Thanks to Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post for an article warning seniors against financial fraud. A recent survey, Singletary reports, finds that seventeen percent of Americans over 65 have been taken advantage of by such practices as being persuaded to make inappropriate investments, being charged excessive fees for financial advice, or outright fraud. When children are asked, 20 percent believe that their parents have been swindled.
That’s all the more reason why we seniors need to surround ourselves with a “protective tribe” when it comes to finances, particularly as we get up near 80. We should consult that tribe before making investment decisions, taking out a reverse mortgage, or accepting the free trip to Bermuda that nice lady on the phone just offered.
Meanwhile, it’s long past time for the US Department of Labor to go ahead and issue its proposed rule requiring that financial advisers act in the best interests of their clients. Lobbyists from the financial industry have been flocking to Washington over the last few weeks to weaken the rule or to prevent it from being promulgated altogether. The Obama Administration should resist. It’s a legacy seniors will be grateful for.