Author Topic: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go  (Read 10026 times)

elysianfields

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Not really an Antimustachian article, but more about the dangers of seniors losing their cognitive abilities and having their money stolen by trusted relatives. 

"Studies show that the ability to perform simple math problems, as well as handling financial matters, are typically one of the first set of skills to decline in diseases of the mind, like Alzheimer’s..."

http://nyti.ms/1z1pbqQ

Of course, judging by some of the stories in the "Overheard at Work" thread, many people lose their financial skills (if they ever had them) loooooong before dementia sets in.

Syonyk

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 03:43:57 AM »
Yup. :(

My wife and I have both seen this in relatives.  Ordering stuff from telemarketers they don't need and often never receive, flushing very questionable amounts of money into "free to play" games or tablet slot machine apps, etc.

Definitely something to watch out for.

MrsPete

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2015, 05:39:11 AM »
Yes, I saw a bit of this in my grandmother, though she didn't have Alzheimers or any other condition with a name.  Rather, she was 100 years old and she was just wearing out.

You know that we all receive junk mail:  Buy into the book-every-month-club, donate to this group, refinance, get this credit card.  Most of us throw those things away, but she came from a generation in which a letter didn't come to you unless it meant something.  She opened them all, read them all, considered their merit.  And a point came when she started to think they were good deals.  Fortunately, she started setting most of them aside and asking me for my opinion.

I remember the book-of-the-month-club being a problem.  She started that, and she decided she wanted to stop it, but she couldn't figure out HOW to do it, and she was ashamed to ask me to do it for her.  When I called the people and told them, "NO MORE", they turned out to be one of those difficult-to-ditch groups.  I even had to get a bit snippy with them; my grandmother wouldn't have been forceful enough to do that. 




nereo

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2015, 05:56:21 AM »
highlights one of the hardest things about family finances; how to help your aging parents with their personal finances.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 06:39:06 AM »
My mom got early onset Alzheimer's, diagnosed when she was 50. She was going down hill for more than a decade before the diagnosis, though. It definitely affected her financial acumen very early on. My dad said that when they were first married (they were both 20), she was always the one who kept up with the checkbooks and paid bills. By her early 30s, she was no longer balancing a checkbook and would occasionally bounce checks. Dad had taken over paying the bills after a few were missed. By the time she turned 40, Dad had to ration money into her checking account to keep her from spending too much. Apparently that was less costly than the bounced checks. And by her mid 40s, she was completely incompetent with money, but still too emotionally aware for my Dad to stop her from spending it. It wasn't until she go too nervous to drive a car that he was able to put a stop to it. I remember my Dad telling me how much better he was off financially now that she wasn't able to leave the house. It's a good thing, too, because her care costs him $7,000/month. She has been in assisted living for 5 years now.

Alzheimer's is scary as fuck. I'm now at the age when my mother first started showing slight symptoms, so I'm frequently asking myself if the math problem that seems more daunting than it should or the grocery item that I should be able to remember is just the first step down that road.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 06:41:54 AM by Mississippi Mudstache »

LiveLean

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2015, 09:00:36 AM »
I wonder if being savvy financially doesn't keep your cognitive skills from slipping.

I look at my 76-year-old dad. Granted, he's a career accountant/CFO type. By since retiring (really FIRE) 20 years ago from the corporate world, he's continued to invest in real estate, stay up to date on the latest tax minutiae, and works on his investments every single day.

About a year ago he was worried that he was slipping mentally a notch. I told him maybe 2 percent. But his 98 percent is still better than anyone his age and superior to most people 20 years younger.

Avidconsumer

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 09:21:28 AM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 09:28:24 AM »
I wonder if being savvy financially doesn't keep your cognitive skills from slipping.

I look at my 76-year-old dad. Granted, he's a career accountant/CFO type. By since retiring (really FIRE) 20 years ago from the corporate world, he's continued to invest in real estate, stay up to date on the latest tax minutiae, and works on his investments every single day.

About a year ago he was worried that he was slipping mentally a notch. I told him maybe 2 percent. But his 98 percent is still better than anyone his age and superior to most people 20 years younger.

