CFPB: Low Housing Payments Signal Better Senior Financial Well-Being

Older American homeowners have a greater degree of financial well-being than those who do not own a home, while lower housing costs are also correlated to more positive financial well-being. This is according to a survey titled “Financial Well-being of Older Americans,” released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans on Thursday.

According to the federal agency, the survey aims to provide “detailed information on the financial well-being scores by individual characteristics and issues of interest to people who work with older adults.” At-large, the report illustrates that general financial well-being increases with age before then declining again at later ages.

The survey also seeks to qualify financial well-being across a range of topics including employment and retirement, family and specific living arrangements, financial knowledge, debt, health-related experiences and housing.

In its section dedicated to the topic of housing, the survey details that older homeowners have a greater degree of financial well-being and autonomy compared with their peers who are not homeowners. However, a unifying factor among both renters and homeowners is that having low monthly housing costs is “positively associated with financial well-being.”

Financial well-being is also higher among older adults who express a high level of satisfaction with their housing situation and/or community compared with those who are less satisfied.

In the dedicated debt section, there was also data concerning outstanding mortgage balances among older Americans.

“Among older homeowners, carrying a high mortgage balance is negatively associated with financial well-being,” the survey reads, with the carrying of multiple debts only compounding the negative association with monetary well-being even further.

According to a statement accompanying the survey from Hector Ortiz of the CFPB’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, this release is sourced from data gathered through, “a Bureau survey that measures financial well-being among older adults using the financial well-being scale,” he said.

The scale was released by the CFPB in 2015, and aims to provide, “a comprehensive measure of a person’s financial situation. Since its release, many professionals are using the scale to understand and assess the financial well-being of their clients,” Ortiz said.

Read the full report at the CFPB’s online portal.

Written by Chris Clow

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