In the last few years, it seems that in my practice, the number of senior citizens filing bankruptcy has increased dramatically. Senior citizens are one of the more vulnerable populations in our country in terms of health and earnings potential. What is driving this incredible rise in senior citizen bankruptcy, and how can you tell if your loved ones are at risk?
Why the Increase?
The combination of increasing medical expenses and decreasing income is likely driving most of the increase. Many senior citizens took a significant financial hit during the recession that they never fully recovered from. While other age demographics may be able to go back to work to make up the loss, because of their age and often due to health issues this is not an option many senior citizens have.
What about Canadian Pension Plan?
Unfortunately, CPP simply does not stretch as far as it used to for most senior citizens. While many senior citizens—and Canadians of all ages—continue to think CPP is a guaranteed safety net for old age, with each passing year that becomes less true.
How can I tell if my loved one is at risk for bankruptcy?
The idea of our elderly loved ones having to choose between their health and their retirement is a gut-wrenching one. While many people find financial conversations to be very uncomfortable, it is important that you take time to checked in with the senior citizens in your family to see if there are any hidden financial concerns that could be putting them at risk. Many people, especially the elderly, are ashamed to admit they are going through financial trouble. Additionally, many elderly individuals do not want “to be a burden” on their families so will not reach out if they do need help until it is too late.
When you have this conversation with them, it is important you tell them at the start of that you want them to live the rest of their lives free of financial worries, and that you love them no matter what financial troubles they may be facing. Ask them about whether they have made any withdrawals from their retirement accounts to cover their needs, and whether they are having any trouble making payments on medical bills or other debts.
If you know someone who is struggling with debt, let them know that at Welker & Associates, we offer free, no-obligation consultations with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. We’re here to help.