I don't think there's any doubt that exercising your mind helps keep it in shape, just like your body, but it's not going to stave off Alzheimer's indefinitely. I just wish I knew what triggered my mother's dementia - Genetics? Environment? Did the diet pills she used to take affect her brain? Did the smoke-filled home she grew up in trigger something? Something in her diet? There's no doubt that I experienced a healthier childhood than she did, and also no doubt that I keep myself in better shape now than she did when she was my age. But I can't do a damn thing about genetics.

nereo

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2015, 11:38:14 AM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.
I'll respectfully say that I do not believe you understand cognitive impairment and dementia.  It isn't that people suffering from these affliction suddenly become gullible an naive.  They literally loose the ability to make complex decisions.  It may become first recognizable with solving math problems (e.g. count every 7th number backwards from 100) but it also becomes very apparent later with risk assessment.  We're told to be cautious if something sounds "too good to be true".  Well a person suffering from dementia may not be able to determine if something is "too good to be true."  Their brains cannot go through the mental checklist we automatically do when we see a potential scam (do I know this person?  Would this person really need my personal information?  Are monthly payments of $19 for 6 years really a bargain for a $100 item? etc.)

Hunny156

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2015, 12:53:50 PM »
Agreed.  My Mom wasn't mustachian, but very frugal and good with money.  She also had a certain amount of distrust of all family, having seen many people around her being taken advantage of financially.

Sadly, my parents didn't properly plan for their future, and when my Dad passed, we realized that Mom had been battling dementia for a while and Dad was likely covering for her.  Dad had always warned her not to sign anything, which in hindsight, may have been really good advice for an immigrant who never assimilated to this country, so long as she retained her mental faculties.

A family member hired a shady lawyer, who made a house call along w/a notary, a witness, and a couple of very cute kids.  Mom was distracted by the cute kids and attention, wasn't mentally capable of understanding anything, and signed all of her liquid accounts over to that family member, in the form of a revocable trust.  Trust was revoked a few years later, and a lifetime of savings and wealth was legally wiped away in minutes.

nereo

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2015, 01:26:19 PM »
Sadly, my parents didn't properly plan for their future, and when my Dad passed, we realized that Mom had been battling dementia for a while and Dad was likely covering for her.  Dad had always warned her not to sign anything, which in hindsight, may have been really good advice for an immigrant who never assimilated to this country, so long as she retained her mental faculties.....  Trust was revoked a few years later, and a lifetime of savings and wealth was legally wiped away in minutes.
that's awful.  I like to think that there's a special circle in hell for peolpe that prey upon the elderly and weak.  Or maybe they are reincarnated as slime-molds.  One can hope...
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 02:33:38 PM by nereo »

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 01:42:14 PM »
My grandfather, an eighty-six(?)-year-old multi-millionaire, gave my mother* power of attorney years ago as a precaution. I'm not sure what other safeguards are in place, but he wants to make sure that his money there to fund college educations for his progeny indefinitely.

*Who had earned his trust, of course.

Avidconsumer

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 01:44:33 PM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.
I'll respectfully say that I do not believe you understand cognitive impairment and dementia.  It isn't that people suffering from these affliction suddenly become gullible an naive.  They literally loose the ability to make complex decisions.  It may become first recognizable with solving math problems (e.g. count every 7th number backwards from 100) but it also becomes very apparent later with risk assessment.  We're told to be cautious if something sounds "too good to be true".  Well a person suffering from dementia may not be able to determine if something is "too good to be true."  Their brains cannot go through the mental checklist we automatically do when we see a potential scam (do I know this person?  Would this person really need my personal information?  Are monthly payments of $19 for 6 years really a bargain for a $100 item? etc.)

You're right. I don't understand. Sounds horrible if that's how it is. Need to find someone trustworthy or give it away before I lose my marbles...

Elderwood17

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2015, 02:24:34 PM »
My mom (86 and slipping) told me yesterday they bought $80 worth of vitamins.  They do not have extra money, period.  But, she explained, these are "really good ones that help much more than regular vitamins!"   I asked her who told her that and she replied the person she bought them from (of course).   Palm slap.   So I explained once again the value of a balanced diet ......

Sibley

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2015, 02:41:33 PM »
People with dementia frequently have problems with math and money, it's well known in the dementia community. Unfortunately, it often starts well before anyone suspects dementia, and can cause huge problems, and when it is suspected the families don't know that about the money problems.

My dad's early stages of something - it's a (minor) problem for now, but mom has always handled the money.

