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Record Number of Seniors Filing for Bankruptcy

September 4, 2018

|Daniel A. White

recent study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project revealed a stark reality for our nation – the number of people aged 65-74 filing for bankruptcy has tripled since 1991.

That’s a 204 percent increase!

In total, those aged 65 and older make up 12.2 percent of all bankruptcy filings, which is up from 2.1 percent in 1991. Back then, there were 1.2 bankruptcy filings per 1,000 seniors (aged 65-74).

By late 2016, that figure rose to 3.6 filings per 1,000 for the same age group.

Why is this happening?

One reason is soaring health costs, which 60 percent of the study’s respondents said affected them. Medicare recipients pointed to coverage gaps, high premiums, and cost sharing as reasons they’ve paid more out-of-pocket for care.

Many seniors also cited delays in receiving full Social Security benefits and reduced overall income – about 67 percent of respondents indicated their income had dropped in retirement.

A third reason is vanishing pensions, which to be honest, has been happening for some time.

In fact, this whole phenomenon has been unfolding over the course of the last three decades. It’s the result of shifting financial risk from employers and governments to individuals.

And it doesn’t look like the trend will reverse any time soon.

According to the study, the next youngest age group, those aged 54-65, are also filing for bankruptcy more than in the past.

Today, you’re on your own and the social safety net is shrinking. Takes a lot of the shine off those “golden years,” doesn’t it?

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