Help With Financial Decisions As We Age

Help with financial decisions as we age

By Deborah M. Royster, Assistant Director, Office for Older Americans, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

August 11, 2021

As we grow older, we face many financial decisions. Where will I live? Who will help me manage my money if I am no longer able to do it myself? How can I protect my money from scammers?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is here to help older adults answer those questions and make financial decisions with confidence. Our Office for Older Americans creates resources to help older adults make sound financial decisions as they age, and educate people about scams and financial exploitation.

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the challenges of caregiving and the importance of preparing for the unexpected. We offer resources to help you plan and navigate future financial decisions. Financial caregivers are people who manage money for a loved one who may need help because of health problems or memory issues. If you don’t have a financial caregiver lined up, it helps to plan ahead in case you need help in the future. Understanding your options will allow you and your loved ones to choose what works best for your situation. You may be called on to be a financial caregiver at some point, as well. We’re pleased to collaborate with the National Center on Elder Abuse to bring our free resources to more people.

  • Considering a financial caregiver? Know your options is a new tool to help you decide whether you or your loved one needs an informal caregiver, who helps manage money on an as-needed basis, or a formal caregiver, established by a legal arrangement. The brief guide also walks you through what to consider when choosing a financial caregiver.
  • Planning for peace of mind: Social Security Advance Designation explains a new tool from the Social Security Administration that allows you to recommend someone you trust to manage your Social Security benefits if you become unable to do so yourself.
  • Planning for diminished capacity and illness helps you understand the potential impact of diminished capacity on your ability to make financial decisions and avoid fraud and other forms of financial abuse. The joint advisory from the Securities and Exchange Commission and CFPB was recently updated. It encourages you to plan for possible diminished financial capacity long before it happens.
  • Managing Someone Else’s Money guides explain the responsibilities of a financial caregiver, as well as how to spot financial exploitation and avoid scams. The guides are tailored to the needs of people in four different fiduciary roles: power of attorney, guardians, trustees, and government fiduciaries.

You can find the Office for Older Americans at consumerfinance.gov/olderamericans or email us at olderamericans@cfpb.gov. Visit consumerfinance.gov for more information about common financial issues, including resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mission at FAST is to increase public awareness of financial exploitation with the goal of mitigating risk of exploitation and protecting our state’s vulnerable populations.