Sibley

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2015, 02:49:54 PM »
I really think that the practice of having multi-generational living arrangements is a good idea. It helps with a lot of the problems of aging - physical, mental, cogitative, whatever. If grandpa and grandma aren't the ones who need to remember to pay the bills, it really doesn't matter if they can't. Since we as a culture have moved away from that model, we're forced to deal with the consequences.

MayDay

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2015, 03:09:33 PM »
I have an ~ 75 year old friend who I've noticed is slipping mentally. She was never good with money, but it got so bad that her kids started paying all her bills and giving her labeled envelopes for everything else. Since they were partially supporting her, they had the position of strength to insist she turn everything over to them.

I worry about my FIL who is single and already very unwilling to share with us. If he starts having problems we won't know until it is way too late.

mtn

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2015, 03:13:50 PM »
I really think that the practice of having multi-generational living arrangements is a good idea. It helps with a lot of the problems of aging - physical, mental, cogitative, whatever. If grandpa and grandma aren't the ones who need to remember to pay the bills, it really doesn't matter if they can't. Since we as a culture have moved away from that model, we're forced to deal with the consequences.

You never met my MIL.

Out of the 4 parents, MAYBE her father, and MAYBE my mother could work living with us. Otherwise, either we'd both go insane (if her mom moved in) or she'd go insane (if my dad moved in).

TrMama

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2015, 03:17:36 PM »
I've also seen this go the other way too. My 88yo grandmother has plenty of money and investments, but is unwilling to pay for the help she now needs. She's made some really off decisions lately because the alternative was "too expensive", even when the alternative was actually much cheaper. Luckily my parents have stepped in, so there really hasn't been any financial damage.

nereo

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2015, 03:53:49 PM »
I've also seen this go the other way too. My 88yo grandmother has plenty of money and investments, but is unwilling to pay for the help she now needs. She's made some really off decisions lately because the alternative was "too expensive", even when the alternative was actually much cheaper. Luckily my parents have stepped in, so there really hasn't been any financial damage.
Yeah.  My late grandmother grew up in the great depression and for most of her life her husband of 50+ years took care of all the major purchases.  When he passed away she was determined to live off of SS alone (And largely succeeded) and would constantly complain that she couldn't "afford" a grapefruit when they were not on sale.  When she passed away she had almost $700k in investments.  (facepalm).  As a grandchild I had no real knowledge of what her financial situation was, but I really wish she could have lived out her last decade without constant financial fear.

h2ogal

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2015, 05:03:59 PM »
I worry about this a lot.  DH was diagnosed with Parkinsons a little over a year ago. Between medications and the disease process itself, cognitive changes are possible.  He doesn't plan to retire any time soon.  He owns small businesses and plans to run them for at least 10 more years.  Eventually, we hope that one of the kids will take over, and our youngest is working in the business already, but he is still very young.

With a passive investment portfolio you can of course make bad decisions, or neglect to optimize your taxes, etc.   But when you own businesses, have employees, and manage all the finances the potential downside is huge and very scary.

We've recently done a few things to offset the risks.   We met with a lawyer and put all the power of attny and other legal paperwork on file to allow us to carry on business and banking for each other in case of any situations.   We've inventoried and documented everything we have, from the equipment to the real estate and all accounts and balances and plan to keep it up to date so we can both keep an eye on things.

I think the most important thing is as you get older to have at least 2 people keeping an eye on the accounts and watching out for each other.   


 


MrsPete

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2015, 09:07:15 PM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.
I'll respectfully say that I do not believe you understand cognitive impairment and dementia.  It isn't that people suffering from these affliction suddenly become gullible an naive.  They literally loose the ability to make complex decisions.  It may become first recognizable with solving math problems (e.g. count every 7th number backwards from 100) but it also becomes very apparent later with risk assessment.  We're told to be cautious if something sounds "too good to be true".  Well a person suffering from dementia may not be able to determine if something is "too good to be true."  Their brains cannot go through the mental checklist we automatically do when we see a potential scam (do I know this person?  Would this person really need my personal information?  Are monthly payments of $19 for 6 years really a bargain for a $100 item? etc.)
Yes, this is the type of thinking that accompanies dementia.  It doesn't necessarily make sense to those of us who aren't affected.  It's easy for those of us who have youthful, healthy brains to say, "How could that happen?"  However, the truth is that it's a disease, and IF it strikes you, you could no more stand against it than you could "defeat" cancer or something similar through sheer will power. 

