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How Big is the Problem of Consumer Debt for Baby Boomers & Senior Citizens?

By The Golden Law Group

Consumer debt is not something reserved solely for people with failing businesses and the young who accrued overwhelming debt due to student loans. No, there is a growing and alarming trend of baby boomers and senior citizens to struggle with debt when they are already at or nearing retirement age. Why is this happening, what can be done to help them get out of debt without losing retirement funds, and what can younger generations do to learn from their mistakes?

Attorney G. Donald Golden of The Golden Law Group in Brandon, Florida recently shared his insight in an edition of his popular podcast, Fresh Start For Life. He began by sharing some tales about his own client experiences. In the last ten years or so, he has personally seen a big influx of senior citizens entering his office and asking for help with debt. This is a problem that pretty much didn’t exist 20 years ago when he first got into bankruptcy law. It begs the question, “What has changed to cause this increase in elderly debt?”

What is Causing Baby Boomer Debt?

Attorney Golden discussed that the likely source of the financial problem is the sheer number of baby boomers, which ranges above 75 million today. Take that high number of population and compare it to the fact that they are requiring medical attention at a rate that is nearly double the rate of other age groups. That is to say, if a Millennial goes to the doctor twice a year, a baby boomer needs to see their doctor four times a year, on average. Medical costs associated with these treatments can skyrocket, especially as insurance policies continue to get less friendly for policyholders. Tie all of that into elders living on fixed incomes and you get a big problem: growing debt.

However, Attorney Golden warned that there is also a societal shift occurring among seniors that is making debt more likely. With the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reporting that baby boomer student loan debt increase 886% between 2003 and 2015, he sees it clearly that baby boomers are getting too comfortable with “living in debt.” Or, in what might be more accurate terms, they are not planning ahead on how to get rid of debt because they think it cannot be done at all.

“The big problem here for seniors isn’t just the amount their medical expenses cost, it’s that, they may have insurance or Medicare, but those things don’t cover everything.” – Attorney G. Donald Golden

Solutions That Baby Boomers Can Use

Of course, no one is out of options when it comes to minimizing or discharging their debt. Even a baby boomer in their 70s has options, if they know where to look. This is a key point that Mr. Golden really wanted to get across in this podcast episode and, indeed, all episodes of his podcast, to an extent.

For a senior in debt, there are a couple things to consider upfront:

  • When bankruptcy can be used to their benefit since it is not the “always-negative” process it is often portrayed as in the media and entertainment.
  • How to protect a retirement fund from losses, both predictable and unpredictable, such as anticipating stock market dips and planning accordingly.
  • Talk to a bankruptcy attorney sooner than later about debt relief because the problem will not go away on its own, and it will likely only get worse the older you get.

“In the past, by the time people reached the age of 65 or normal retirement age, they’d paid off most of their debt.” – Attorney G. Donald Golden

Lastly, he shared a few tips for younger generations who want to avoid senior debt. He drew a bright line underneath thinking about retirement now. No matter your age, you should be thinking about retirement, when you want to reach it, and how you are going to get there. Planning ahead is crucial for a safe, comfortable retirement. But, of course, he also emphasized that you need to get rid of your debt sooner than later, so working with a bankruptcy lawyer or debt relief attorney today is a great start.

“That security later in life to know that your money will last you the rest of your life – I think that sounds pretty good.” – Attorney G. Donald Golden

Compassionate Bankruptcy & Debt Relief Representation in Brandon

Would you like to know more of what Attorney Golden had to say about baby boomer debt? Please feel free to check out the podcast by visiting If you need help getting out of debt, either as a baby boomer, a Gen Xer, a Millennial, or anyone else, call (813) 680-3830 and connect with our law firm today. We offer FREE consultations to inquiring clients!

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“Bankruptcy in Florida”, by G. Donald Golden answers some general bankruptcy concerns, such as: How do I know if I should file for bankruptcy?


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