Preventing Elder Financial Abuse: Financial Institutions can help

As the baby boomer population quickly becomes the largest senior demographic in American history, it is increasingly difficult for them to keep keeping their hard-earned investments safe. One study says that over $36 billion – with a “b” – is lost each year by preying on seniors.  And there are certainly plenty of scams out there targeting the elderly: roofing scams, Medicare scams, tech support scams, and scams for reverse mortgages. Shockingly, allegedly half of the financial abuse targeting the elderly comes from within a senior’s own family. This type of preying on the elderly is known as “elder financial abuse,” and financial institutions are on the front lines to help make a dent in this growing problem.

Certainly financial institutions already deal with this problem, especially within the branch.  Sometimes a bank or credit union teller needs to expand their role and act as a social worker, family counselor, and banker all in one.  But this is a lot to ask of a front-line teller.  Furthermore, the regulatory landscape in this space is changing, and as awareness of senior scams increases, so will regulatory pressure on financial institutions.

Employees of financial institutions need help.

Furthermore, boomers and their caregivers also need help.  There are literally call centers out there that systematically target seniors on the phone to scam them.  If one person does not fall for the scam, the call center just hangs up and calls the next victim.  It is disgusting, but unfortunately works. They prey on the uninformed. That’s why education and awareness about common scams, and how to handle them, can help shut these call centers down.

Family members of the elderly also need help. They need to know how to navigate very tricky questions about who manages parents’ finances over time.  They need to know what to watch out for. And again: since half of the abuse happens within the family, families need to know what to do in those extremely embarrassing and difficult situations where the problem is not an external scammer, but inside the family itself.

While not the only strategy to help combat elder financial abuse, education and awareness is a big part of the solution. And financial institutions – as a pillar of the local community they serve – can be a trusted source of this education.  FIs need help in order to help.

As the baby boomers age, the problem of financial elder abuse is not going to go away. For banks and credit unions that want to protect their customers, the time to take active steps is now. For more information on how to create a program to prevent financial elder abuse, please request a demo.

Vault Brings Learning Up a Notch

Today we’re featuring a guest post from elementary student Natalie who earned her Vault – Understanding Money certification this spring. Natalie shares how the Vault program started out as just an assignment, but quickly became a valuable learning experience for her future. Congrats to Natalie for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Natalie

Student: Natalie
Teacher: Ms. Caterina
School: Mammoth Heights Elementary School
State: Colorado
Sponsor: Colorado Office of the Attorney General

My name is Natalie and I am 12 years old. EVERFI’s Vault was a life changer for me. I learned so much and had so much fun doing it! It took me a while, but it was worth it. I learned so much within the six lessons, but learned the most out of Responsible Money Choices, Income and Careers , and Planning and Money Management. At first I started out doing it for an assignment and ended up doing it for fun.

The first world within the program was about Responsible Money Choices. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I started a savings account. I would earn the money and go to the bank to deliver it straight into my savings account. I stopped after a while as I yearned to go the mall or movies with my friends. I ended up almost using all my money except for the money in my savings account. When I started the Responsible Money Choices lesson on EVERFI, I started feeling guilty and ended up putting money in my savings account again. I keep a little money in my wallet for things I really need but the rest of my money goes in the savings account. I learned that having a savings account is an important thing and money isn’t meant to be wasted. I should also save my money now so that I can have it for the future. Such as college, or maybe even my career. I hope I never use all my money up again for silly things.

When I was done with the first world I was excited to see what was next. It ended up being the Income and Careers lesson. At first I didn’t know what income was, but as I continued through that activity’s lessons I learned that it is hard earned money through a career. A career is usually a passion that is turned into something that will be happening for the rest of a life. I first started out bored and confused but ended up learning that income is very important and is not just about making money. It is about making money and having fun doing it.

In the third lesson, Planning and Money Management, I learned so much. I have a very big structured brain, which means that I am very organized. Planning is a big part of your future. With my organized brain I am sure that I can take my knowledge to the next level. I can think about my money. I learned that it is the best time when you are around my age to start saving up and stop spending. That is why I started a savings account. It helps my organized brain think. I also learned that it can be so confusing to do taxes and checks. As I got deeper into Vault, I learned that can be quite simple.

