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Bankruptcy and Debt Forcing More Older Americans to Delay Retirement

November 2, 2010

Our Rubidoux personal bankruptcy lawyers wrote recently about an increase in the number of older people who are filing for bankruptcy, many citing credit card issues. So we were interested to see a related story from USA Today about how workers 55 and older are being forced to put off retirement by the recession, debt and bankruptcy. Like all Americans, many of these older people are losing jobs and having trouble finding more, putting them in a position to rack up credit card debt or vulnerable to disaster following any unexpected expenses. But unlike younger workers, the older workers have less time to recover financially, and are more liable to problems from supporting younger relatives or high medical bills. They may also run through their retirement savings in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy, robbing them of the savings they'll need later.

The article gives several reasons why older workers go into bankruptcy and debt. Many can be traced to the recession. The unemployment rate for workers 55 and older is 7.2 percent, below the average but far higher than it was a few years ago. Finding a job is difficult right now, and people who were at the same job for decades may have special difficulty because they're out of practice. Those who are working tend to make less than they were. Older people are also more likely to experience expensive medical problems. The housing downturn means older people with lots of home equity may still not be able to get a home equity loan. All of this drives some workers to rack up unsustainable credit card debt, eventually leading to bankruptcy. Other older people may make bad loans to their children or grandchildren. And like many bankruptcy filers, older workers feel such a strong shame about bankruptcy that they run through their retirement savings to stay out of it.

In fact, retirement savings are often protected in bankruptcy, so it's especially sad to see people spend them in a fruitless attempt to delay a bankruptcy filing. Spending money that could otherwise be protected is one of the most common mistakes we see as Carson individual bankruptcy attorneys. In older people, it's a particularly big problem because older workers don't have the time to pay back those savings and retire on time. Instead of enjoying those years, they may have to work or rely on relatives for help. To avoid this, we tell clients and potential clients to face the possibility of bankruptcy head-on, using cool mathematics rather than emotions to decide whether bankruptcy is right for them. Bankruptcy is a hard decision at any age, but careful planning can help you land on your feet and make a new start.

Howard Law PC helps clients and potential clients do that planning. We offer free, confidential consultations, so if you need help deciding whether you're a candidate for bankruptcy, we invite you to call us and set up a meeting. If we become your Anaheim bankruptcy attorneys, we will help you sort through the complicated financial and legal tasks that lie ahead. Most individuals and couples have a choice between two types of bankruptcy, and we can help you choose which is right for you, taking into account your personal financial situation and priorities. If creditors continue calling after you file, violating the automatic stay bankruptcy provides, we can help you sue to stop the harassment and recover financial damages. And we follow up with all of our clients to help them understand the tax and credit consequences they could face.

If you feel overwhelmed by debt you know you can't pay back, you should call Howard Law to learn more about filing for bankruptcy. For a free evaluation of your case, call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.