Senior News from July, 2007
Certification Is Not Enough
A recent New York Times article tells us that many so-called “financial advisers” to the elderly may not be exactly what they seem. According to the piece, there are tens of thousands of financial advisors marketing themselves to older Americans as “certified elder planning specialists,” “registered financial gerontologists,” “certified retirement financial advisers,” and “certified senior advisers.” What most people don’t know is that these titles can be earned in a matter of days, or even hours. Often, the training required is minimal. Now, some senior citizens are claiming that they have been the victims of abusive sales tactics. Legitimate financial advisers are stepping forward to denounce the speedy certifications as scams. It is obvious that many of the “professionals” available do not have the best intentions.
Complaints seem to be focused around the sale of deferred annuities, a kind of insurance product. According to the article, more than one-third of cases of exploitation of the elderly involve annuities. Experts say that most deferred annuities are bad investments for senior citizens because they require long investments of time before they pay out.
Some states are starting to take action. Massachusetts barred most financial advisers in the state from using titles like “certified senior adviser” unless they were recognized by an accreditation organization or the state itself.