As a financial professional, your job is to protect your clients’ best interests. Safeguarding assets, evaluating investment options, and advising on savings goals are part of being a financial professional. But senior clients have a unique set of financial vulnerabilities, many of which require a good deal of tact and sensitivity when addressing. Here are four effective ways to protect senior client finances and provide the best value possible.
Understand FINRA rules aimed at protection against financial exploitation
FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) has several special rules designed to protect seniors and baby boomers as they retire or approach retirement. The first of those rules is Rule 4512. This rule states that advisors and other fiduciaries must make “reasonable efforts” to obtain a trusted contact person to be a resource for the member administering the accounts.
The second rule is Rule 2165 (Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults). This rule allows the trusted advisor to place a hold on a client’s account to prevent fund distribution if there is reasonable suspicion of exploitation. Combining these rules will enable advisors to step in and act when seeing potentially fraudulent activities, taking protecting client best interest to a whole new level.
Stay up to date on common scams
Scams are like fashion – they go through trends. In a way, this is good because it allows the financial world to learn the signs and create safeguards against them. Many online resources track scams and fraud, like the U.S. government’s “Common Scams and Frauds” page, the National Council on Aging’s fraud section, and more. By monitoring these sites, you can inform your clients of scams and what they need to look out for.
Of course, there is nothing as effective in preventing fraud as simple attentiveness to your clients. If anything they mention seems strange or out of place, don’t be afraid to say something about it and urge caution.
Create a plan for long-term care
Even if your client is both mentally and physically fit, you must work with them on a plan to cover the potential costs of long-term care. Long-term care is one of the most significant expenses seniors face, with a private room at a nursing home costing more than $91,000 per year, on average. Not creating a contingency plan if this level of care is needed could put your senior client in a terrible financial position.
Become knowledgeable about alternative options for seniors needing additional funds
For many seniors, retirement no longer means years of golf and gardening. Often, retirement includes some form of employment, whether that means starting a business or embarking on an encore career. Some retirees re-enter the workforce because they want to, but bringing in additional income is necessary for plenty of others.
In cases like these, life settlements can be an important tool. A life settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy to an institutional buyer for a value greater than the cash surrender value but less than the face amount. The additional liquidity gained by selling a policy can significantly reduce the financial burden that your client may be struggling with, whether it’s paying for long-term care or needing to pad a retirement fund. If your client is curious about whether to keep, surrender, or sell their life insurance policy, contact Ashar Group today.