Also, this happens at different ages; thus, you can't say, "Well, Mom's 70 now.  I'd better take over her finances."  My grandmother didn't start this 'til she was maybe 96 or 97 -- yet other people do it younger.  And some NEVER do it.  Also, in the early stages, people tend to recongize (after the fact) that they've screwed up, and they hide it from their family members.  After all, who wants to admit that he's going downhill?  And if family members do notice, it's easy to dismiss as a one-time mistake.  Which of us doesn't occasionally make a boneheaded financial choice?  I really realized that my grandmother was having problems when HANDWRITING became a problem for her; when she started asking me to physically write her bills, I started to notice problems that had nothing to do with penmanship.  It's very possible for an elderly family member to "be in pretty deep" before the family recognizes what's going on.

kite

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2015, 05:31:09 AM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.
Not sure which generation you're thinking of, but my prediction is that successive generations will fare worse.  We've eaten far more sugar over a lifetime, have more obesity and wore ear buds for hours each day.   And, we had fewer children or none at all.  It's as if we've done every thing known to make our own layer years as difficult as possible. 

nereo

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2015, 05:53:40 AM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.
Not sure which generation you're thinking of, but my prediction is that successive generations will fare worse.  We've eaten far more sugar over a lifetime, have more obesity and wore ear buds for hours each day.   And, we had fewer children or none at all.  It's as if we've done every thing known to make our own layer years as difficult as possible.
I question the link between sugar consumption or obesity and an increase in dementia.  Some studies have shown that someone who is obese will have  lower risk of dementia than someone who is underweight.  Earbuds.... [citation needed]?
Having no children certainly eliminates one possible source of care in our later years, but as we've seen not all families care for their older generation very well.  Also, at least in the US the so-called population crash no longer seems as extreme as it once did, as many more couples are having children later in life than originally predicted. 
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db21.pdf

Candace

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2015, 07:46:05 AM »
A family member hired a shady lawyer, who made a house call along w/a notary, a witness, and a couple of very cute kids.  Mom was distracted by the cute kids and attention, wasn't mentally capable of understanding anything, and signed all of her liquid accounts over to that family member, in the form of a revocable trust.  Trust was revoked a few years later, and a lifetime of savings and wealth was legally wiped away in minutes.

I am so sorry this happened to your family. That is horrible.

Sibley

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2015, 09:58:29 AM »
I really think that the practice of having multi-generational living arrangements is a good idea. It helps with a lot of the problems of aging - physical, mental, cogitative, whatever. If grandpa and grandma aren't the ones who need to remember to pay the bills, it really doesn't matter if they can't. Since we as a culture have moved away from that model, we're forced to deal with the consequences.

You never met my MIL.

Out of the 4 parents, MAYBE her father, and MAYBE my mother could work living with us. Otherwise, either we'd both go insane (if her mom moved in) or she'd go insane (if my dad moved in).

My dad's parents were not allowed to move in with us, ever. Came up in their pre-marriage counseling. I understand.

Hunny156

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2015, 10:43:31 AM »
A family member hired a shady lawyer, who made a house call along w/a notary, a witness, and a couple of very cute kids.  Mom was distracted by the cute kids and attention, wasn't mentally capable of understanding anything, and signed all of her liquid accounts over to that family member, in the form of a revocable trust.  Trust was revoked a few years later, and a lifetime of savings and wealth was legally wiped away in minutes.

I am so sorry this happened to your family. That is horrible.

Thank you Candace.  I often repeat this story because it is a cautionary tale.  My parents weren't lacking the financial means to protect themselves and their assets, they just never got around to it or didn't want to deal with their own mortality.  Dad went from diagnosis to death in 12 weeks, and mom is languishing in assisted living, 14 years into this battle (that we know of), and she's still pretty young at 75, so this could continue for quite a while longer.

I hope more people will realize the importance of getting their assets and wishes in order.  Especially these days, where you can set something up yourself pretty inexpensively.  It may not be as effective as hiring a lawyer to customize a plan, but its better than nothing!

Oh, and one more thing - keeping that communication open is super important too.  My parents weren't the type of people to disclose a lot of information, and it has just caused a lot more stress in the end.  During Dad's final days, he showed me a letter, which was sort of like a class action settlement for an old insurance policy he had during the S&L scandal.  The letter said that they were granting him a short term replacement policy, w/a cash value of $10K.  If he died prior to the policy expiring, his heirs would get the money.  Well, he did die before that date, and the letter was never found.  My parents also had basic wills, and after my dad's passing, my mom's will disappeared.  They were old documents, and the law firm used had not kept copies on file.

