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Demographic trends, financial strains, solutions re the family home

As has been noted by national media stories and prior posts of this blog, Americans' financial problems that can potentially make things get a bit out of hand -- or flatly impossible to deal with -- can owe to one or a host of interrelated issues that result in a spiraling debt trap.

Medical debt, for example, is well established as a primary catalyst resulting in foreclosure and bankruptcy for many Florida families and their counterparts nationwide. In fact, financial obligations arising from health problems have been pointed to as the leading cause for families losing their homes and filing for bankruptcy protection.

Other factors, too, obviously contribute to financial duress and mounting payment pressures. In any given case, those can include student debt, credit card debt and the inability to continue making mortgage payments on the family home.

That latter concern has risen dramatically in recent years, especially among families where wage earners are nearing or entering retirement years without continuing paychecks and yet with recurring mortgage bills.

That is a relatively recent phenomenon, given that, historically and until just a few years ago, a high percentage of retired people had paid off their mortgages and held the deed to their homes. That allowed them, in turn, to more easily deal with other payment outlays and ward off any mounting financial pressures.

That has discontinued being the case for many millions of Americans, with an estimated four out of every 10 homes across the country still being paid off in instances where the head of the household is of full Social Security age.

People under financial pressure need to know that escalating difficulties far from routinely result in the loss of a home. A fresh start is possible, and protecting a family's financial future most logically begins with a candid and confidential discussion with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Source:, "What paying off a mortgage (or not) means to retirement," Mara Lee, April 20, 3013

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