A caregiver steals checks from an elderly client and forges her signature. An older man wires money overseas to his young fiancée so she can travel to the states to visit him. A family member withdraws money from a relative’s brokerage account. These examples of elder financial abuse – a crime – are more common than you may think.
About 20% of adults 65+ will be victims of financial exploitation, says AARP. The average loss is $34,200, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s $36 billion a year.
Our firm’s financial planners are trained to respond quickly if we believe exploitation or fraud has occurred or will be attempted against you. The key: We need you to provide us the name and contact info of your Trusted Contact, someone we can call on your behalf to help protect you and your assets. We might contact your Trusted Contact if, for example, we have been unable to reach you or we suspect you are about to be defrauded.
Be assured: Your Trusted Contact has no authority over your account. They cannot place trades, withdraw money or make any changes to your account. You’re solely allowing us to talk with that person on your behalf. They need not be a financial expert. Rather, you should name someone in whom you have confidence and trust, such as an adult child, long-time friend or other loved one. You can revoke or change your Trusted Contact at any time.
The Edelman Financial Engines Senior Awareness Committee, which includes our firm’s financial planners, lawyers and compliance officers, leads this program. It supports all our planners when they express concerns about a client’s safety or security. Depending on the situation, we might reach out to the Trusted Contact – or even law enforcement. In fact, we have already intervened on behalf of several clients.
If you haven’t completed the Trusted Contact form, please do so now. For a copy of the form, contact your Edelman Financial Engines financial planner.