An increasing number of elderly people in Michigan and across the United States are filing for bankruptcy, especially as wealth inequality continues to deepen. Several studies have indicated that older Americans are suffering from escalating financial problems. Between 1991 and 2016, the bankruptcy rate for Americans over 75 more than tripled. At the same time, bankruptcy filings for people between 65 and 74 went up more than two-fold. While a larger number of people are growing older as Baby Boomers retire, the growth in bankruptcies far outstrips the demographic changes.
Out of those who file for bankruptcy, one out of every seven is aged 65 or older. This represents a 500 percent increase over 25 years, according to one study. In 2007, the average age of a filer for bankruptcy was 44.4 years. However, the average age was 48.5 a decade later. While this may seem like a small increase, it reflects the overall aging of the bankrupt population. Between 2013 and 2016, 12.2 percent of all bankruptcy filings belonged to Americans aged 65 and up.
There are a number of reasons why elderly people may be facing bankruptcy in growing numbers. Almost 70 percent of the filers who were surveyed by researchers said that they had insufficient retirement income, experienced a sudden decline in income or faced an unexpected job loss. Another major reason for bankruptcy cited by respondents was the cost of medical care. Over 62 percent said that mounting medical bills were part of the problem while around 40 percent said that they had missed work and income due to medical leave.
People who are facing mounting bills and insurmountable debts may wonder how they could find some measure of relief. A lawyer can help a client in financial crisis by explaining the benefits of filing for personal bankruptcy.