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Protecting Elders From Financial Abuse

Investors can call for free advice and guidance on how to protect themselves and loved ones against financial abuse and scams on November 10, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. Kiplinger is coordinating with national organizations such as the Financial Planning Association FPA and the National Adult Protective Services Association to answer questions. (On the same day, the AAII Investor Conference, which is not affiliated with this call-in event, opens for registration on November 10 at 10:00 a.m. Western time in Las Vegas. The opening ceremony is at 11:15 a.m. Western time.)

Investors can call one of three numbers.

General finance questions can be directed to 888-227-1776. Experts from the FPA will explain how to check out financial advisers, offer steps for protecting yourself against financial fraud and discuss how to start a conversation about elder investment fraud.

Medical questions can be directed to 888-303-0430. Health care professionals will talk about mild cognitive impairment. They will give information on how to recognize warning signs and suggest referral routes for additional screening.

Financial abuse questions can be directed to 888-303-3297. Adult protective services professionals will provide strategies for staying independent. They will also provide information on the most common ways older adults are financially exploited and give methods for preventing abuse. If you suspect abuse is occurring, these professionals can offer guidance on how to protect yourself or a loved one.

An effective strategy for avoiding abuse is to simply take the time to consider and thoroughly analyze an investment opportunity, rather than rushing to make a decision. Ask as many questions as you feel are necessary to fully understand the characteristics, risks and fees of an investment. A legitimate advisor will answer all of your questions, explain alternatives and give you as much time as is needed to make a decision. Criminals typically will pressure you into a making a quick decision, while avoiding answering tough questions.

If you are speaking to a new advisor or planner, be sure to conduct a thorough background check. “How to Check Out a Financial Advisor” in the April 2011 AAII Journal provides several suggestions and resources for checking out an advisor. Also, type the advisor’s name into a search engine, such as Google, and look for any negative information.

Finally, and most importantly, never make an investment in a product or transfer money to an advisor that you have doubts about.

Source: The Alliance for Investor Education; www.investoreducation.org.


Discussion

Dave Samuels from CA posted 18 days ago:

A few thoughts: most of us should probably focus on investments that are liquid and transparent. This could include no-load mutual funds and exchange traded funds. Private placements, non-publicly traded real estate investment trusts and limited partnerships are often considered illiquid as there is no secondary market, thus making it difficult to get a fair value. Annuities could be placed in the illiquid category due to surrender costs to liquidate before maturity. However, there are some no-load annuities that do not have these penalties.
Finally-know your custodian. A custodian (Fidelity, Schwab, Morgan Stanley, etc.) is used for safe keeping-they hold your investments, do all tax reporting, forward you monthly and quarterly statements and allow you anytime to go online to check on your investments.

Dave Samuels


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