Marti Deadwyler is a 64-year-old living with her retired husband. Deadwyler and her husband were doing fine right before she was forced to quit her job due to family issues, and then take an early retirement because she was unable to find other work when she was ready to return to the work world. Before Deadwyler’s forced retirement she was able to take care of the family but after experiencing a drastic reduction in income and carrying over $50,000 in debt she was unable to make ends meet.
This summer, even after drastically cutting back purchases and trying to find a way out from under the debt, Deadwyler and her husband declared bankruptcy. She recalls hearing stories as a kid about the Depression and wondering what it would be like to not know whether you would be able to eat each day. “At 63, I started being concerned myself. We were paying so much to the credit cards, we didn’t have food on the table.”
The reality was that without bankruptcy Marti and her husband would not be able to enjoy their retirement or even survive their retirement because they wouldn’t have enough income to cover their expenses and their debts. Bankruptcy allowed them to discharge all of that unsecured credit card debt and save themselves from having to worry about how they were going to survive financially. Many retired debtors don’t make the smart move to bankruptcy when they should because they feel that they must take “responsibility” for their debts. But as we have repeatedly emphasized here, bankruptcy is designed to help debtors get a fresh start when there is no other way for them to pay their debts. Without bankruptcy, many of our retired citizens would lose their homes to foreclosure and live significantly diminished lives in their futile efforts to pay off credit cards and other debts on low/fixed incomes.