Tag Archives: Finance


Money Matters | Elder Financial Abuse: The Silent Crime


Michelle Floyd, CFP, Financial Consultant

Michelle Floyd, CFP, Financial Consultant

Elder financial abuse has the potential to impact all of us on some level. Whether you are protecting a loved one from becoming a victim or actively taking precautions to protect your personal estate, fraud and exploitation is a risk that grows as people age.

It is important for individuals to understand the magnitude of this crime, identify ways to both actively prevent and stop abuse, as well as understand how to escalate if it is suspected.

Understand. Seniors lose an estimated $36.5 billion every year to the crime of elder financial abuse.i In fact, according to the 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, more than seven million older Americans — one out of every five over the age of 65 — have fallen victim to a financial swindle. [i]i As Baby Boomers turn 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day, the threat of potential abuse heightens.

It is imperative we take preventative measures to confront this epidemic, including educating ourselves on the potential warning signs and using the resources and tools available to stop fraud and abuse from occurring.

Identify. Spotting exploitation can be difficult as the perpetrators of these crimes tend to be close friends or relatives. Studies project that approximately 70 percent of elder financial abuse is committed by family members, friends, trusted persons or others known to the individual being exploited.[ii]i This increasingly blurred line of those who have one’s best interest at heart and those who don’t makes spotting these scams a challenge.

Here are a few warning signs:

  • Sudden reluctance to discuss financial matters
  • Sudden, atypical, or unexplained withdrawals or wire transfers from their accounts, or other changes in their financial situations
  • New best friends and “sweethearts”
  • Behavioral changes, such as fear or submissiveness, social isolation, withdrawn behavior, disheveled appearance, and forgetfulness
  • Changes in the will, especially when they might not fully understand the implications
  • Large, frequent “gifts” to a caregiver
  • Missing personal belongings

Report. Reporting is single-handedly the most important step to escalating suspected elder financial abuse. Studies show that as few as one in 44 cases of elder financial abuse are reported.iv Victims tend to keep details secret for a number of reasons – fear of being victimized again, reluctance to incriminate a family member or friend, or admitting vulnerability are among them. To properly report suspected elder financial abuse, contact a state agency or the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Remember, elder financial exploitation is not exclusive. Consider the below to help protect yourself from potential abuse:

  • Organize your estate. No matter how old you are, it’s a good idea to update and organize all your financial documentation, including your will, financial powers of attorney, real estate deeds, insurance policies, pension and trust documents, birth and marriage certificates, and Social Security paperwork. Maintaining an organized file, and helping others (such as a parent, uncle or close friend) do the same, can make it easier to spot the inconsistencies and red flags that could signal financial abuse.
  • Make a list of financial contacts. Bankers, insurance agents, attorneys, accountants, stockbrokers, and other professionals should be on it. Share your list with these professionals and with family members you trust. In addition, ensure you have a trusted contact on file. This is an individual who the advisor could contact in the event of an emergency or suspected abuse.

i True Link Financial. “True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse,” 2015.

ii Investor Protection Trust (IPT). “IPT Elder Fraud Survey,” 2010.

iii Jewish Council for the Aging, National Center for Elder Abuse. Paley Rothman article, “Who Commits Elder Financial Abuse and Why Isn’t It Reported?” 2016.

iv National Adult Protective Services Association. “Policy and Advocacy.” www.napsa-now.org. 2017.


This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Michelle Floyd, CFP®, Financial Consultant with Axiom Financial Strategies Group in New Albany, IN 47150 at 812-948-8475.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

© 2017 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. 0617-01508


Money Matters | Is Divorce on the Horizon?

Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, Ind.

Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, Ind.

A divorce is obviously an emotionally charged time for you and your family. You’re juggling a lot of arrangements and financial details. Most divorce attorneys suggest thinking about how to divide your financial responsibilities as early as possible ‒ particularly if you have shared debt.

Look at shared debt. With the help of a mediator and/or your financial advisor, you may be able to decide which of you will take which debts. You may consider paying off or closing any credit accounts before you divorce. Most states allow you to settle debt issues between you. If you can’t come to an agreement and the court has to decide for you, the divorce can get very complex and expensive.

Another reason to be proactive about your shared debt: It can help you both maintain good credit ratings after your split and, perhaps most important, prevent uncomfortable conversations about unresolved debts with your ex-spouse in the future.

Get help as soon as you consider a separation. Meet with your financial advisor at the first hint of impending separation. A good financial advisor will be compassionate and willing to remain neutral if he or she serves both you and your soon-to-be-ex. Your advisor can revisit your investment portfolio and do a cash-flow analysis to illustrate what you might draw as future income. He or she can also offer advice about which shared debts might be best for you to take on (or avoid), given the amount of risk with which you are comfortable.

Start with your credit report. A smart way to begin reviewing your debts is to request a copy of your credit report so you can verify which liabilities are in your name. If your spouse is willing to share his or her credit report, that can help you get a full breakdown of all shared debts. Your obligations might include assets such as a primary home, vacation home, vehicles, credit cards and lines of credit, family business–related debt, and possibly student loan debt.

Once you have a full picture of your debts and assets, you can discuss dividing them.

What about the house? Research confirms most divorcing women want to keep the matrimonial home whenever possible, especially when children are still living there. The spouse who keeps each home should also take responsibility for its loan, refinancing it in their name if at all possible.

Information is important to handling debt well during a divorce. One situation where you might have to continue working together with your ex-spouse on a shared debt is if you have an unresolved tax obligation. You should talk to the IRS about setting up separate payments on that joint debt.

You may not agree on how to split contentious debts, such as secret credit card debt created by your spouse. In that case, your state’s laws will come into play. For instance, in most states, ownership of debts is decided by “equitable distribution.” A judge or mediator assigns debts to spouses according to factors such as who signed for it, got greatest value from it, or has the larger income.

Overall, information is the most important key to handling debt well during a divorce. Collect tax returns, credit reports, and bank and brokerage statements as early as possible. The more you know about your marital finances, the easier it should be for you to negotiate over outstanding debts at the settlement table.


This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

© 2017 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.  CAR 0217-04883


Home For The Holidays: The Smith Broady Team Can Help With That

screen-shot-2017-12-05-at-2-05-01-amSonya Broady vividly remembers when she and Leslie Smith decided to start Smith Broady & Associates, a mortgage company located in Southern Indiana. “We opened in June 2008 in the middle of the real estate downfall,” Sonya said. “Everyone thought we were crazy.”

Now, more than nine years later, there are five members of the Smith Broady team, and they recently relocated from their Blackiston Mill Road location in New Albany to a beautifully remodeled, homey office at 1114 E. Tenth St. in Jeffersonville.

“It’s been almost a three-year process to look for something and find a right price and location,” said Leslie, who shares the principal manager/co-owner title with Sonya. “We have succeeded because of our team. We are family. Now that we’re in our new spot, we’re hoping to grow even more.

Smith Broady & Associates

At Smith Broady & Associates, we keep the mortgage process Simple so you can focus on more important issues in your life. Our experienced loan officers will personally guide you through our five-step process

STEP 1: Loan prequalification

STEP 2: Mortgage loan application

STEP 3: Mortgage underwriting

STEP 4: Final conditions

STEP 5: Closing

Every step of the way, your Smith Broady & Associates loan officer will keep you informed of their progress toward the closing date. With the large inventory of affordable homes on the market, this is a wonderful time for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home.

At Smith Broady & Associates, we look forward to earning your business and becoming your preferred mortgage company for all your home purchases. From starter homes to dream homes, we’re there for you.

Smith Broady & Associates

1114 E. Tenth St.