Sandwich Generation: Your Parents

Investor Self-Defense

As a member of SandGEN, one of your responsibilities may be to protect your elderly family members and their financial future. A primary concern is making sure your elderly family members are free from investment fraud.

The elderly are a favorite target of con artists because of their age and accumulated wealth; therefore, it is important for you to understand and be aware of your elderly family members’ financial situation. Educate them about how to identify and avoid investment fraud.

Share the following tips with your elderly family members:

Do not disclose financial or personal information until you are confident of the legitimacy of the person and the security of your information.

Never meet a salesperson alone in your home.

Do not rush to fill out anything and be sure to understand the terms before signing. Never sign a blank document.

Be wary of anything that requires immediate • attention. Turn down any investment when the salesperson says you must act now. It is far better to verify the company than to make an uninformed decision.

Be wary of any salesperson that promises to “take care of everything for you.” Ask questions and get a second opinion. You may wish to consult an attorney, stockbroker, or financial adviser about the terms of the investment before committing.

Your Parents

When in doubt just say NO! Salespersons can take advantage of the courteous person who is afraid to say they are not interested.

If you are not interested in the investment opportunity that is being presented, end the conversation immediately. This is especially true if the opportunity was unsolicited. The longer you remain engaged in conversation, the more susceptible you are to being convinced to participate.

Check registration: Make sure the salespeople and firms you invest with are properly registered with local regulators.

Report fraud: If you have been approached or have been a victim of fraud, do not let embarrassment stop you from reporting the opportunity. If you have any doubts about an investment, call your local securities regulator immediately. Protect yourself and help protect others.

Starting The Conversation

When caring for an elderly family member, it is important that you talk to them about their finances. Rising health care costs, longer life expectancy and funeral expenses are examples of items to consider. Be mindful and sensitive to your elderly family members’ feelings. They may feel their financial independence is being challenged, or that they do not want to “burden” you with these matters.

Providing protection to family members who wish to remain financially independent begins with knowing and having access to that person’s financial information. It is easier to obtain important financial information in advance, rather than later in a crisis situation.

Members of SandGEN face significant financial issues as a result of caring for an elderly family member. It is important that you become aware, and prepare in advance for the extra expenses that can arise as a result of providing such care.

Checklist

  • Initiate a dialogue about financial matters with your elderly parents.
  • With their permission, have copies of their estate planning documents and make sure all forms are current.
  • Know the location of their assets (insurance documents, retirement plans, and other investments) and ensure you can access them if required.
  • Know your parents’ advisers and find out about their other sources of information (e.g. accountants, doctors, financial planners).

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Adults & Families, Investor Education, Seniors