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Is personal bankruptcy a good option for senior citizens?

There is never a good time to deal with overwhelming debt, but there may be some phases of life when financial strain can be especially difficult to manage. Perhaps the most challenging time to deal with high levels of debt is during one's retirement years, when many Connecticut residents would prefer to be focused on spending time with their grandchildren, pursuing hobbies and interests and generally getting to do all of the things that they had no time for during the demands of early and middle adulthood. In many cases, personal bankruptcy is the most expedient path out of crippling debt.

Research shows that approximately 65 percent of households in which the primary adult is 55 or older also has existing debt. An estimated 27 percent of American seniors who are 60 years of age or older have no pension or retirement savings to fall back on. That combination can lead to retirement years that are anything but golden. Factor in increasing health care costs, minimal savings and a longer life expectancy, and retirement begins to look like a frightening prospect for many Americans.

Senior citizens are not often looking to purchase a new home or vehicle, so they are often not concerned about having a lower credit score following a bankruptcy. Many, however, are aware that there are a multitude of scams that focus specifically on seniors who are in dire financial straits. For some, filing for personal bankruptcy is a clear path out of debt, and away from the risk of being scammed by sophisticated yet illegal debt collection efforts.

It is not uncommon for senior citizens to feel ashamed of falling into serious levels of debt, but that should not impact the decision-making process on how to move forward. People of all ages and all walks of life can find themselves in heavy debt, and in need of lasting debt relief. Researching personal bankruptcy is one way to take control over one's finances and make a series of decisions that can help regain stability. That is especially important for Connecticut residents who are no longer in the workforce, and who should be enjoying this phase of their lives.

Source:, "Ask an Attorney: Coping with debt as a senior citizen", Xenophon Peters, May 8, 2017

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