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Many more seniors filing for bankruptcy

While many older people are planning for retirement, others in Louisiana and around the country are considering bankruptcy. Financial hardship has impacted many older Americans, and the number of older people declaring bankruptcy has increased markedly since 1991. This growth in bankruptcy far outweighs the overall aging of the American population, according to a study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project. Indeed, the report found that around 800,000 petitions for personal bankruptcy are filed each year, and around 100,000 of them are filed by senior citizens.

Many of the cuts to social programs that have taken place in the last decades have been particularly devastating to seniors. The retirement age has been raised for people to access Social Security and seniors have had to pay more of their medical bills out-of-pocket. In addition, traditional employer pension plans have been on the decline, while programs like 401(k)s, which shift the responsibility of retirement savings to workers, have been rising. This comes in addition to an often-crushing burden of credit card debt and other bills well into the retirement years.

As retirees now pay an average of 20 percent of their income for health care, which is almost double the percentage of income spent on this cost in previous generations, financial struggles have been magnified. This means that the rate of personal bankruptcy for Americans over 65 have doubled.

Personal bankruptcy for seniors can come with some specific concerns, especially because they have less time to rebuild their credit score and overall wealth. However, for the same reasons, bankruptcy can be a lifeline for seniors struggling with overwhelming debt and poverty. A bankruptcy lawyer can work with people of any age to find solutions that can help them escape a massive debt burden.

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