How Retirement Could Hurt Your Credit Score

Just as you need to take care of your physical health, you need to monitor your credit fitness.

A senior couple looking at financial documents.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Retirement may represent a fresh episode of your life, but a surprising twist might be a drop in your credit score. Even if borrowing isn’t on your agenda, your credit score could affect other aspects of your life, ranging from how much you pay for auto insurance to whether you’ll be admitted to an assisted-living facility.

Average credit scores tend to increase as consumers get older, peaking in their seventies. To understand why your own credit score might drop after you retire, it’s important to know how credit scores are computed. While your history of paying on time is the largest element of your score, other factors include the amount you owe on your credit cards as a proportion of your card limits (known as your credit-utilization ratio) and the length of your credit history, says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at In addition, if you don’t use a credit card, the issuer may close it because of inactivity. “Retirees’ credit scores often go down because they’re not using credit as actively as when they were younger,” he says. 

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FICO Score By Age
AgeAverage Score

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Ashlyn Brooks
Kiplinger Contributor

Ashlyn Brooks is a financial writer and former civil engineer. She's on a mission to show others how to save and spend smarter through purposeful money habits. Her work has been featured on Investopedia, Bankrate and Yahoo Finance.