In Oregon and throughout the country, older Americans are filing for bankruptcy at a higher rate than their younger counterparts. Part of the reason is that government benefit programs such as Social Security are replacing a lower portion of a worker’s income after retirement. At the same time, health care costs are going up, which can further strain the finances of someone 65 or older.
It has been noted that the age group most likely to seek bankruptcy protection today has also been most likely to seek such protection in the past. According to the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, the age group with the highest level of bankruptcy filings in 1991 was between the ages of 25 and 44. Between 2013 and 2016, those same individuals were in the age group most likely to to do so. At that time, they were between the ages of 45 and 64.
However, a variety of other factors could have contributed to older Americans filing for bankruptcy in higher numbers than other age groups. For instance, the lack of defined pension plans put their retirement savings at the mercy of an investment fund’s performance. In some cases, those who received benefits from a pension or from the government lacked other savings accounts to help them cover expenses as they aged.
Those who are looking to reclaim control of their finances might want to consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This action could put an end to creditor calls, lawsuits or attempts to foreclose on a home. In a Chapter 13 case, debts are repaid over either three or five years. Balances remaining at the end of the repayment period may be discharged.