Are you over 55 years of age and struggling to pay back medical and/or credit card related debt?
Are you living on a fixed income and just not able to breathe each month and simply live from check to check?
If so, you are not alone.
Personal bankruptcy filings by people 55 and older are growing faster than those of any other age group due primarily to rising mortgage debt and medical expenses. In fact, filings are up approximately 45.8% between 1994 and 2002 for such persons according to a recent U.S. government study referenced in an April 27, 2007 Washington Post Article.
Reasons for senior debt likely include one or more of the following:
- Increasing healthcare costs
- Living on social security and/or fixed pension
- Lost income due to sickness
- Attempting to help family financially
- Increased costs of home ownership
If any of the above sounds like you or someone you know, please note that helping persons 55 and older file for bankruptcy is one of the most satisfying and personally rewarding aspects of my job. Nobody should have to simply get by to pay outrageous medical and credit card debt when they are in their golden years. Nobody should have to place debt on their home or withdraw money from a qualified retirement to pay for such expenses. Consider the following hypothetical:
Carlos is 55 years of age. Carlos, a moderate wage employee, is approaching retirement, is 5 years away from paying off his home, yet has recently incurred certain uninsured medical expenses in the neighborhood of $20,000.00. Carlos has $250,000.00 in an Individual Retirement Account. Carlos helped a family member in trouble a few years back and was unable to obtain repayment. Carlos can obtain a home equity loan and continue working to pay it off over the next 20 years. Carlos can remove some of his retirement savings to pay back the debt. However, Carlos decides to file bankruptcy. Carlos is able to keep his home, ALL of his retirement savings (up to $1 million), and all of his household belongings.
The question to ask yourself is whether you want to go without what you need in life or work an extra 20 years to pay off your credit card or medical bill? If the answer is NO, call Watson & Maynez, P.C. and schedule a FREE consultation today!
If you are the family or caregiver of an elderly person, I urge you to be alert for evidence of unmanageable consumer debt and encourage the senior to obtain advice on bankruptcy. Debt ridden seniors are typically judgment proof. They should not continue to worry and stress about debt they will be unable to pay and go without appropriate food and medical care.