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  • Carl Rolsma

Rise of Bankruptcies by Older Americans

The New York Times reported on 08/05/2018 in a piece by Tara Siegel Bernard that, “The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991…” The New York Times article is largely based on a study by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project.

One example in the article sounds very similar to stories I have heard as a bankruptcy attorney in Janesville. “Cheryl Mcleod of Las Vegas filed for bankruptcy in January after struggling to keep up with her mortgage payments and other expenses. “I am 70, and I am working for less money than I ever did in my life,” she said. “This life stuff happens.” “Much like the broader population, people 65 and older usually cited multiple factors. About three in five said unmanageable medical expenses played a role. A little more than two-thirds cited a drop in income. Nearly three-quarters put some blame on hounding by debt collectors,” said the article.


If you find yourself in a similar situation bankruptcy may be able to provide you with the fresh start that you need. Many times older people can avoid bankruptcy for the simple fact that they are what is referred to as being “judgment proof.” They can be sued, but the creditor(s) can’t really do anything to enforce the judgment because Social Security cannot be garnished. If you would like to get further information about whether bankruptcy would be appropriate for you, we can talk to you on the phone, or for a more in depth conversation you can make an appointment for a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney at our office.

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