Living on a fixed income is difficult for many older Americans. Over the course of time, there has been a shift to individuals bearing a higher burden of financial risks. Gone are pensions. Health insurance is more of the burden on the insured than before. Savings are usually not sizable enough to cover an unexpected or unplanned expense. Social Security benefits, if taken early, come with a cost as the monthly benefit is permanently reduced.
As a result, the rate of individuals over the age of 65 that are filing for bankruptcy has tripled as compared to 1991. Despite a lifetime of hard work, many face the uncomfortable reality of mounting debt.
It could be that a spouse fell ill or passed away, leaving behind insurmountable medical bills and funeral costs. It could be that you had to retire early because of an injury, a child or grandchild moves in with you, or you could simply miss one car payment. Any small thing that snowballs.
Bankruptcy may be the best way to address the debt. Instead of feeling pressure to liquidate assets, a bankruptcy may allow you to achieve the end goal of being debt free and retaining all of your property.
In some situations, a bankruptcy is not necessary to protect assets but to provide peace of mind. The phone calls stop. The collection letters cease. The fear eliminated. Bankruptcy can provide many emotional and mental benefits beyond dollars and cents. After a bankruptcy, you can focus more on your wellbeing than on how you are going to continue to pay debt. Bankruptcy can be a liberating experience.
I have seen many clients try to outwork the debt. They attempt to find solutions because they were brought up that “you pay your debts.” However, That can be like running on a track and each step you take requires that you run another lap. A bankruptcy allows you to step off the track. There can be a fear that people will assume you have given up or avoided your responsibility to pay for your debt. Alternatively, you are showing that you are brave to take that uncomfortable step towards a fresh start. Peace of mind awaits.
If you or someone you know is dealing with financial distress later in life, please know that Koenig│Dunne is here to support you when making the difficult decision to file bankruptcy.