In a recent poll, a majority of financial experts, medical professionals and social workers agreed that financial abuse and investment fraud aimed at the elderly is a worsening problem in the U.S. The survey was conducted by Investor Protection Trust (IPT), a nonprofit group dedicated to educating consumers on investment decisions.
Among the nearly 800 polled online in early June were state securities regulators, financial planners, medical professionals, caregivers/social workers as well as law enforcement officials and legal experts. Eighty-four percent said that financial swindles targeting seniors is getting worse today.
Further, 99% said that older Americans are either “very vulnerable” (75%) or “somewhat vulnerable” (24%) to investment scams. Most cited a senior’s weakening mental capacity as well as either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease as the factors making the elderly particularly susceptible to an investment fraud.
The report was released in advance of today’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and a White House Symposium on the topic held Thursday.
Cathy Weatherford, president and CEO of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), spoke at the symposium. In prepared remarks, she pointed out that the household wealth of boomers and seniors is rising. Citing a 2011 Pew Social and Demographic Trends Report, she said the average net worth of people 65 and older rose 42% between 1984 and 2099. Boomers, she further noted, control more than $13 trillion in investable assets.
Yet this growing wealth is coming at a time when boomers are seniors are worried about how to live comfortably in retirement.