Overall, the nation’s economy is in relatively good shape. This means that unemployment rates are down throughout much of Mississippi and the rest of the United States. However, there is a somewhat new phenomenon that is showing a darker financial picture for some Americans — there is a notable increase in bankruptcy filings for older individuals, particularly for baby boomers.

Anything that impacts the baby boomer generation, which represents approximately one-quarter of the population, is certain to have rippling effects throughout the entire economy. Economic researchers report that in the last 25 years, the rate of baby boomer bankruptcy filings has increased sixfold. The overall trend shows bankruptcy rates declining for those 54 and under yet dramatically increasing for the 55-plus group.

While any age group can be hit by major economic events, such as job loss or a family split, older people are unique in finding themselves transitioning into retirement. The combination of living longer, dealing with a decrease in social security benefits, less or non-existent pension plan benefits and far higher medical costs across the board places boomers and those nearing retirement at greater risk. Nothing occurring currently in the economy seems likely to change these trends in the near future.

Financial challenges can arise at any time in any one’s life. A fresh financial start may be possible with debt relief or a manageable payment plan. A bankruptcy lawyer can provide guidance and counsel in determining whether Chapter 13 relief would be appropriate under the specific facts and circumstances.