AROUND one in eight Scots will retire this year saddled with debts, new research has claimed.

The average amount owed by those wrapping up their working life is around £38,200, with mortgages and credit cards making up the bulk of the debt.

The figure is £5000 higher than the year before, although the number of people left repaying credit beyond their working life has gone down slightly.

The study found that 18% of those due to retire this year in the UK will be in debt, compared to 20% in 2010, with Scots showing they are better prepared for leaving work than other parts of the country.

The study found half of those with debts still owed money on their home loan and more than half (51%) were struggling with their credit card bills.

On average, those planning to retire this year with debts will face repayments of £260, around a fifth (19 per cent) of their expected £1290 a month income.

Vince Smith-Hughes, Prudential's retirement income expert, said: "Retiring with outstanding debts could be a sign of a lack of financial planning.

"It is important for those still at work to save as much as possible as early as possible, and consult a financial adviser to help them plan a comfortable retirement."

However, a breakdown of retirement income shows Scots have planned their finances well. Figures show that just 13% of those north of the Border will stop work with credit owed, compared to 15% in the north-west of England, 18% in London and 21% in Wales.

However, Citizens Advice Scotland said older Scots were saddled with "staggering amounts of debt".

Its own research, published last year, found that the average unsecured debt, excluding mortgages, was £17,767.

Susan McPhee of CAS said: "That's a staggering amount of debt to service, and still keep warm and put food on the table."

Ms McPhee added that many people have been unable to retire when they want too given a reduction in retirement incomes and a rise in food and fuel costs.

Men retiring in debt this year are likely to owe substantially more, with average debts of £45,300 compared with £29,400 for women.