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Elderly Americans Increasingly Declaring Bankruptcy in Retirement

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2010 | Debt Relief

A new trend has emerged that has identified more elderly Americans struggling under the weight of credit card debt and medical bills, causing them to resort to bankruptcy in retirement. Recent statistical data has backed these findings up, reporting that Americans 65 and older who carry a balance on their credit cards owe an average of $10,235, up 26% from 2005. These older debtors who filed for bankruptcy owed a median of $22,562 to credit card companies. The study also revealed that while multiple factors, such as health problems and medical debts, contribute to elders’ financial stress, the dominant force appears to be the overwhelming burden of credit cards. From 1991 to 2007, the rate of personal bankruptcy filings among those ages 65 or older soared by 150%, according to AARP. At the time, the biggest jump in bankruptcy filings occurred among people aged 75 to 84. Their rate skyrocketed 433%.

The study also revealed that elder debtors carry 50% more credit card debt than younger debtors. The challenge for seniors, however, is that when they run into financial trouble their options are somewhat limited, compared to the younger generation. For example, unlike younger Americans who can obtain work, put in more hours on the job, or perhaps get a second job to make ends meet, those choices do not always exist for people age 65 and older. Additionally, there are some issues confronting seniors that the rest of the population generally does not have to face. One big issue: Financial abuse by family members. Research also revealed that many elderly Americans are going broke, not just because of their own spending and high health care costs, but because their assets are being depleted by relatives or close friends who feel entitled to get an expected inheritance.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in need of a financial fresh start, please contact our experienced team of bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorneys at 305-285-9100. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at


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