As an elderly American suffering from debt, you are not alone. Nearly half of seniors are struggling with bills they may or may not be able to pay. The Financial Times reports that one in seven people that are filing for bankruptcy are now over 65 years of age, “an almost fivefold increase over just 25 years.”

This debt can take many forms, such as credit card debt, loans or mortgages. Sometimes debt taken out for the benefit of other family members can become overwhelming after retirement. There are many reasons why today’s seniors are facing such an unprecedented challenge.

Banks and credit cards have also played a large role in this problem by offering seniors large lines of credit that they don’t have the means to pay back.

What seniors can do about their debt

You’re looking for a way out of debt, just like many other Americans who are over 65 or facing retirement soon. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to stop debt from growing or get rid of it entirely.

  • Track your spending: Record what kind of purchases you’re making and identify any areas that may be unessential to decrease or stop spending money in.
  • Create a pay-back plan: It can be beneficial to organize your debts and prioritize the ones that need to be paid off first. Look for credit cards or loans with high interest rates and prioritize working down those balances.
  • File for bankruptcy: If there is no way you can pay back your outstanding debts, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. It could give you the fresh start to live without the fear of debt.

Keep in mind that Social Security payments cannot be garnished for many types of debt, including credit card and medical debt. It may be frustrating to deal with repeated notices and calls for repayment, but there is not much creditors can do. If being contacted still bothers you, it may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

While senior debt continues to be a problem for the country, it’s important to remember there are ways to deal with it. Don’t let debt control your life or your family’s.