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Seniors increasingly in debt, filing bankruptcy

Statistics show that older people are filing for bankruptcy at higher rates than ever before, in Mississippi and across the country. According a 2018 report by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, more than 10% of people who filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016 were 65 years old or older; this was a significant increase over the number in 1991.

The elderly population of the country also grew over that time span, but only by 2.3%. There are a number of economic and social factors contributing to the rise in elder bankruptcy. People are living longer, and they need more medical care in their later years. The cost of medical care has been increasing for decades.

Additionally, many people 65 and older have little or no personal savings and cannot rely on a company pension or 401(k) plan. They are also increasingly in debt, with nearly half of Americans at least 75 years of age carrying debt by 2016 compared to only about 20% in 1989, according to a survey of consumer finances by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Approximately 800,000 households made bankruptcy filings in 2016, including an estimated 133,000 senior citizens.

People in Mississippi who are struggling to pay for life necessities or pay down debts might want to schedule a consultation with an attorney. An attorney who practices bankruptcy law might be able to help by suggesting options to reduce or eliminate debt or by examining the client's financial situation and negotiating settlements with creditors. An attorney might help themprepare for bankruptcy by guiding them through pre-bankruptcy counseling in advance of filing a petition.

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