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Why are so many older adults filing for bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2019 | Firm News |

Like many California residents, you have spent your adulthood working hard and trying to build a decent life for you and your family. However, sometimes there are unforeseen events along the way that might have derailed your plan. Feeling trapped under the weight of your financial burden, you may wonder how you got to this place in your life. You should know that you are not alone, and that in fact, many older adults are filing for bankruptcy.

According to Forbes, there has been a drastic increase in the number of older Americans who have been filing for bankruptcy. In fact, between 1991 and 2016:

  • The rate of bankruptcy has increased 204% for those ages 65-74
  • The rate of bankruptcy has increased 66% for those between ages 55-64
  • Of all people filing for bankruptcy, the percentage of those 65 and older has increased from 2% to 12% of the total

The reasons for this are varied, but one major explanation results from medical debt. If you are retired and living on a limited income, incurring huge medical bills that you cannot pay may have caused you to fall into a deep financial hole. In fact, Forbes notes that 60% of people over the age of 65 who file for bankruptcy do so for this reason. Many people who cannot pay it off and have been unable to work a plan out with their creditors have found that by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they are able to have their medical bills discharged, thus giving them the opportunity to start with a clean slate.

This information is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.