Older Americans in Texas and throughout the country are filing for bankruptcy more often than they have in past years. Individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 comprise 8 percent of all bankruptcy filings. This is an increase of 1 percent since 2008, and many people in this age group are filing because of medical debt. In addition to higher health care costs, a lack of financial literacy may also play a role in whether an older person files for bankruptcy.
Many people in Houston are struggling with debts. Some of these individuals may find themselves stressing over how to pay their car notes, mortgages and household expenses each month. As stressful as it is dealing with debt and not knowing where your next dollar may come from, there is hope in the form of bankruptcy.
Texas residents who make contributions to a 401(k) plan can generally claim those deductions as expenses when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A trustee in one case claimed that a debtor needs to make contributions in the six months proceeding bankruptcy for them to count as a valid expense when calculating disposable income. However, an Illinois bankruptcy judge disagreed saying that the debtors in question were not doing so as an act of bad faith.
Some consumers in Texas may be contacted by collectors of what is known as "phantom debt." This term is used to describe debt that is either already paid off or never belonged to the person. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in 2016, more than 40 percent of the complaints received about debt collection were about debt the consumer did not owe in the first place.
Bankruptcy filings fell 1.8 percent for the latest 12-month period ending on Sept. 30. This marks a 10-year low in filings. Overall, Texas residents and others across the U.S. filed for bankruptcy 790,830 times in September 2017 compared to 805,580 in September 2016. While the number of bankruptcy filings has dropped, those who study the issue say that many people are still in a precarious financial situation.