Last week FPA and Kiplinger’s hosted a free advice national call-in for the public to speak with advisors about elder financial abuse, and resources for those who may have been abused.  

Financial abuse doesn’t only happen to those that come across a Bernie Madoff or those that approach seniors from the financial world; it can come from any field. When I started my career, I interviewed with a firm that based on the advertisement seemed like any financial planning firm. In sitting in the lobby, it was clear this firm’s clients had a good feeling. During the interview, it became clear that their process, which involved offering seniors a coupon book in exchange for answering questions on their finances, was less than above board. The firm was later charged with financial fraud against seniors.

According to research done by Harvard’s David Laibson, financial decision making skills decrease after age 53. While far from being a senior, it is important to note that as we reach ages where we have the most saved, we are most vulnerable to financial scams.

If you suspect fraud, below are a few resources to consult:

If you can, have a talk with those you are concerned about, but realize that having a talk about finances isn’t only hard, it’s impossible! Many will resist any help, especially when it comes from children or those who may be embarrassed to share their financial lives.

If you can’t talk to your parent, find a financial advisor who can. Many advisors will work on an hourly basis. If approached from a place of concern, you can have a second opinion on the finances, while allowing your loved one to maintain control. For help finding an advisor, consult the FPA PlannerSearch directory.

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