The Vulnerability of Older Australians in Bankruptcy: Insights from an Empirical Study

33 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2018 Last revised: 28 Mar 2019

See all articles by Lev Bromberg

Lev Bromberg

The University of Melbourne

Ian Ramsay

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: October 1, 2018

Abstract

This article presents the results of the first empirical study focused on older Australians in bankruptcy. Our study — based on the examination of a large and unique dataset obtained by the authors from the bankruptcy regulator — provides a valuable insight into the severe financial challenges faced by many older Australians. Our analysis provides insights into the most significant causes of bankruptcy for older Australians as well as some possible explanations for their financial vulnerability. Our findings include that older Australians comprise an increasing proportion of those in bankruptcy and they are far more likely to cite excessive credit as the cause of their bankruptcy compared to younger and middle-aged bankrupts. We also find that the key salient features of older Australians in bankruptcy are their very high credit card debts, particularly in light of their low incomes and modest levels of assets. While older Australians tend to own real estate (such as their own home) and can be described as being ‘asset rich’, we observe that only a very small proportion of older Australians in bankruptcy own real estate.

Keywords: Bankruptcy, Personal Insolvency, Debt Agreements, Debt, Aging, Older Australians

Suggested Citation

Bromberg, Lev and Ramsay, Ian and Ali, Paul, The Vulnerability of Older Australians in Bankruptcy: Insights from an Empirical Study (October 1, 2018). Adelaide Law Review, Vol 39, No. 4, pp. 393-437, 2018; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 822. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3284947

Lev Bromberg

The University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Ian Ramsay (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 5332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/ian-ramsay

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 1088 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 5285 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
36
Abstract Views
410
PlumX Metrics