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Lois
I'm a bit confused by your situation. Not to challenge you, but more to clarify...

Were you self employed? If not, how were you able to accrue back taxes? Employer withholding is usually more than sufficient to meet tax liabilities...unless you had some highly appreciated securities you sold or cut your employer withholding to zero.

Retirement assets are not part of a bankruptcy estate so should not have been affected by your chpt. 7 filing. And what recent declines? I assume you mean the stock market, which has done well over the past year. There was a sharp decline 5 years ago, but all of that has since grown past its pre-decline levels.

I don't mean to discourage you, but starting with a balance of zero savings at age 48 means you will not be able to save very much for retirement. For example, saving $400/quarter up until age 66 with an average annual investment return of 7%/yr will provide a bit over $54,000, which will have a 'real' (inflation adjusted) value of about $32,000 in today's dollars.

But every little bit of savings will help, so I would encourage you to begin saving. A taxable account is fine...and I'd suggest using a 2030 target date fund, offered by Vanguard or Fidelity. These funds will automatically adjust the mix of stocks and bonds appropriate to the number of years to your first retirement year.

You don't mention what put you into chapter 7....medical issues without health insurance is probably the most common. If so, you will certainly benefit from the ACA health coverage. But I also agree with the foregoing that it is important to build an emergency reserve and retire as much debt as you possibly can.

Best wishes to you

BruceM
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