The last twenty years has seen a great increase in bankruptcy, not only in number, but in the age of those affected by bankruptcy, a New York Estate Lawyer reports. In 2007, about 7% of those who filed for bankruptcy were over the age of 64. The number was only 2.1% in 1991. The median age for bankruptcy was 43 in 2007, and only 36.5 in 1991.
There are more elderly people than before, but not enough to account for the shift in bankruptcy. A new study suggests credit card debt is the problem. New York Estate Lawyers learned from data gathered by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project that two-thirds of the elderly directly attributed their bankruptcy to credit card interest and fees. Only 53% of the younger group blamed credit cards. The median credit card debt for the elderly was $27,213, while the median debt for the younger set was $15,499. 44.8% of the elder debtors carried at least five cards, while only 32.4% of the younger debtors had as many.
The study did not show that the elderly were more likely to spend without regard for the consequences. It showed that the elderly were less likely to have “problems controlling spending” than their younger counterparts.
Instead, the elderly preferred not to trouble friends and family when they had financial problems, so they turned to credit cards instead. The elderly were also less likely to ask their creditors to work with them before filing for bankruptcy, New York Estate Lawyers learned.
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