Many people envision their retirement as a time to step away from the demands of their career and refocus their energies on more personally fulfilling goals, such as family, hobbies and travel. For some Arkansas residents, retirement looks nothing like this ideal, and is defined by financial turmoil. In such cases, taking proactive steps to bring about the discharge of debts is the only way to regain a strong financial foundation and find peace in one’s later years.

The reasons behind senior citizen debt vary. In some cases, debt acquired during middle age lingers as one transitions into retirement. For others, an unexpected illness or injury leads to a sudden debt crisis. Often, simply living on a tight budget can make it difficult to save for an emergency fund, and expenses as mundane as a significant car repair or necessary home improvement project will lead to high levels of debt.

According to a recent study conducted by the National Council on Aging, professionals who work with senior citizens report that more than half of their clients are struggling with high levels of debt. Those debts range from medical bills to utility bills and credit card debt. Once debt has risen to an unsustainable level, many senior will begin to cut corners, including going without prescribed medications, skipping meals or limiting their social contact with friends and family. These choices can lead to serious health consequences, as well as decreased enjoyment of their golden years.

Each set of circumstances is unique, but for some Arkansas seniors, personal bankruptcy may offer relief from high levels of debt. The bankruptcy process centers on the discharge of debts, which can give senior citizens a clean slate and a chance to restructure their finances to fit a restricted income. In many cases, this outcome can make it possible to continue retirement in good health and with far less stress.

Source: The Washington Post, “Be attuned to seniors who carry a burden of debt“, Michelle Singletary, Feb. 9, 2016