So, one of two things happened here.  My Mom may have cherry picked these documents and tossed them, or that family member is even more conniving than I thought, and was working the situation almost immediately after my dad passed away.

Sibley

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2015, 10:52:42 AM »
A family member hired a shady lawyer, who made a house call along w/a notary, a witness, and a couple of very cute kids.  Mom was distracted by the cute kids and attention, wasn't mentally capable of understanding anything, and signed all of her liquid accounts over to that family member, in the form of a revocable trust.  Trust was revoked a few years later, and a lifetime of savings and wealth was legally wiped away in minutes.

I am so sorry this happened to your family. That is horrible.

Thank you Candace.  I often repeat this story because it is a cautionary tale.  My parents weren't lacking the financial means to protect themselves and their assets, they just never got around to it or didn't want to deal with their own mortality.  Dad went from diagnosis to death in 12 weeks, and mom is languishing in assisted living, 14 years into this battle (that we know of), and she's still pretty young at 75, so this could continue for quite a while longer.

I hope more people will realize the importance of getting their assets and wishes in order.  Especially these days, where you can set something up yourself pretty inexpensively.  It may not be as effective as hiring a lawyer to customize a plan, but its better than nothing!

Oh, and one more thing - keeping that communication open is super important too.  My parents weren't the type of people to disclose a lot of information, and it has just caused a lot more stress in the end.  During Dad's final days, he showed me a letter, which was sort of like a class action settlement for an old insurance policy he had during the S&L scandal.  The letter said that they were granting him a short term replacement policy, w/a cash value of $10K.  If he died prior to the policy expiring, his heirs would get the money.  Well, he did die before that date, and the letter was never found.  My parents also had basic wills, and after my dad's passing, my mom's will disappeared.  They were old documents, and the law firm used had not kept copies on file.

So, one of two things happened here.  My Mom may have cherry picked these documents and tossed them, or that family member is even more conniving than I thought, and was working the situation almost immediately after my dad passed away.

Is there anything that can be done to get that family member out of the picture, maybe get at least some of the money back? Maybe talk with an elder abuse resource, elder care attorney, etc. I consider that sort of thing a crime, maybe it really is.

kite

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2015, 11:00:19 AM »
I don't believe this. Forgetting to pay bills and balance a checkbook. Yes, but not suddenly buying into scams. Our generation will be different. There's so much junk mail and crooks these days, that we will constantly be looking out for it. I'm not going to be suddenly buying crap off the shopping network. Spending while bored might be more of an issue.
Not sure which generation you're thinking of, but my prediction is that successive generations will fare worse.  We've eaten far more sugar over a lifetime, have more obesity and wore ear buds for hours each day.   And, we had fewer children or none at all.  It's as if we've done every thing known to make our own layer years as difficult as possible.
I question the link between sugar consumption or obesity and an increase in dementia.  Some studies have shown that someone who is obese will have  lower risk of dementia than someone who is underweight.  Earbuds.... [citation needed]?
Having no children certainly eliminates one possible source of care in our later years, but as we've seen not all families care for their older generation very well.  Also, at least in the US the so-called population crash no longer seems as extreme as it once did, as many more couples are having children later in life than originally predicted. 
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db21.pdf

Sugar+obesity absolutely rob you of your eyesight, and often your feet.  Ear buds wearing is accelerating hearing loss.  This makes independence in late life harder or impossible.  Most dementia isn't Alzheimers, but result of cardiovascular disease, which despite lower levels of smoking, we still have plenty of, owing to how fat and sedentary we are as a society.  So, without someone with a vested interest in your care late in life, you're screwed.
My point is that generations that are young or middle-aged right now are probably more, not less, vulnerable than our current old folks.

Hunny156

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2015, 11:20:10 AM »
A family member hired a shady lawyer, who made a house call along w/a notary, a witness, and a couple of very cute kids.  Mom was distracted by the cute kids and attention, wasn't mentally capable of understanding anything, and signed all of her liquid accounts over to that family member, in the form of a revocable trust.  Trust was revoked a few years later, and a lifetime of savings and wealth was legally wiped away in minutes.

