Money problems haunt many lives in America and beyond, but if you're trying to enjoy your retirement while on a fixed or limited income and financial challenges mount, you face a special set of problems and circumstances. While you may be able to find temporary or short-term relief, ultimately, you need the reassurances of a permanent and viable solution. For many, that solution is bankruptcy, and it can help you in a number of ways.
1. Safeguarding Your Long-Term Assets
If you believe filing for bankruptcy may be a good idea for you, take comfort in the fact that your retirement assets should be safe from creditors. Under a Chapter 7 filing, your home should be safe (although filing can't stop foreclosure) under exemption laws, along with your 401(k), IRA (up to a certain amount), pension, and Social Security benefits. While certain incomes must be declared and taken into account during the means test for bankruptcy qualification, most, if not all, of your retirement resources will be protected.
However, other accounts that aren't specifically assigned retirement status are subject to sell-off and distribution during the bankruptcy process. You definitely want to sit down with a lawyer to determine what type of bankruptcy filing is most suitable for your circumstances and how to preserve your assets.
2. Saving You From The High Cost Of Healthcare
Sadly, healthcare is becoming more and more expensive for retirees, and it's also a common reason they look to bankruptcy for help. If your medical bills are mounting, although you may feel obligated to your responsibilities, paying them could easily leave you in a vulnerable financial position. Turning to bankruptcy could prevent considerable hardship for you both now and in the future. Under Chapter 7, medical bills are considered unsecured debt and can be completely discharged.
If you're interested in pursuing payment options with a hospital or other medical provider, rather than jumping into the bankruptcy process now, consider the following ways in which you might be able to settle or reduce the bill(s):
- Ask your insurer if they've covered everything possible.
- Seek to negotiate the bill(s) in settlement form.
- Ask the provider about a possible waiver of fees for procedures and treatments not covered by your insurance.
- Find out about a payment plan, if you're able to accommodate one in your budget, and consider making regular payments based on what you can afford.
- Scour all available resources for help you may be eligible for.
3. Protecting You From Market Volatility
If your retirement capital is based in investments, especially if those investments aren't diversified, market volatility can easily affect your ability to sustain yourself during retirement. For example, if you invested in Tesla when the company first offered stock to the public in 2010 at $17.00 a share, your portfolio might look good on paper, but considering the precarious nature of the company and its current Moody's rating, anything could literally happen to the company, along with your money. Whether you believe Elon Musk can save the underdog company or not, if you put all your eggs in that basket, you're likely nervous about your retirement.
If a company you've invested in doesn't make it and you're faced with a major loss to your retirement account, filing for bankruptcy may be the logical step toward protecting yourself. Debt and other financial obligations will still have to be met, despite your loss; thus, rethinking your position and considering bankruptcy could be a smart move to make. If your retirement investment portfolio isn't solid, you owe it to yourself to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer and put forth a contingency plan.
4. Alleviating The Devastating Stress Of Debt
At any age, debt leads to stress, but for those in retirement and on a fixed income, it can be particularly difficult to mentally process the financial burdens. Also at any age, stress is very unhealthy, and it's the last thing you want during a time when you should be enjoying every minute of your life. When stress is piling up as fast as the bills, you may start to suffer the physical consequences, such as:
- Low immunity
- More chronic pain, including arthritis, headaches, chest and breathing discomfort, and more
- Low energy and loss of interest
- Heart problems, from higher blood pressure to life-threatening cardiovascular disease
Financial hardships lead to many problems in life, but in retirement, you can't keep borrowing from Peter to pay Paul or continue to rack up debt. If bankruptcy can improve your financial situation, it should elevate your quality of living, and what could be more important than that? Talk to an attorney who can help you work your situation out to something livable and get you to a point where you can enjoy your life without the constant shadow of debt lurking behind every corner. Read more here.