Northington Blog

PlanForComfort: Financial Self-Defense for Seniors

cfp_pride_3d_smAs a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, I continue to be concerned with incidents of consumers and particularly Senior Citizens being misled and defrauded. Too often, the elderly endure this abuse in silence, and much of it goes under reported due to embarrassment and uncertainty to what actually happened. The problem is much bigger than the numbers being reported according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Who are these Older Americans? These are your Moms & Dads, they may be your grandmother’s or grandfather’s. They are the ones who have made significant contributions to our country, raised families and started business.   And they all deserve better than to be victims of financial abuse.

 

 

 

Key Statistics from a 2009 study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute:

  • The annual financial loss is reported to be at least 2.9 Billion dollars
  • Instances of fraud perpetrated by strangers comprised 51%
  • Fraud by family, friends, neighbors came in second at 34%
  • Women were nearly twice as likely to be victims of elder financial abuse then men
  • Nearly 60% of Perpetrators were Males, between the ages of 30-49

 

Despite growing public awareness, the study concluded that Senior Financial Abuse still remains underreported, under-recognized, and under-prosecuted.

Red Flag #1 – Look beyond the letters

Sounds Like: “HE SAID HE WAS CERTIFIED TO HELP PEOPLE JUST LIKE ME.”

Your Self-Defense Move:

  • There are over 170 known designations in our industry. Many of them are little more than marketing tools with no education needed much less an exam. Be assured that a financial professional with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional designation has met high standards that are rigorously enforced. A CFP® professional must pass a comprehensive exam, fulfill an experience requirement with work in financial planning, meet ongoing education requirements, and adhere to CFP Board’s professional standards and code of ethics. To locate a CFP® go to http://www.cfp.net/utility/find-a-cfp-professional

Red Flag #2 -Don’t Confuse Familiarity with Trust

Sounds Like: “HE’S ONE OF US, I’M SURE YOU CAN TRUST HIM”, a pastor sold unregistered securities to members of his congregation.

Your Self-Defense Move:

  • Conduct a background check on any advisor you are considering working with, no matter how personable or highly recommended. Visit FINRA Broker Check here to check out your advisor: http://brokercheck.finra.org/

Red Flag #3 – I Will Take Care of the Paperwork  

Looks Like: “A financial professional forged the signature of an 80 year old on an application for an equity indexed annuity”

Your Self-Defense Move

  • Regardless of the paperwork problem, DO NOT leave blanks on an application. Fill in with Not Applicable and always request a copy of any final paperwork submitted with the word “Final” or “Submitted”.

The 21 Point Check List for Seniors

We believe seniors who are educated reduce their “Risk” of being victims of “Financial Abuse”. The Northington “21 Point Check List” is our way of creating self-defense moves that help protect seniors from predators. Topics include: Survivors Guide, Power of Attorney, discussions around how accounts are Titled, to Beneficiaries.   As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, I have been Certified to work holistically. This means we have the knowledge to combat the bad guys out there. . If you would like to schedule a consult with Stephen Northington, simply send him an email to Stephen.Northington@Lpl.com with a couple of dates and times that work for you.

The 21 Point Check list was written in dedication to those who have been victims of, or hurt by, financial fraud and mismanagement. I encourage you to print it out and bring your documents to a 21 Point Comfort Meeting with Stephen Northington at Northington Investment Group. The place to be to get educated, feel empowered, and create a life where you start working toward Financial Comfort.

 

2015 Northington Investment Group. Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA & SIPC. The LPL Financial registered representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AR, LA, NC, TX,IN & OH