I am so sorry this happened to your family. That is horrible.

Thank you Candace.  I often repeat this story because it is a cautionary tale.  My parents weren't lacking the financial means to protect themselves and their assets, they just never got around to it or didn't want to deal with their own mortality.  Dad went from diagnosis to death in 12 weeks, and mom is languishing in assisted living, 14 years into this battle (that we know of), and she's still pretty young at 75, so this could continue for quite a while longer.

I hope more people will realize the importance of getting their assets and wishes in order.  Especially these days, where you can set something up yourself pretty inexpensively.  It may not be as effective as hiring a lawyer to customize a plan, but its better than nothing!

Oh, and one more thing - keeping that communication open is super important too.  My parents weren't the type of people to disclose a lot of information, and it has just caused a lot more stress in the end.  During Dad's final days, he showed me a letter, which was sort of like a class action settlement for an old insurance policy he had during the S&L scandal.  The letter said that they were granting him a short term replacement policy, w/a cash value of $10K.  If he died prior to the policy expiring, his heirs would get the money.  Well, he did die before that date, and the letter was never found.  My parents also had basic wills, and after my dad's passing, my mom's will disappeared.  They were old documents, and the law firm used had not kept copies on file.

So, one of two things happened here.  My Mom may have cherry picked these documents and tossed them, or that family member is even more conniving than I thought, and was working the situation almost immediately after my dad passed away.

Is there anything that can be done to get that family member out of the picture, maybe get at least some of the money back? Maybe talk with an elder abuse resource, elder care attorney, etc. I consider that sort of thing a crime, maybe it really is.

There are several factors that complicate things.  I relocated to a state w/a lower COL, and when this excuse of a human being did get flagged for elder abuse, hubby & I stepped in and moved my Mom out here.  When we began to see the cash disappear, I did consult an elder care attorney.  His suggestion was to work things out w/the family member.  Legally speaking, we'd have to file any cases related to this matter in federal court, since two states are involved.  Mom never assimilated to this country, so a lot of the typical dementia testing was unavailable to her since a translator could skew the results.  Trying to prove she did not have mental capacity when she signed those papers would be next to impossible.  The shady lawyer also made sure that POA, medical directive, the whole nine yards was taken care of, so this was well thought out and well played, and my hands are effectively tied, unless I decide I want to spend a lot of my personal cash and re-hash the mental anguish all over again, knowing full well that the odds are not in my favor.

I did follow the elder care attorney's advice, somewhat.  My only concern these days is that my mother is well cared for.  My parent's house is the only asset left, and my mom has survivorship rights to it.  The family member & I will inherit the asset 50/50 upon her passing, and that person currently resides in a portion of it.  So, I made a very clear threat that if my Mom's care was not covered from the income produced from said asset, I will personally cover the cost of shipping Mom back to the house, since she has every right to live there.  Of course, this family member wants nothing to do with that, so every month I hold my breath and hope that this fragile truce holds.  It has, for about 2 years now.

When I did start to see cash disappearing, I made a quick call to my Dad's funeral director, and was able to get a check out to him for my Mom's services.  It was thankfully cashed before the family member noticed, and the anger over that one manifested itself by harassing the funeral director for a refund!  Just an ugly person overall.  I'm looking the other way for now, because my Mom is the bigger picture, and I will be the bigger person.  I'll let the lawyers handle the rest when the time comes to settle what is left of the estate.  I've spent too many years and too much heartache over this debacle, and I do blame my parents for it.  They knew this person was evil, and they did nothing to prevent this from happening.  None of us may have realized just how evil, but in the end, we all knew it wasn't going to be good.

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2015, 11:23:13 AM »
Sugar+obesity absolutely rob you of your eyesight, and often your feet.  Ear buds wearing is accelerating hearing loss.  This makes independence in late life harder or impossible.  Most dementia isn't Alzheimers, but result of cardiovascular disease, which despite lower levels of smoking, we still have plenty of, owing to how fat and sedentary we are as a society.  So, without someone with a vested interest in your care late in life, you're screwed.
My point is that generations that are young or middle-aged right now are probably more, not less, vulnerable than our current old folks.
ooookaayyy.... your point about people who are currently young or middle-aged being in poor health is well taken. It is certainly possible that we will be more vulnerable than the current generation of senior citizens.
I just wanted to make sure you weren't confusing dementia (a neurocognitive disorder) with things like hearing-loss.  Hearing loss is bad.  Alzheimer's is bad.  But they aren't related.  The topic is about a loss of cognitive ability, not other physical ailments.  That's what I'm getting at.

arebelspy

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2015, 01:40:28 PM »
Indeed.