EVERFI is such an amazing and really helpful tool. It helped me through some tough times. I hope everyone around the world uses EVERFI’s Vault. It may start out as an assignment, but will for sure turn out as a thing to do for fun. It brings learning up a notch and is very helpful for teachers. EVERFI is a life changer.

Teacher Feature: I am motivated everyday to see my students explore

At EVERFI, we know our best STEM advocates are our educators.

Today we’re featuring Ms. Scarfogliero, a science teacher at PS/IS 109 Glenwood Academy of Science and Technology in New York.

How do you implement EVERFI’s resources in your classroom?

I implement EVERFI’s resources in my classroom through the Future Goals – Hockey Scholar program.  This is my second year using the program in my 8th grade science classes.  Before Hockey Scholar, most of my students were unfamiliar with the game of hockey, and the entire program was a new experience for them.  My students loved it!  They obtain a great deal of STEM knowledge in each module and love competing to win trophies.  

 

Why do you use EVERFI’s resources?

I continue to use EVERFI’s resources to increase student motivation and engagement. Students are exposed to real life experiences and observe first hand the connection between science and sports. My students are always motivated to use the program to learn new content.   I like the ease of use EVERFI’s programs and differentiation the program adds to my classroom.  Hockey Scholar is easily accessible to all types of learners.  

 

How do you think technology will change education over the next 10 years?

I feel technology is the largest area for growth in education today.  Students are always on their phones or computers; we should harness that level of engagement and interaction into academic success.  EVERFI’s partnership has offered both a beneficial technology and additional interactive STEM component to my science classroom.  This partnership has also made a positive impact on my pedagogy. Technology fuels student excitement and successfully differentiates instruction.  Using the program to explore science, technology, engineering and math topics has helped my students to think critically, design, collaborate, problem solve, use the scientific method and learn about the engineering process.  I am motivated everyday to see my students explore new concepts and be passionate about science.  

 

What impact have these programs had on your classroom?

Over the past two years using the program, I have seen improvement in student motivation and understanding of many topics, including physical science topics such as force and motion.  The program has also exposed my students to different fields of science and sports as well as possible future career paths. Thank you for offering such a beneficial teaching tool!

 

Thank YOU, Ms. Scarfogliero!

 Ms. Scarfogliero

Laura Scarfogliero

Science Teacher

PS/IS 109 Glenwood Academy of Science and Technology

Learning Through EVERFI Has Settled Some of My Financial Worries

Today we’re featuring a guest post from student Miranda who shares her experience with EverFi – Financial Literacy and how she believes the program has helped her better prepare for life after high school. Congrats to Miranda for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Miranda
Teacher: Mr. Keller
School: Oliver Wendell Holmes High School
State: Texas
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

There is no such thing as being 100 percent prepared for anything in life. In school we are taught how to write better, solve math problems quicker, and memorize scientific and historical facts longer, but we are never directly taught how to do important fundamentals of life. Often times I have heard stories from my friends who wish they would have known this or didn’t find out until it was too late, and it has made me wonder why aren’t students informed sooner? I believe the reason people are unsuccessful in their finances is not because they failed to prepare themselves for future circumstances, but rather they simply were not given the tools to know for themselves. EVERFI is the tool that can and does help numerous students transition securely into their new financial circumstances. The three topics I believe will help me directly after high school are higher education, credit scores, and investing. By understanding these three topics better, I feel more prepared and assured in myself to increase my financial stability for the future.

Learning about higher education, credit scores, and investing through EVERFI has settled some of my financial worries by exposing me to various paths and helping me to choose the best ones for me. The higher education portion of the module has made me feel better prepared on how to pay for college. Understanding how my FAFSA provides a personalized limit on money I can use toward college, how filing for subsidized loans is a better choice, and how to get more grant and scholarship opportunities has benefited me in organizing a suitable way to pay for college. This section taught me how to handle my payments and debts for college in a way so that once I graduate, I will not feel overwhelmed or stressed like many other graduates often do.

