Elder financial abuse is a type of elder abuse in which misappropriation of financial resources or abusive use of financial control, in the context of a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, causes harm to an older person.
The Older Americans Act of 2006 defines elder financial abuse, or financial exploitation, as the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act or process of an individual that uses their knowledge to take advantage of an older individual for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an older individual of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.
The complexity of today’s financial problems cannot be adequately addressed with internet tools or lectures to seniors. There needs to be face-to-face interaction. It’s the learning style adults are most comfortable with.
Cygnet Institute has developed the Financial Wellness Center (FWC) concept to serve not only the financial education needs of seniors but the entire community through each community’s Senior Center. It is achieved by establishing a physical presence in a Senior Center staffed by an advisor on a part-time basis who interacts with seniors and all members of that community to answer questions on financial matters and provide guidance according to the Fiduciary Standard of care.
Cygnet Institute is not a front for sales of financial products and services. The establishment of a FWC can help deflect the persistent salespeople who want to “help educate” but are really looking for clients. By adhering to the Fiduciary Standard, the FWC also accepts the responsibility for finding speakers from that community regarding legal, financial and other relevant topics as well as vetting speakers selected by the Senior Center that they may prefer to verify that they conform to the program criteria to act as fiduciary.
We have experience providing this service to various retiree groups of UAW local unions. Complexity in financial decisions today makes it difficult for most people to figure things out and come up with the right answers.
Although our workshops are designed to teach people the skills for making good financial decisions, most people don’t have the appetite for that classroom approach. They prefer the old way when you can talk to a professional and have the confidence that you can rely on their word. The FWC, by operating under the Fiduciary Standard delivers that peace of mind.