Elder Abuse – Financial Style

April 2, 2011

You might be wondering why I’m writing about elder abuse on a financial blog, right? Unfortunately, all types of elder abuse are on the rise in lock step with our aging population -including financial abuse. Regarding abuse of our seniors, in a study done by MetLife in 2009, only 1 in 6 cases of  elder abuse is even reported. And, in dollar terms alone, the estimated losses from reported cases of elder abuse adds up to whopping $2.6 billion per year. So, what  is being reported is just the tip of the iceberg.

From a health care point of view the concerns are multiple. The early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s often go undetected by friends and family members. The number of cases of Alzheimer’s in our population is on the rise. And, these cognitive diseases whether diagnosed or not diagnosed can make our seniors even more vulnerable as targets for emotional, verbal, physical and financial abuse.

Recently actor Mickey Rooney, now 90 years old testified to Congress about the alleged financial abuse that he suffered at the hands of his stepson. Rooney a fixture on the American screen since the 1920’s is quoted as saying “If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.”

When it comes to elder financial abuse, what are some specific things that you should be on the look out for? 

  • Disaster-home repair fraud after a tornado, flood, hurricane etc.
  • Price gouging for goods and services
  • Unscrupulous charities
  • Unusual changes to financial situation
  • Monthly bills going unpaid
  • Changes to wills, trusts or powers of attorney
  • Lottery scams

Frankly, the list is potentially endless. The ‘bad guys’ and their scams are coming after our seniors from all over the world via telephone, U. S. mail, email and the internet. And, sadly, sometimes the ‘bad guys’ come in the form of  trusted care givers and family members.

What can you do?

  • Keep an eye out for your parents, grandparents,elder friends and family members
  • Be aware of changes in their financial, emotional and mental health
  • If cognitive diseases run in your family, plan ahead on how you are going to deal with financial and health care issues that will come up due to dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Be ready to take appropriate action
  • Use the National Elder Care Locator if you need a starting place for available resources www.eldercare.gov 1-800-677-1116
  • In Georgia to learn about available resources contact the Georgia Department of Human Services

About Jane Nowak, CFP® – MoneyGal2020

Jane Nowak  is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with a focus on Women’s Retirement and Financial Planning for Women. Located in Smyrna, GA, Jane’s goal is to educate and empower women to take control of their daily finances so they can fully fund their retirement dreams and needs. Jane has recently had articles quoted and published on-line at the NASDAQ, Womenetics.com, Smart Money Chicks, Fox Business, Credit Cards and Financial Planning Association websites.

Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. Member, FINRA/SIPC


5 Harsh Financial Statistics: Women Need to Plan Ahead

January 12, 2011


Harsh statistics should propel women to plan ahead – Chicago Sun-Times


Ouch! Once again Terry Savage delivers a swift kick to women by reminding us about the harsh financial realities that we face throughout our lives. For those of you who haven’t already heard some of these statistics, they are both worrisome and worth repeating:

  • In 2009, women represented 39 percent of bankruptcy filings
  • Women live  between five and six years longer  than men
  • Women make up 75 percent of the elderly poor today
  • 80 percent of women living in poverty were not poor before their husbands died
  • Median pension benefit for men was $9,600 vs. just $4,800 per year for women (mid 1990’s data)

I know that  it is both daunting and frightening to consider our financial futures in light of these statistics. But, we will not improve our future financial situations by burying our heads in the sand and ignoring facts and probabilities.

So what can you do now?

If single or head of household:

  • Save  -Everyone can figure out how to put a little money aside.
  • Begin saving now/today
  • Begin small and save more as time goes on
  • Only buy what you can afford to pay for ‘in full’ at the end of the month
  • Pay off credit cards in full every month
  • When you swipe, keep a log of your debit card spending
  • Write a monthly budget and stick to it
  • Write a financial plan and review it every 6 months

If married:

  • Save  -You should have an personal savings account.
  • Begin saving now/today
  • Begin small and save more as time goes on
  • Participate and understand your retirement plan
  • Participate and understand your financial plan
  • Make sure spending levels in retirement will support the spouse who lives longer

Like it or not, most women at one time or another, will be likely have the sole responsibility for our financial futures. Take action now by saving and participating in the financial planning.

Jane Nowak is a Financial Planner with Kring Financial Management located in Atlanta, Ga. Jane’s practice focuses on Women’s Retirement Planning and Financial Planning for Women. Her articles have been published on line at NASDAQ, Financial Planning Association and Womenetics.com, SmartMoneyChicks.com.  Follow Jane on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/moneygal2020

Money Isn’t The Culprit In Most Divorces -Or is it?

October 26, 2010

Are Money Problems Still #1?   

I don’t know if it is time to debunk the myth or to embrace it as fact, that couples continue to divorce solely because of money problems. For many years, money was cited as the #1 reason for divorce in America. Recently, money problems are no longer said to be the #1 reason for divorce. However, money issues do still appear in the ‘top 5’ reasons for divorce in America.

No matter where money issues stand as reasons for divorce, there are two things that every couple can do to improve their success when facing their money problems as a unit.

Communicate in Appropriate Doses

Regardless of who you read or talk to I believe that honest communication is the key to heading off and handling money problems in a relationship. Like many women, I am of the notion that communication is key. Often, our men think that we communicate too much. So, if that is the case for you too, plan to have your financial conversations in small doses. Tailor the length of discussions to suit the less communicative spouse. But, do make sure that you have comprehensive talks about finances.

Use Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship – Give Up the ‘Blame Game’

When serious money issues enter the relationship picture, band together to solve your problems together. Yes, that’s right. Refocus yourselves on solving the problems and not engaging in the ‘blame game’.

Playing the ‘blame game’ puts the focus on making your partner wrong and you right. This will only serve to corrode and cause resentment in your relationship. 

Working together to resolve money issues will make you both stronger and more confident in your problem solving capabilities as a couple.

Money is just one of the areas that can definitely cause strife in a relationship. No matter what the financial issue, don’t be afraid to talk and to find common ground. If you can’t work it out, seek professional help.

 If you married with a commitment for the long-term, don’t let money issues drive you apart. Skills learned and earned when solving difficult problems will help to hold you together in the  ‘for better or for worse’ times that you will no doubt face together. 

Jane Nowak is a Financial Planner with Kring Financial Management in Atlanta, Ga. Jane’s practice focuses on Women’s Retirement Planning and Financial Planning for Women. Her articles have been published on-line at NASDAQ, Financial Planning Association , SmartMoneyChicks.com and Womenetics.com. Follow Jane on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/moneygal2020


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