Picture an older widow who feels isolated by her living situation and has suffered some cognitive decline. She has inherited money from her late husband, though she is new to managing her finances. Is she vulnerable to elder financial abuse?
You bet. But she probably doesn't think so.
That is the conclusion of a new analysis of survey data on seniors and their finances by Allianz Life, whose clients for insurance, annuities and other financial services include seniors. The company queried over 1,200 seniors and more than 1,000 people ages 40 to 64 about seniors' finances and found that among the seniors, 89 percent were confident they could handle their money on their own. At the same time, 22 percent of the younger group said they were not confident in their own ability to recognize elder financial abuse, or were not sure.
Some 18 percent of family or friends of elderly people are worried about them falling victim to financial abuse, but only 11 percent of the elderly worry. The elderly are also more confident that they have the resources to protect themselves from financial fraud: 82 percent believe that, compared with 58 percent of their family members and friends.
The confidence of the seniors may make them even more vulnerable to financial scams or financial abuse by friends or family members, said Walter White, president and CEO of Allianz Life.
"Everything we understand about the prevalence of the issue would suggest that confidence is misplaced," he said.