Can Senior Citizens Benefit from Debt Settlement?

AdobeStock_67556467_WMThe financial crisis of 2008 took a toll on a large number of Americans from all walks of life. Even today – nearly seven years after the onset of the financial crisis – some Americans still struggle with the affects of a burdensome debt load and assets whose values are diminished. One demographic in particular is at an increased risk for feeling the effects of the crisis: senior citizens. Just like other groups of people, senior citizens may avail themselves of the benefits of debt relief programs such as debt settlement. As any experienced debt settlement lawyer will tell you, however, there are special considerations that must be taken into account before a senior citizen enrolls in a debt settlement program.

Senior Citizens May Find Better Success Than Others in a Debt Settlement Program

Each creditor approached with an offer to settle a debtor’s debt takes certain facts and circumstances into account. The creditor then decides (1) whether it will settle the debtor’s debt at all, and (2) if so, what amount the creditor will accept. Some of the factors a creditor might consider include:

• Assets available to the debtor;
• Income type, amount, and sources;
• The debtor’s career field and likelihood of a raise or pay increase;
• Total amount of debt owed by the debtor;
• Payment history of the debtor; and
• Other relevant factors.

Senior citizens may find that creditors are more willing to settle debts for less than they might otherwise. This may be due in large part because of the senior citizen’s age, the fact that he or she is likely living off of fixed income (some of which might not be able to be garnished through a lawsuit), and there is little likelihood that the financial situation of the senior citizen will change with time.

Should All Seniors Use Debt Settlement?

Seniors who have a large amount of assets they wish to protect or who continue to receive an income through employment may benefit from debt settlement. Successfully settling your debts can allow you to keep important assets and some or most of your income while allowing you to escape from underneath your crushing debt load.

Debt settlement may not be of benefit to all senior citizens, however. Senior citizens who do not have many assets and are on a fixed income (such as through certain retirement accounts) may find that other debt relief alternatives will cost less and provide better results. Because certain sources of income cannot be garnished through a lawsuit, a creditor may be less likely to expend the resources and time in filing a lawsuit against the senior citizen. In this type of case, it may make more financial sense if the senior citizen did not enter into a debt settlement program.

How Do I Know if I Should Use Debt Settlement?

It can be confusing to know if a debt relief program is right for your situation and whether consolidation, settlement, or counseling is best for you and your family. In this ever-changing field, senior citizens are encouraged to seek out the assistance of a qualified debt settlement attorney or debt relief lawyer. A reputable attorney will take the time to understand the senior citizen’s financial situation, listen to the goals and concerns of the person, and then recommend a course of action best designed to achieve the individual’s goals.