I believe both Nords and clifp have commented on this fact, either regarding an older relative or setting things up for themselves so they don't have to rely on future, potentially unreliable, versions of themselves to handle complex financial matters.
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kite

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2015, 01:58:32 PM »
Sugar+obesity absolutely rob you of your eyesight, and often your feet.  Ear buds wearing is accelerating hearing loss.  This makes independence in late life harder or impossible.  Most dementia isn't Alzheimers, but result of cardiovascular disease, which despite lower levels of smoking, we still have plenty of, owing to how fat and sedentary we are as a society.  So, without someone with a vested interest in your care late in life, you're screwed.
My point is that generations that are young or middle-aged right now are probably more, not less, vulnerable than our current old folks.
ooookaayyy.... your point about people who are currently young or middle-aged being in poor health is well taken. It is certainly possible that we will be more vulnerable than the current generation of senior citizens.
I just wanted to make sure you weren't confusing dementia (a neurocognitive disorder) with things like hearing-loss.  Hearing loss is bad.  Alzheimer's is bad.  But they aren't related.  The topic is about a loss of cognitive ability, not other physical ailments.  That's what I'm getting at.

I was responding specifically to the "our generation will be different" comment.  Unless I'm mistaken, there's no vaccine against getting older.   Ron White has a joke about how some states are doing away with the death penalty, while Texas put in an express lane.  Modern lifestyle choices have put us in express lane towards the ravages of age and all that it entails. 

KBecks2

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2015, 03:01:10 PM »
Yes, our cognitive ability will start to go as we age…  I have read something about a number after which your decisions may be less than ideal.

How do we plan for that?  It will be important to have wills and end of life / estate planning set up before reaching that age.  It will also be important to have an investing plan that is well tuned by that time, and a good general plan for what retirement and elder care will look like.  I should have a deadline to get all the big decisions done -- maybe 60?   Many people older than that struggle with big, complex decisions regarding retirement and their health insurance / health care plans.

There are brain exercises that can help prevent loss of mental capacity -- keep your brains active and working for as long as you can!

Fun stuff, huh?


KBecks2

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2015, 03:01:53 PM »
Indeed.

I believe both Nords and clifp have commented on this fact, either regarding an older relative or setting things up for themselves so they don't have to rely on future, potentially unreliable, versions of themselves to handle complex financial matters.

Links?  I looked earlier in this message and found no activity by either user.

arebelspy

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2015, 03:03:55 PM »
Indeed.

I believe both Nords and clifp have commented on this fact, either regarding an older relative or setting things up for themselves so they don't have to rely on future, potentially unreliable, versions of themselves to handle complex financial matters.

Links?  I looked earlier in this message and found no activity by either user.

In the past, obviously not in this thread, or there'd be no need for me to say it.  :)
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hodedofome

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2015, 09:45:09 PM »
Yep, this happened to Phil Fischer, one of the smartest investing minds of all time and hugely influential to Warren Buffett. His dementia caused him to hold fewer and fewer stocks, until his entire portfolio was just 1 or 2 stocks. He ended up losing a lot of the money he made over his lifetime, he would have been much wealthier if he was in index funds his last 20 years or so.

Nords

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2015, 12:14:05 PM »
Yes, our cognitive ability will start to go as we age…  I have read something about a number after which your decisions may be less than ideal.

How do we plan for that?  It will be important to have wills and end of life / estate planning set up before reaching that age.  It will also be important to have an investing plan that is well tuned by that time, and a good general plan for what retirement and elder care will look like.  I should have a deadline to get all the big decisions done -- maybe 60?   Many people older than that struggle with big, complex decisions regarding retirement and their health insurance / health care plans.

There are brain exercises that can help prevent loss of mental capacity -- keep your brains active and working for as long as you can!

Fun stuff, huh?

Indeed.

I believe both Nords and clifp have commented on this fact, either regarding an older relative or setting things up for themselves so they don't have to rely on future, potentially unreliable, versions of themselves to handle complex financial matters.

