Michigan Bankruptcy Court/The Elderly and Bankruptcy BANKRUPTCY BY THE NUMBERS
I, Walter Metzen, will provide, free of charge as part of your free initial Bankruptcy Analysis, a means test calculation to determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Nearly 90% of the people who walk through my door are eligible to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Michigan and get a permanent discharge of their debt. With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan, we can develop and affordable repayment plan to fit every budget.
Contact me, Michigan bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen to learn more about how I can help you get a Fresh Financial Start!.BANKRUPTCY BY THE NUMBERS
Also written by:
In this article we focus on a small subset of chapter 7 debtors - those aged 70 or older. Our sample comes from a set of 5,824 no-asset chapter 7 filings drawn from all districts served by the United States Trustee Program between 1998 and 2000. Debtors are not required to list their ages on Schedule I of their bankruptcy petitions. However, our sample contained 884 cases in which the debtor's age was listed. This included 39 debtors between the ages of 70 and 92 (whom we will refer to as elderly debtors).
Elderly debtors accounted for 4.4% of the total debtor population for which we were able to determine the age. The Bureau of the Census reports that 12.4% of the adult population in the U.S. is aged 70 or more. If elderly debtors are as likely to report their age on Schedule I as younger debtors, (3) we can estimate that elderly people file for chapter 7 bankruptcy at about one-third the rate that would be expected by their proportion in the population at large.
Chapter 7 no asset filings averaged about 900,000 per year between 1998 and 2000. If 4.4% of these debtors were elderly, nationwide there were about 40,000 chapter 7 debtors per year aged 70 or more.
DEMOGRAPHICS: There are no real surprises in the basic
non-financial demographics of the elderly debtors. As shown in the following
chart, most live alone, about one-half are homeowners, few are still employed,
females outnumber males by about two to one, and a substantial percentage are
widowed. They do differ on these factors from other chapter 7 debtors, however.
FINANCIAL CHARACTERISTICS: The financial figures for the elderly debtors paint a rather dismal picture. Their average gross monthly income ($1,544) is more than one-third below the average for chapter 7 debtors ($2,354), and Social Security benefits are the main source of income. Their net monthly income after deductions ($1,497) is closer to that of other chapter 7 debtors ($1,840) because the elderly debtors are subject to very little withholding. As is the case with other sub-groups of chapter 7 debtors, their monthly expenses tend to be a little higher than their net income.
The real and personal property totals of the elderly debtors are about the same as for other chapter 7 debtors. Their secured debt levels are lower, because of greater home equity and fewer car payments. Perhaps surprisingly, only six of the 39 elderly debtors reported any medical debts on Schedule J, and only two of them had more than $1,000 in medical debt (but see below).
CREDIT CARD DEBT: The major distinguishing characteristic of the elderly debtors was their large bank credit card debt. All of the elderly debtors reported at least some credit card debt, and 35 of 39 had more than $10,000 in credit card debt. On average the credit card debt levels for the elderly filers was a little more than double their annual income. If there are 40,000 elderly chapter 7 filers each year with an average of about $38,000 in credit card debt, these debtors represent about $1.5 billion per year in discharged credit card debt.
Some of the elderly debtors reported enormous credit card debt levels. Following is a brief description of the 10 elderly filers with the highest credit card debt levels.
Unfortunately, there is much that the files of the elderly debtors do
not tell us. For example, we cannot tell:
Conclusion: Although the elderly are less likely to file chapter 7 bankruptcy than younger people, a significant number of them do file each year. They are characterized by very low incomes with very high concentrations of credit card debt. The number of elderly filers is likely to grow in the coming years. The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Aging projects that by 2010, the number of people over age 60 in the U.S. will be growing at a rate three and-a-half times as high as that of the population at large.
Contact me, bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen to learn more about how I can help you get a Fresh Financial Start!.
Be sure to Obtain a copy of your Credit Report after your Michigan Bankruptcy Filing and check it for Mistakes.
Contact me, bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen to learn more about how the new Chapter 7 bankruptcy law may affect your case. I offer a free initial consultation so we can discuss your case personally.