debts owe money on their home loan and 51% are struggling with outstanding credit card bills.

On average, those planning to retire this year with debts will be making monthly repayments of £260, which equate to 19% of their expected £1,290 a month income.

Paying off debt could take this year’s retirees an average of nearly four years and 8% of those who will still owe money when they retire in 2012 say that they will never be able to pay it off. 24% say that they will be making repayments of £500 or more a month.

Men retiring in debt this year are likely to owe substantially more than women, with average debts of £45,300 compared with £29,400 for women. 20% of men expect to have debts when they retire compared with 16% of women.

Vince Smith-Hughes, Prudential’s retirement income specialist, said: “With a manageable repayment programme in place