Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bankruptcy and Retirement, sometimes they go hand in hand.

The great moment has arrived where you hang up the work shoes, and enjoy the fruits of your labor - right?

Unfortunately, for all too many people with fixed incomes, retirement has brought mounting credit card debt or unpaid medical bills without any real opportunity to pay off this debt on a fixed income. Gasoline prices are through the roof, real estate taxes keep increasing, and medical insurance just does not seem to cover all the medical bills. Or, the water heater blows, the stove stops working or the frig won't keep anything cold  - and with no extra funds, use of the credit cards or a loan seemed to be a good option at the time, but now with too many bills, they just can't be paid off.

Sometimes, the only way to get rid of the medical bills and credit card debt is to file for bankruptcy.  And again, filing for bankruptcy does not mean you lose your home or your car or your things because the  "exemptions" under the law allow most people to keep what they have (see articles on exemptions) even though they have filed a bankruptcy petition - pensions are protected as well. You can exit bankruptcy with your pension in tact and free from the reach of creditors.  Bankruptcy may rid you of your credit card and unsecured debt and unpaid medical bills, in many cases. 

There are avenues to explore to get rid of the debt and make your "golden" years happier, and bankruptcy is just one of them.  Another option to explore is the "reverse mortgage".  The "reverse mortgage" occurs where a lender will either give you a credit line up to a certain dollar amount secured by your home, or they will pay off your existing home mortgage.  You need to be at least 62 years old to do this.  You do not pay off this "reverse mortgage" until you either (1) move out of your home or (2) die.  The reverse mortgage frees up a substantial amount of income for retirement folks living in their home.  But, PLEASE, seek out a a reputable lender or consider going to a certified HUD counselor to point you in the right direction on the issue of a reverse mortgage. 

Does your town have a program for reduced real estate taxes on your home if you are over a certain age?  Many, many stores offer senior discounts.  Take advantage of those hard, earned years!

Lesson learned:  For many, many people who are in their retirement years, there are options to address mounting debt.  Do not let your finances control you, you can control your finances by seeking answers to address these problems.

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