Protecting Parents and Seniors

Financial Caregiving for Parents

Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse. Consider these alarming statistics:

1 out of 5 Americans age 65 and older has been the victim of a scam.

Only 1 in 44 cases is reported.

On average, victims lose $120,300.

About 18.5 million family members serve as financial caregivers in the U.S. What is a financial caregiver? Simply put, it’s an individual who takes on the responsibility of managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to make financial decisions on their own. It may involve paying bills, assisting with taxes or making decisions regarding investments. A financial caregiver may be a member of the “sandwich generation”—someone who is caring for their children and their parents simultaneously. The job is especially tough if the caregiver has a demanding professional life or resides far away from their loved one. And according to the National Caregivers Library, the stakes are high. Poor investment decisions can diminish a loved one’s assets, cause disputes among other family members, and lead to estrangement and even civil litigation.1 There are tips and tools financial caregivers can use to ease the burden of managing their loved ones’ assets. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published several guides on managing someone else’s money. They include:

Financial caregivers should consider discussing the use of automated bill-paying, the direct deposit of payments and the enlistment of trusted family members or other advocates to assist in monitoring finances.