Monday, December 27, 2010

The large majority of bankruptcy filings from senior citizens stem from credit card debt

Sunday, December 26, 2010
By William Davis

Only 7 percent of all bankruptcy cases filed in the U.S. between 1991 and 2007 were entered by people aged 65 and older, however, the demographic was the fastest-growing age group observed in a new study from the University of Michigan Law School. About two-thirds of these elderly consumers were forced to file for protection because their credit card debt was unmanageable; their debt was roughly 50percent higher than it was for bankrupted consumers in other age groups.

There were a number of causes for these filings, the most common being senior citizens' reliance on credit cards to pay for medical expenses as their incomes decreased and became fixed, the report said. In addition, others had to deal with the death of a spouse who provided a secondary income.

In recent months, fewer Americans filed for bankruptcy as a result of insurmountable credit card debt. Fewer filings may signal improvement in the economy and rising consumer confidence.

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