Last year saw stratospheric numbers of bankruptcy filings. Almost 1.1 million people filed for bankruptcy in 2008. That was a 33 percent increase from 2007, when around 800,000 people filed, and even more from the year before, when some 590,000 people sought bankruptcy protection. During the first 10 months of 2008 alone, an average of more than 4,000 people per day filed cases. This spike in filings was in direct response to the current economic downturn, which has landed on the doorstep of millions of hardworking individuals doing their best to make ends meet.
The downturn continues and is working its way deeper and deeper into the economy. Through most of 2008, the fallout could still be largely blamed on the crash of subprime housing market. But now, businesses are folding every day, people are losing their jobs left and right, pension and retirement plans are evaporating into thin air, all while the costs of goods and services increase. This has placed severe downward pressure on the entire economy, and more and more people are in need of bankruptcy protection. Senior citizens are one of the groups at greatest risk right now. In fact, over the last decade, the filing rates for individuals 75 to 84 years of age has increased over 400%. For those between the ages of 65 and 74, the rates doubled during this time. In September 2008, almost 700,000 seniors (about 28% of all homeowners) were delinquent on their first mortgage, in the process of foreclosure, or had already lost their homes.
The current economic conditions have led experts to believe that the filings in 2009 will easily eclipse last year's numbers. In fact, some experts are predicting that 2009 will see upwards of 1.5 million bankruptcy filings, and the same -- if not more -- in 2010. And this does not even account for the possible impact of the Obama administration's proposed legislation that would grant bankruptcy judges unprecedented powers to modify home mortgages. If that becomes law, experts expect another dramatic surge in filings -“ potentially pushing the totals over 1.6 million -“ or even higher -- for the year.
People are turning to bankruptcy in these troubled times for the same reasons they always have: for the opportunity to make a fresh start. In bankruptcy, you can wipe out most, if not all, of your unmanageable debts, or restructure them into an affordable repayment plan. If you're one of the many Americans struggling with debts you simply can't afford, call a bankruptcy attorney today. The sooner you can get your debt situation under control, the sooner you can begin rebuilding your life.