Battered by the Recession, More Older Americans Are Filing for Bankruptcy

  • United States
  • 10/27/2010
  • Debra Cassens Weiss - American Bar Association

The recession has been tough for people over age 55, who are hard hit by layoffs and increasingly filing for bankruptcy.

People between the ages of 55 and 64 made up 16.9 percent of those filing for bankruptcy last year, up from 14.3 percent in 2007, USA Today reports. The figures come from the Consumer Bankruptcy Demographics Report, a sampling of debtors in credit counseling.

The increases were even greater from 1991 to 2007, USA Today says. During those years, bankruptcy filings by those 65 and older increased by 150 percent, while filings by those between 75 and 84 increased 433 percent, according to data by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project.

Many older Americans are reluctant to file for bankruptcy and use retirement savings to pay down debt that would be shielded from creditors, the story says. Some seniors are also tapping needed retirement money to help children stay afloat financially.

“A growing number of Americans age 55 and older have put their retirement dreams on hold as they face a dismal financial reality,” USA Today says. “The recession has forced many into unemployment, stripped away years of their savings or dramatically reduced incomes during what they had hoped would be their final high-earning years.”