Before using the module I didn’t know the advantages and disadvantages of having a credit card nor how it could effect my credit scores. I will now be encouraged to pay my future credit bills on time so that credit lenders will know I am dependable; furthermore, making me eligible to receive loans in the future. The investment section taught me how it’s better to prepare for situations that are years ahead rather than months away. I’ve learned that bonds are loans to business and are safer choices than stocks where the profit I earn fluctuates along with success of that particular business. I now know undoubtedly by saving more today I can enjoy the benefits tomorrow .

I appreciate this module for teaching myself, alongside many other users, how to not be afraid of our future responsibilities. I believe that the reason so many people stress over their finances is because they don’t know what to expect. This module may not take care of all of the financial burdens people face, but it does help to educate and prepare them for when situations arise.

Financial Elder Abuse

Keeping Baby Boomers Financially Secure

How and why financial institutions can help

As the baby boomer population quickly becomes the largest senior demographic in American history, there is a growing concern about keeping their hard-earned investments safe. According to a recent report, the U.S. senior community loses an astonishing $53 billion annually to both fraudulent and deceptive practices.[1] This type of preying on the elderly is known as “elder financial abuse,” and financial institutions are in the perfect position to help. First, let’s look at the three types of financial elder abuse:

  • Financial Exploitation
    This type of exploitation is legal but highly unethical, and consists of deceiving or convincing seniors to make poor financial decisions or give their money away.
  • Criminal Fraud
    This type of activity is clearly illegal, and includes identity theft and mail fraud.
  • Caregiver Abuse
    This refers to financial theft or deception by someone trusted—whether it be a family member, healthcare worker, or even a financial manager.

How banks and credit unions can help

As institutions that have built long-term relationships with seniors and their children, banks and credit unions are perfectly positioned to help stem the tide of financial elder abuse. But how to do so? Financial education is a big part of the solution. Both elders and their caregivers feel confident that the information they receive from their bank or credit union is both honest and understandable—but getting the information to them can be a challenge.

In the digital age, where some seniors may be housebound but accustomed to surfing the Web, while others might feel more comfortable visiting their local branch, financial education must be a two-pronged approach. The first prong includes providing digital programming that can be accessed by boomers and their children—anywhere, anytime. The second prong focuses on the branch level, and includes training employees and providing relevant print materials. As the baby boomers age, the problem of financial elder abuse is not going to go away.

[1] Study: The True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015 Executive Summary. (January, 2015). Retrieved January 20, 2017, from https://www.truelinkfinancial.com/news/true-link-releases-latest-elder-financial-abuse-findings-losses-discovered-to-be-much-worse-than-originally-thought

Financial Education Program Online

4 Elements of an Effective Financial Education Program

Young Adult at Computer

Recent studies have shown that young people are growing up without adequate financial education, and banks, credit unions, and employers have been stepping in to fill this gap. But as a corporation or financial institution, how can you be sure that the financial education program you choose is an effective one? Fortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has laid out guidelines for what makes an effective financial education program.[1] Here’s what to look for:

  1. Content
    How strong is the content of the program, and what topics does the program cover? Ideally, a financial education program should cover a wide range of topics, including spending, saving, investing, credit, and money management. Also look for programs that speak to different life stages and employ age-appropriate methods and technologies.
  2. Utility
    Is the program easy to use—for both students and administrators? Is it available in other languages? Look for programs that can be accessed by multiple demographics and age groups, and on a range of devices, including computers, phones, and tablets.
  3. Quality
    Explore the quality of the program. How deep is the subject matter? Where are the facts coming from? And is it based on the most recent research in the field?
  4. Efficacy
    Perhaps most importantly, how do you know that the program is effective? A reputable financial education program should be able to demonstrate that students’ knowledge increases after taking the course. Look for programs that not only measure and document student progress, but also can show success after doing so in the past.

There are many financial education programs available in the marketplace, but not all of them are created equal. When you’re evaluating a new program, these four critical elements will ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

[1] Report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Youth Financial Education Curriculum Review. (October 2015). Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201509_cfpb_youth-financialeducation-curriculum-review.pdf