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The Rate of Bankruptcy is Rising Among Older Americans

Retirement. That’s everyone’s goal after having worked for over 40 years. But for many the elderly, this may be just a dream. Financial problems plague the older generation, from rising interest rates, to exorbitant medical costs, to crushing credit card debt along with the rising cost. On top of this, many people find their savings are lacking, and there is no way to keep up with it all. Add all this together and retirement just doesn’t seem feasible. Is there any way to escape this? For some, it’s filing for bankruptcy. Let’s take a look:

Many people spend their lives building a career. A portion of everyone’s paycheck goes toward social security, paying the retired population’s social security costs, and expecting to get it back when it’s their turn to retire, as paid for by the preceding generation. However, it is getting increasingly hard to access all the benefits of social security. To compensate, some retired people are getting back into the workforce, picking up one, maybe even two jobs. It’s one thing for a younger person to handle working a few jobs, but it’s not as easy for an older person to handle all that work, and the accompanying stress from worrying about money. For those who can’t do it, their only escape may be filing for bankruptcy, but it might not be enough…

An Increase in Retired Filers

retirement fund

A new study from Consumer Bankruptcy Project states that the number of people in retirement who are filing for bankruptcy is increasing. The research examined the number of bankruptcy filings from 1991 to 2016, and grouped them by age. It found that there has been a spike in the number of filers who are 65 or older, from 1.2 filers per 1000 in 1991 to 3.6 filers per 1000 in 2016. That may seem like a small increase, but that’s a 204% jump in 25 years. Moreover, in 1991, only 2.1% of filers were 65 and older. In 2016, however, this number rose to 12.2%, meaning that people age 65 and older represent a larger portion of those filing for bankruptcy. Additionally, the number of people in the preceding generation who are filing for bankruptcy is increasing.

What’s the Cause? 

counting pennies

The study examined a sample of questionnaires submitted to 895 filers from ages 19-92. It found that more and more Americans are taking out loans – for school, to buy a house, or to start a business – and are struggling to pay them back. Their savings are dwindling and they resort to exclusively using credit cards for a time until they pile on even more debt? Their only chance of escape: filing for bankruptcy.


Because their savings are quickly vanishing, many older Americans are forced out of retirement and heading back into the workforce to support themselves. However, the stress can be too much to handle for some people, so they resort to filing for bankruptcy in a last ditch effort to improve their situations. If you are wondering if bankruptcy can help you, contact the Law Office of Barry R. Levine today by phone at 978-922-8440, or visit our website at