Bankruptcy Filings are rising among Baby Boomers

A person’s golden years should be a period of time where one enjoys retirement, spoiling grandkids, and living a well-deserved, comfortable lifestyle after a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. For older Americans, however, specifically the baby boomer generation, there is a growing trend towards bankruptcy.

baby boomers filing bankruptcyThe massive generation of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 have important implications for the entire nation.  The youngest baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011. The fact that more than 20% of Americans will be age 65 or older by 2030 means a significant change in health care services, business, and family structure. Financial stability may also have a significant impact on this group.

The number of older Americans filing for bankruptcy has never been higher in the United States. The data collected that points to the increased rate of bankruptcy filings shows that older Americans are struggling with finances. These financial issues include inadequate income, reductions in social security, and overwhelming costs of health care. According to the Consumer Bankruptcy Project study, the rate of Americans 65 and older filing for bankruptcy has tripled since 1991. Bankruptcy provides the financial and debt relief needed by the seniors. Because of their advanced age, there is just not enough years left to start over and rebuild wealth.

Debt, debt stress, managing monthly payments, and using credit to cover the lack of income is a problem. It is a great problem for aging adults who are retired, or on a fixed income, on a budget, and unable to pay bills and debts. Credit cards are sometimes the means to extend a Social Security check or benefits. Sometimes there is just not enough income to account for the medical or credit card bills. Accruing debt late in life could mean that just paying the minimum balance due could mean paying that debt, literally for the rest of your life. Many of the seniors who are using bankruptcy protection to wipe out debt had saved and planned for retirement and “old age.”

Currently, older Americans have more bankruptcy filings than ever before. Faced with unemployment, out of pocket spending on medical programs, and rising costs, bankruptcy is a viable option — especially when these seniors cannot bounce back at their age. There are approximately 97,600 senior households filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. This number is expected to continue to rise. Debt is rising as well, even if a bankruptcy is not being filed.