Baby boomers are largely approaching their “golden years,” yet many boomers are finding themselves struggling financially. In fact, more seniors than ever are filing for bankruptcy — and experts don’t think that trend will reverse itself any time soon.
A Consumer Bankruptcy Project report indicates that the number of debtors over 65 years of age who are filing for bankruptcy is starting to snowball. Overall, the rate of seniors filing for bankruptcy has jumped 500 percent since 1991. Back then, only 2.1 percent of people filing for bankruptcy were seniors. Now, seniors make up 12 percent of filers. Since 2013 alone, the rate at which seniors have been filing bankruptcy has doubled.
Why are baby boomers struggling so hard financially? Experts say that there are a number of factors that have negatively affected boomers. The collapse in the housing market in 2008 wiped out a lot of the equity that they had in their homes — which is often a major source of wealth for older Americans. Many of those people were simply not able to recover financially prior to retirement. They are still carrying high credit card balances from their younger years when they went through rough economic times and struggling to make minimum payments.
In addition, there are numerous other socioeconomic factors that may be at play. Seniors are often put into a position where they try to help younger family members with their bills. These days, that may mean supporting children or grandchildren who are struggling through college or trying to cope with outrageous student loans. That has left seniors with little to put aside for themselves.
Skyrocketing medical bills are another factor. Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs for those on Medicare have steadily increased over the years, leaving seniors with additional financial burdens caused by their own declining health and age. Hospital and doctor bills are a significant source of debt for many.
If you’re a senior who is struggling financially because of debts that you simply cannot manage, consider talking to a bankruptcy attorney about whether bankruptcy is right for you.