Your senior years are supposed to be your “golden” years — but many seniors these days are finding themselves unable to manage their debts and living expenses. Even though the nation is prospering economically, many seniors are being left behind due to social changes that have affected their finances.
For many seniors, bankruptcy has become an important option — one that allows them to gain the solid financial footing they need to survive. In fact, people over age 65 are filing for bankruptcy protection in greater numbers than ever — and there’s no sign that the trend will be changing any time soon.
What’s causing so many seniors to file for bankruptcy during a time when the national economy is so healthy? It’s a combination of factors, including:
- The decreased availability of pensions (and decreased benefits when pensions are available)
- Increased medical expenses that are not covered by insurance
- Smaller safety nets, including physical resources like extended family members nearby who can assist a senior in need
- More debt from helping children and grandchildren with their education
- More debt (and less savings) due to the financial struggles experienced in prior decades when the economy wasn’t thriving
- Plunging home values after the real estate bust, which wiped out many older people’s savings or investments
It’s a complex social problem that doesn’t have any easy answers. One thing has become clear, however: If you’re a senior having financial difficulties and you need to file bankruptcy, you certainly aren’t alone. The number of seniors filing for bankruptcy has doubled in the last 30 years. For those aged 75 and older, the rate is 10 times higher.
If you’re a senior who is facing financial difficulties and you think that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be a solution, it’s wise to consult with a bankruptcy attorney soon. Don’t wait until you have exhausted your limited resources trying to struggle your way through your debts to discuss your options.