Markets closed up after a week of earnings that saw some winners – like Tesla – and some downward pressure – like Intel. Now, analysts will study two things next week. Annex Wealth Management’s Dave Spano and Danny Clayton discuss.

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Protect Yourself From Financial Elder Fraud

Many of us have taken steps to protect ourselves from the menace of identity theft, whether it’s freezing our credit or adding protections to our computers and email. While identity theft is a serious and growing issue for Americans, financial elder abuse is an even more significant danger.

Over 200,000 cases of financial elder abuse are reported each year in the US. However, that number may be low – experts agree that most financial elder abuse cases are not reported.

Financial elder abuse generally involves an abuse of financial control in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust. While we would like to imagine a slimy con artist entering your loved one’s life, sadly, this type of fraud is usually perpetrated by someone the victim knows.

This week, your MoneyDo is to be proactive and take steps now to protect your finances as you age. The best line of defense against financial elder abuse is surrounding yourself with a strong and trustworthy social support network.

  • To start, consider putting a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney in place. The person you nominate should be someone you trust. Equally important, this individual should be financially savvy and have a strong financial foundation themselves. Without that foundation, personal financial issues may drive an otherwise trustworthy person to take unexpected action. When selecting a Power of Attorney (POA), those who are married may find their spouse to be the natural choice. However, if you’re in a second marriage, children from a prior relationship may be a better choice. Selecting an alternate or backup POA is another important decision. Remember, the person you name will ultimately have control over your finances, so the decision should not be taken lightly. You can also name multiple individuals as your POA so that they can monitor each other’s actions.
  • Additionally, surround yourself with trustworthy individuals. Oftentimes, that’s family. Elderly individuals who have a strong support system in their lives are much harder targets for fraudsters. Have conversations with trusted family members and friends on a regular basis. An open line of communication will give your loved ones comfort to talk to you if they have concerns.
  • Consider a system of checks and balances. As you age, learn to trust your network. Allow your family to monitor your bank accounts. Look for unusual activity. Fraudsters tend to start small to see if they are successful. The more eyes looking out for you and your family, the better.
  • Lastly, we suggest having a family meeting. The key here is to establish expectations, ground rules, and appropriate checks and balances to ensure that everyone follows your plan. A family meeting will also help foster those important family connections.

The steps outlined in this week’s MoneyDo will help improve your defense against financial elder abuse. This is your chance to strengthen ties and lines of communication between you and your loved ones. You will soon discover that you’re doing more than just enhancing your financial security, you’re building a strong family and social network at a time when you’ll need it most.


Annex Wealth Management’s Sarah Kyle and Matt Morzy answer several Ask Annex questions.

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