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Ecology of Money

Will Debt Hamper Your Retirement?

Mortgage, credit card, and other debt burdens retirees today more than ever, says contributor John Wasik. Here's why and what to do about it.

Retirement finance used to be simple: When you retired, so was your mortgage and the remainder of your debt. That way, you'd have plenty of free cash from your pension and Social Security to do things like travel to exotic places and eat out.

But the growing cost of nearly everything from college to healthcare has put the kibosh on that widely desired goal for millions of retirees. Now more Americans than ever are dealing with debt in their golden years, and the debt is coming from a variety of sources.