• 15
  • October

A recent blog post in Forbes points to a growing trend of older people filing for bankruptcy. It also reports that older bankruptcy filers tend to blame credit card debt and the associated interest and fees for their bankruptcy.

Forbes reports that in 2007, 7 percent of those filing for bankruptcy were 65 or older, up from 2.1 percent in 1991. The median age for bankruptcy has also risen from 36.5 in 1991 to 43 in 2007. Data gathered by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that two-thirds of seniors report credit card debt as the reason they were filing, whereas only 53 percent of younger filers cite credit card debt.

A study by University of Michigan Law School Professor John A.E. Pottow also found that older people often rely more on credit cards because they are reluctant to ask for help from family and friends. Older people were less likely to say that they have problems controlling spending, but often use the cards for necessities, such as medical bills.

Older people may also cite loans they have given to help others, such as children, out of financial trouble as contributing factors in their own bankruptcy. The study also found that older people were less likely to try to negotiate with a creditor before filing for bankruptcy.


Credit Card Debt Blamed For Surge in Elder Bankruptcy (Forbes)