More and more Americans age 65 and older are having to file for bankruptcy because of numerous financial pressures they are facing. According to recent studies, the average age of bankruptcy has risen dramatically since 1991 from 36.5 to 43 in 2007. In 2010, people age 65 and older made up 7% of all bankruptcy filings.
Much of the reason why seniors are increasingly filing for bankruptcy protection is because their debt loads have increased dramatically over recent years. For example, the percentage of people in their mid-50s or older with housing and consumer debt increased from 53.8% in 1992 to 63% in 2007. During that same time, the average debt load for those same households ballooned to just over about $70,000, a doubling of what it had been.
Credit card debts for seniors have also been on the rise, prompting many of them to cite such debt as their primary reason for bankruptcy filing. In 2005, for example, the average American age 65 and older had about $8,100 in credit card debt. By 2008 that number rose to over $10,000.
Other financial concerns can also suddenly destroy a senior’s finances. A single illness or injury can lead to significant medical costs not paid by Medicare or health insurance. Other seniors are facing the prospect of paying for their child’s college loan payments. Because many seniors sign on as cosigners for their child’s college loans, and many of those children have been unable to find employment, seniors have been left to pay for the unpaid debts.
If you are facing any of these issues, seeking competent legal assistance is a good place to start.