Bankruptcy Filings Increasing Amongst Seniors

The recession in Georgia and across the nation has affected people of all ages, even people beyond the age of retirement have filed bankruptcy. I saw an interesting blog the other day on the website that shows the increase in bankruptcy filings for seniors over the years. In 1991, 2.1% of people filing for bankruptcy were 65 or older. By 2007 that number rose to 7%, more than tripling! Unfortunately, debt is as much a concern for the middle-aged and elderly as for young people just starting out. Seniors, who are often on a fixed income, are sometimes forced to rely on credit when they are affected by medical problems, overextension, or helping younger family members. After incurring the debt, retirees often do not have increased income that enables them to repay their debts, leading them to look to bankruptcy as a solution.

In a recent study by a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, roughly two thirds of elderly debtors stated that they decided to file for bankruptcy due to credit card interest and fees. Interestingly, older debtors have some distinct characteristics when compared with their younger counterparts. They are much less likely than their younger counterparts to seek help from family members or other people in their lives–35.2% of elderly debtors had done this compared with 68.7% of younger debtors. Another trend seen among senior debtors is the existence of casual personal loans that were not repaid as a source of their financial difficulties. Also, older debtors are decidedly less savvy in negotiating with credit card companies–60% of younger filers had tried to get the credit companies adjust their terms as compared to 37.8% of elderly filers, indicating that many elderly debtors may not realize that they have this option.

Regardless of your age, if you find yourself in financial difficulty bankruptcy protection may be able to help. If you are experiencing financial difficulties and are considering bankruptcy it is important to explore your options with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation please contact the Law Offices of Charles Clapp at 404.585.0040.