Report: Single People Face Unique Money and Debt Challenges

Kentucky is increasingly comprised of single-person households, and a new study indicates that they are wrestling with a host of financial challenges that married couples are able to avoid. sadsillouette.jpg

Our Louisville bankruptcy attorneys understand that of those single heads of household surveyed, more than half said they worried about their ability to cover their living expenses and nearly half were concerned about their ability to pay medical expenses.

That’s according to a study entitled, “The New American Family: The Metlife Study of Family Structure and Financial Well-Being.”

For the first time since 1940, when data was first collected, married couples now represent less than half of all U.S. households. What’s more, only 20 percent of all U.S. households are married individuals with children.

More likely, we have individuals who are either entirely single or single parents. The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that there were 31 million single person heads-of-households two years ago. That marks a 15 percent increase from just 10 years earlier and is four times what it was back in 1960.

MetLife researchers surveyed some 2,500 adults between the ages of 45 and 80 in an effort to identify financial concerns for those moving into retirement.

Essentially, it comes down to this: Couples, and married couples in particular, are overall better off financially. They are more prepared to weather financial challenges.

The problem for single people ultimately comes down to this: They only have one income on which to rely.

Single people have the lowest income levels (about $32,000 on average), asset levels (about $110,000) and homeownership rates (slightly more than 40 percent) compared to other types of family structures. Less than 20 percent of single heads of households said they were on the right track with regard to retirement savings. What’s more one in five said they hadn’t even started putting away money for retirement.

Additionally, there are multiple incentives offered to married couples and families, including: tax breaks, health insurance incentives, discount family plans, couples’ discounts, etc.

What all of this ultimately adds up to is a greater financial strain on those who can least afford it. As a result, many singles, particularly in the midst of rough economic times with no one else to fall back on, may resort to using credit cards or taking out risky short-term loans to cover the basics.

The risk here is that even if you are able to slowly pay all this back, it leaves you with less ability to save for retirement, something that is even more critical if you’re doing it all on your own.

This is where a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be incredibly useful. Some people assume that you have to be completely broke in order to file for bankruptcy. You don’t. But if your ability to save and prepare for your golden years is impeded by the fact that you have some large and looming debts that will take you many years to pay down, bankruptcy can be a smart choice to establish a fresh start, protect your 401(k), your pension and your savings, possibly even your home, all while working toward greater financial stability.

If you need to speak to a Kentucky bankruptcy attorney or Louisville foreclosure defense firm, contact the Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center at 866-270-4495 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Why Single People Are So Financially Stressed, Oct. 17, 2012, By Kimberly Palmer, U.S. News & World Report
More Blog Entries:
Same-Sex Joint Bankruptcy Filing in Kentucky Now Legal, Sept. 10, 2012, Louisville Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog

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