Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Books: Tarkenton On How Seniors Can Be "Safe & Secure"

Safe & Secure: 10 Essential Steps for Seniors to Protect Against Financial Abuse
By Fran Tarkenton and Rick Gossett
Rengery Pubkishin; $14.99

Fran Tarkenton is best known for his career as a Hall of Fame quarterback with the Giants and Minnesota Vikings. He then  went on to be a successful businessman and entrepreneur. One of his businesses, Tarkenton Financial LLC, focuses on retirement income strategies.
Rick Gossett is a certified public accountant who has used his experience as a tax practitioner and financial executive to design and develop multiple software applications. One of those allows seniors to prepare comprehensive budgets for their retirement years and evaluate their ability to fund secure retirements.

In the new book, Safe & Secure, Tarkenton and Gossett have teamed up to put together a practical, up-to-date guide to scam-proofing your savings during your golden years.

Thieves and scammers are on the prowl for easy targets who have significant exposed assets,and if you’re a senior citizen who saved for retirement, you may be the perfect mark.

Safe & Secure will give you ten specific actions steps that will turn you from an “easy” target into a “hard” target. A well-prepared senior who understands the potential for financial abuse and has taken the precautions recommended in this book is more than likely to remain safe and secure through a long and comfortable retirement.

"The first step in stopping financial elder abuse is knowing the risks and recognizing that there are many different ways you can be targeted.
"Here are just a few examples.
"A son 'borrows' $5,000 from his eighty-year-old mother, Miriam, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He uses the money to buy drugs to feed his substance abuse habit. He has no intention of paying the money back, figuring that she will forget all about the loan in a few days. Miriam is a victim of elder financial abuse.
"Mike, eighty years old, receives a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The 'agent' tells Mike he will be arrested unless he pays his overdue taxes immediately. He is told to go to a local store and buy prepaid debit cards. Mike does so and reads the numbers on the back of the cards to the scammer. The scammer uses the numbers to steal the funds on the cards. Mike is a victim of elder financial abuse.
"A caregiver convenes an elderly couple - the husband, Bob, has terminal cancer and his wife, Sandra, has Alzheimer's disease - that the care she provides is the only thing keeping them out of a nursing facility. She isolates the couple from friends and family. In the meantime, she slowly gains control over their assets. She starts spending their money and running up large balances on their credit cards. Bob and Sandra are victims of elder financial abuse and emotional abuse...
"Do stories like these sound familiar? They should, because the truth is, elder financial abuse is an epidemic sweeping the country - and it makes us mad as hell, which is why we wrote this guide to avoiding it. Unless you're constantly on the lookout, you could be the next victim.
"Many people assume senior citizens are  targeted because they suffer from mental or physical decline. 
"The National Center on Elder Abuse, for instance, defines elder  financial abuse as 'the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder' at risk for harm by another due to changes in 'physical functioning, mental functioning, or both.'
"But the reality is, even if you are a physically and mentally healthy eighty-year-old, you are still a target for elder financial abuse. You are a target because of your age and your financial status, and because you are sitting on a retirement nest egg that someone wants to steal. Seniors are the most likely demographic to have savings, own their homes, and enjoy good to excellent credit scores, all of which make them targets - whether for financial abuse or identity theft. Criminals target the elderly because that's where the money is. A recent article in Barron's magazine pegged the wealth of those aged sixty-five and older at $18 trillion dollars! No wonder seniors are targets. In that same article, the author warned that the longer you live, the more likely you are to be relatively affluent; and by the age of eighty-five, seniors have nearly a 50% chance of suffering some degree of cognitive impairment. People with bad intentions therefore see seniors as easy marks."

Safe & Secure is a very valuable resource that elders and their families should have available so they can protect what they have built.

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