Sadly, the reality of retirement in the U.S. is changing. Economic woes have impacted the nation on a grand scale. People are working into their older age and having to part with the idea that they once had about their so-called golden years. Because more and more, according to the Better Business Bureau, the golden years are tarnished by the existence of debt.

Credit card debt and other unpaid balances might seem like the problems of the young, but they are the problems of Americans in general. Instead of baby boomers retiring with only golf, relaxation and travel on the to-do list, their to-do list remains a list of debts owed.

The BBB reports that the rate of people who are 55 and older filing for personal bankruptcy has increased in recent years. In 2011, the baby boomers made up about 28 percent of those seeking bankruptcy protection. Among the debts that most commonly threaten the group’s financial stability and more relaxed futures are credit card debt and mortgage debt. Boomers are also likely to want to help family out with their finances, a habit that financial professionals suggest is dangerous for those who can’t afford to be so generous.

Planning ahead is ideally the best way to create financial stability for the future. For those whose planning didn’t start soon enough or whose planning was thrown off because of one of life’s many unexpected struggles, there are debt relief options to look into. Home loan modification and debt consolidation are just a couple of potential means of relief. Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could also be appropriate routes.

A trusted bankruptcy lawyer is a valuable source of information and guidance for people of all ages who are struggling financially.

The Advertiser, “Better Business Bureau: Debt weighs heavy on baby boomers,” Sharane Gott, Sep. 10, 2013