AARP Report: Bankruptcy Rates Rise among Older Americans

With more than a million people filling for bankruptcy in 2007, a new study by Elizabeth Warren, a Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School who compiled the study for AARP's Public Policy Institute, shows that the rate of bankruptcy filings among those 65 and older has more than doubled since 1991.

While the bulk of bankruptcy filers are in their 30s and 40s, the financial landscape for the oldest and youngest generations has changed considerably. Americans age 55 or older have experienced the sharpest increase in bankruptcy filings, jumping from 8.2 percent of debtors in 1991 to 22.3 percent in 2007.

Research found that by 2007, the median age for bankruptcy filers had increased to 43 years old in 2007 from 36.5 years old in 1991. A declining economy, increasing health care costs, and a general lack of retirement preparedness puts older Americans and their families at greater risk for bankruptcy and continued financial stress.

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