Bankruptcy statistics are showing an alarming trend among senior citizens as more of them are filing for bankruptcy than ever before. In fact, according to the study, these numbers have jumped significantly in the last 25 years.
The numbers come from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project as published by the Social Science Research Network. These figures show that the rate of individuals over the age of 65 who have filed for bankruptcy has grown 204 percent from 1991 to 2016. Further, the percentage that senior citizens who filed compared to all other U.S. bankruptcy filers went up five times over this 25-year period.
It is reported that the rising cost of healthcare, reduced income and decline in pensions are to blame for the increase. All three of these factors have led to the perfect storm, leaving more financially broken retirees than ever before.
Most of these individuals worked their whole lives, thinking Social Security, their pensions and Medicare would carry them through retirement. However, following the 2008 recession, companies began to freeze or completely eliminate pensions. Many also lost their jobs during this time or were forced to retire early and are now delaying collecting Social Security, just barely getting by. All it takes is for one major crisis, whether it be a medical diagnosis or job loss, for their finances to quickly fall apart.
Medical costs seem to be the biggest trigger for financial issues, according to the study. For one, Medicare does not cover all medical expenses that may be needed, including the costs of long-term care, dental treatments or hearing aids. Medicare requires co-pays most of the time, as well as deductibles, and even meeting these costs can be difficult for many. If someone needs major surgery, those costs can be astronomical, even just meeting the deductible.
According to figures from the Kaiser Family foundation, out-of-pocket health expenses for individuals on Medicare took over 40 percent of the average reported Social Security income during 2013. It is anticipated that costs are going to increase to 50 percent of what the average Social Security income is by the year 2030.
The financial institution, Fidelity, reported earlier this year that the average retiree couple, age 65, will need approximately $280,000 alone to cover health care and other medical costs throughout retirement. That figure does not even begin to cover the cost of living. This number is up 75 percent from what Fidelity recommended in 2002, when the company recommended that a retired couple at the age of 65 save up $160,000 for healthcare costs.
One major concern brought up from these statistics is the fact that even though older individuals are struggling, society as a whole does not seem to be all that concerned with their struggles. When the average person is in this type of financial situation, bankruptcy offers him or her a fresh start.
Individuals in this generation can sometimes view bankruptcy as a way of giving up or have trouble asking for help. It is important, however, that if family and friends see their older loved ones struggling financially, that they reach out to them and encourage them to seek help as soon as possible. For many seniors, bankruptcy can provide the relief they so desperately need and help them enter retirement with a fresh financial start.
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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.