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Seniors struggling with high debt, low retirement funds

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2021 | Bankruptcy

Chances are that you had big plans to save for your retirement. Like many, you hoped to stop working by a certain age and devote your golden years to travel, hobbies or simply relaxing. Perhaps you started early, putting a little back from each paycheck or investing in your company’s retirement fund.  

Then things happened. Maybe your family grew, or your investments tanked. Maybe your company’s pension plan dwindled, or the economy was simply not in your favor. Any number of factors might have disrupted your retirement plans, from natural disasters to a catastrophic health crisis. Now, instead of looking forward to years of relaxing, you are facing overwhelming debt with limited resources. You are not alone. In fact, many retirees across the country are in the same situation.  

The problem is widespread 

Retirement in Arkansas is relatively affordable compared to the rest of the U.S. Nevertheless, according to a recent survey, it takes about $700,000 to ensure a comfortable retirement even in a state with a low cost of living. In other states, you can expect to need well over $1 million. How much have you saved for your retirement? If you have $10,000 or less, you are right on par with about 64% of retirees in the U.S.  

Ten thousand dollars with limited income is hardly enough to help you meet your retirement goals, especially if you retire with debt or take on more debt after you leave your job. Naturally, you need to consider the possibility that you may need long-term care at some point or that some other emergency will wipe out even that little bit of savings. This is a common fear, and more and more retirees are turning to bankruptcy to find relief from their debts. 

How might bankruptcy help me? 

For many seniors, medical debt is a heavy burden. You may also find yourself using your credit cards for everyday purchases, such as food or prescriptions. Perhaps you still have mortgage payments or personal loans. If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it may be possible to eliminate some of these unsecured debts, although it may involve liquidating some assets. Chapter 13 reorganizes your debts into a three-to-five-year payment plan, after which the court could discharge your remaining debts.  

While bankruptcy may not be the path you chose for your retirement, it may be the option that gets you out from under your debt. Without this burden, you may have greater peace of mind that will allow you to enjoy your golden years with less stress.