Links?  I looked earlier in this message and found no activity by either user.
My father & grandfather have a 30-year history of screwing over the next generation with dementia-related neglect.  Four years of unopened mail (including stock dividend checks) piled in a bedroom... not paying any bills or filing any tax returns for four years... a briefcase in the trunk of a car, filled with bearer bonds and jewelry and other contents of a safety-deposit box... filing statements and hard-drive printouts in a cabinet for over 30 years of useless records... not sharing financial info until they no longer have the memory to do so... scrambling to get to the ICU after life-saving trauma surgery, hustling to find a full-care facility after the hospital recovery, and then spending nine more months (and thousands of dollars in legal fees) to achieve conservator & guardian appointments.

Today my father's care (and his finances) are down to a routine, but at least monthly there's a physical or medical or bureaucratic crisis that takes a day or two of phone calls and paperwork to resolve.
Here's a few posts with more details:
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/05/29/the-pitfalls-of-your-parents-finances/ (Read this first, and then read the related links at the bottom of the post)
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/09/24/geriatric-financial-management-update-2/
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/12/18/wont-buy-long-term-care-insurance/

I've decided that I'm not screwing over the next generation, and this time I really mean it. 

First there's the account data and passwords.  My spouse is familiar with all of it and knows where to find whatever she needs.  I update it every few months and we review it a couple times a year.  If both of us die during the same epic surfing session then our daughter knows where to find the emergency file.  It'd take her a week or two to have the military leave and transportation to get her hands on it, but everything will perk along fine without any attention for a few months. 

I also have a separate file with all of my blogger & social media passwords. 

All of our monthly bills (including credit cards) are in autopay.  (I write two checks per year for property taxes, but the state should update that in the next few years-- or we'll pay the online fees.)  By the time I turn 60 (in 2020) we'll have simplified and streamlined our accounts.  This includes transferring our TSPs over to our IRAs and converting those to Roths-- no RMDs required.  Nothing needs to be done to our taxable accounts--ever.  I have a few pesky angel investments that may cash out before 2020 (or go out of business) but I'm not starting any new financial projects.

When my spouse turns 60 (in 2021) and starts her Reserve pension, I'm turning all the financial management over to her.  (As she's pointed out, there won't be much left to actually do except review the monthly statements for identity theft.)  All the financial accounts will have her e-mail address, not mine.  She'll get to open the postal mail.  She'll get to decide whether to spend the income or buy another CD. 

We'll keep managing our rental property by ourselves and we'll keep doing our own tax returns, but we'll pick "succession" management firms and CPAs to step in if necessary.  Our wills and medical directives and the other paperwork are fine, but in 2021 we'll also establish a revocable living trust with our daughter as contingent trustee (in case of disability or dementia).  She can step in to manage the finances without having to seek the probate court's permission.

As my spouse ages (with or without me around to help) she'll turn everything over to our daughter.  It's a lot easier to do that if our daughter chooses to live on Oahu for the rest of her life, but that's not critical. 

As for me, I'll keep up my cognition by writing as long as I can't shut up have something to say.  I'll also keep paddling out as long as I can remember how to paddle back in.   

gradstudent

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Re: As Cognitivity Slips, Financial Skills are Often the First to Go
« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2015, 08:59:48 AM »
I have seen this first-hand with my grandparents for almost 10 years. They absolutely refuse to relinquish control over their finances because they will not admit they don't know what they are doing. I know that psychologically it is a control issue for them coupled with an equally large fear of aging, but that doesn't make it any better or valid. Recent highlights-paying a $500 commission on a ~$12,000 trade because "the nice young man" at the brokerage said that he was giving them a good deal, an annuity paying 2% with a 10% surrender charge, and refusing to move a CD earning .4% from one bank to another offering 1.5% because the lady at the bank said not to. A few years ago I was finally able to convince them to let me know about all of their finances (they absolutely refuse to tell their children), and am able to at least monitor things now, but it took me threatening to drop out of school to get them to agree to that.
Getting old is a wonderful thing (sure beats the alternative), but being stubborn and refusing to accept that things are changing is not. I have told my wife and parents many times I will never be like my grandparents in this respect, and fortunately my parents also feel the same way. It is an incredible stressor on families to see bad decisions being made with no way to help, which is all we want to do. I think the biggest lesson is to have the self confidence to be able to admit you don't know everything and be willing to let people who care about you help.