The total nationwide debt held by those in retirement is £57bn according to the Scottish Widows UK Pensions Report 2007.
The report found that one in five retired homeowners in the UK have an outstanding mortgage on their home with an average debt of £38,000.
One in eight owe more than £50,000 which makes the total debt held by pensioners £57bn.
The situation is no better when it comes to short term debt including credit cards and personal loans with the average outstanding balance owed being £5,900.
Over four out of 10 pre-retirees (aged 50 to 59) still have a mortgage with an average debt of £54,300.
Of those aged between 60 and 64, 25 per cent have a mortgage and the average debt is £42,800.
The research also shows that one in 12 retirees have one or more financially-dependent children with almost two thirds of these aged 18 and over and 16 per cent aged over 35.
When asked at what age people should start saving for retirement, a retiree suggests 27 years and 7 months old.
Today’s retirees have an average annual household income of £22,900.
Scottish Widows head of pensions market development Ian Naismith says: “Our research shows that by the time they come to retire a significant number of pensioners still have a mortgage outstanding on their property, adding financial pressure to their hard-earned retirement fund.
“It is important for those people who will be reaching retirement in the next few years, and still have debt outstanding on their mortgage, to consider how best to prepare themselves for the eventuality of having to juggle their debts on a reduced income when they stop working.
“With more and more people taking out mortgages later, and paying them off later, we are seeing many people turning to the equity in their home as a method of providing income in retirement. The knock-on effect of getting on the housing ladder later is that money that could have been put into a pension is being used on monthly mortgage payments.”