Today, the average household headed by those 60 years of age and older carries more than $55,000 in debt. Fifty percent of Americans 75 and older not only have some form of debt to tackle, but 25 percent are still chipping away at mortgage debt putting them in a potentially precarious position. Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that older Americans between the ages of 60 to 69 acquired more student debt in the last decade than younger people ages 18 – 29 adding to their overall debt burden.
The golden years which was once thought of as a time of relative tranquility and financial security, has changed over the years. Some financial issues can be traced back to the 2008-09 financial crisis where many older Americans opened new credit cards and secured personal loans to make ends meet after losing employment or income. Some even took out student loans and returned to school to learn new skills, while others signed off on loans so their children or grandchildren could attend. As it stands, the incomes of most seniors is used to pay off a variety of debt carried into retirement.
Fortunately, bankruptcy protection can provide relief for Americans on fixed incomes who have few options to get out of debt as they grow older. Unsecured credit card debt and loans, medical bills and other unsecured debt are often dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, providing needed breathing room for seniors who are struggling with a difficult financial situation. If you have questions regarding Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact the Peoria bankruptcy law firm of Charles E. Covey for a free consultation at 309-674-8125.