Bankruptcy: Why are more older Americans filing?

| Dec 27, 2017 | bankruptcy

Like so many older Americans, you want to keep your home. However, your mounting medical debt seems to have other ideas. Healthcare is one of the most significant expenses in retirement, and for many seniors, it can get out of control.

According to a new study, a couple retiring this year will have an average of $275,000 in medical expenses during their retirement. This does not include nursing home costs, either.

More senior bankruptcy filings

Americans aged 55 and older account for roughly 20 percent of bankruptcy filings. Since 1994, the number has doubled based on a study from Debt.org.

Why so many?

Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the U.S. And, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the New Times, approximately a quarter of households struggle to pay their medical bills–and that’s with medical insurance. The number jumps up to 53 percent for those people without insurance. After all, the United States tops the list of countries spending the most on health care.

Can bankruptcy offer relief?

The short answer is yes, depending on the circumsances. While it can offer a clean financial slate, there are other possible benefits as well. For seniors, filing bankruptcy could bring a sense of emotional relief and a tremendous reduction in stress. Getting calls from debt collectors can be taxing for someone without the means to settle those debts. Debt collection is the number one complaint from seniors according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Can you keep your home and car if you file bankruptcy? In many cases, the answer is often yes. Filing bankruptcy can be an emotional lifesaver for many seniors.