Older adults are subject to cognitive decline in later life, and now face unprecedented demands to assume responsibility for investment and longevity risk. The Summer 2012 issue of Generations focuses on three primary areas of interest: the current financial landscape of retirement for elders; a clinical perspective on older adults’ financial capacity; and the legal aspects of financial competency in the aging cohort. The issue’s collection of sixteen articles describe and highlight ongoing efforts to educate professionals and to offer protective services to elders at risk for financial incapacity.
The genesis of this issue, called “Financial Capacity and Comptency in an Aging America,” began nearly two years ago, with intense discussion among the journal’s editorial advisory committee members: concerns were raised over the ongoing malaise of the economy, but the talk mostly centered on the importance of watching out for, protecting, and educating elders about finances. Just months later, in March 2011, 90-year-old actor Mickey Rooney stepped forward to testify before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. His tragic—and wholly preventable—story of abuse hit all the media outlets, and its telling lent muscle to the fight against the physical, emotional, and financial abuse and exploitation of older adults.
ASA owes a special debt of gratitude to the Summer 2012 issue Guest Editor, Daniel C. Marson, and also to Generations Editorial Advisory Committee member Charles P. Sabatino, who served as the primary board liaison to the issue. Dr. Marson’s and Mr. Sabatino’s careful attention and dedication to the issues of financial capacity and competency in America’s aging population—and their alacrity and expertise in planning this issue—resulted in one of the most important editions of Generations that ASA has published to date.
Daniel Marson, as an attorney, clinical neuropsychologist, and tenured professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), is eminently suited to guide this issue. Since 2005, he has directed the UAB Alzheimer’s Disease Center; and since 1995, he has served as director of the Department of Neurology’s Division of Neuropsychology. “In 1990, when I came to my professional position as a neuropsychologist at UAB, I chose competency/capacity as my research area, as it drew heavily on both my professional backgrounds of law and psychology. Financial competency is an area that is scientifically interesting to study, clinically challenging to assess, and has tremendous public policy importance in our aging society,” says Marson.
Marson is passionate about this research because he believes the capacity of older adults to manage their financial affairs is a critical instrumental activity of daily living, crucial aspect of personal autonomy, and essential to being able to live independently. But there can be barriers to such independence. With the continued aging of our society, and the tidal wave of Alzheimer’s and related dementias building over the next few decades (estimated at 14 million persons in the United States by 2050), both this percentage and overall older adult wealth will only increase, and issues of financial capacity in elders will become ever more prevalent and urgent. These changing circumstances also provide an opportunity for rethinking how we as a society plan for the future, and how clinicians, social services providers, lawyers, and financial industry professionals can best serve the aging population.
ASA is especially pleased to present this issue, which contains an impressive, information-packed array of articles that we know will be useful to our ASA membership as they endeavor to serve older people and their families; we hope this issue also will be useful to our members as they cope with managing their own financial future.
Financial Capacity in an Aging Society
By Daniel C. Marson and Charles P. Sabatino
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The Financial Landscape of Retirement: Challenges and Opportunities
A Future Out of Reach? The Growing Risk in the U.S. Retirement Security System
By Larry J. Polivka
Parsing the Financial Landscape for Older Adults: Industries, Products, and Risks
By Ryan Wilson
Financial Literacy and Financial Decision-Making in Older Adults
By Annamaria Lusardi
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Protecting Older Investors: The Challenge of Diminished Capacity
By Naomi Karp
The Clinical Perspective on Financial Capacity of Older Adults
The Warning Signs of Diminished Financial Capacity in Older Adults
By Kristen L. Triebel and Daniel C. Marson
The Emerging Neuroscience of Financial Capacity
By Amy J. Knight and Daniel C. Marson
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Undue Influence and Financial Capacity: A Clinical Perspective
By Stacey Wood and Pi-Ju Liu
Assessing Financial Capacity Impairment in Older Adults
By Lynn A. Flint, Rebecca L. Sudore, and Eric Widera
The Legal Perspective on Financial Competence of Older Adults
Financial Decision-Making for Adults Lacking the Capacity to Make Their Own
By David M. English
An Overview of Elder Financial Exploitation
By Lori A. Stiegel
Three Legs on the Ground: Retirement Income Essentials for LGBT Adults
By David Godfrey
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An Elder Law Attorney’s View of the Financial Competence of Older Adults
By William J. Brisk
Programs to Support the Financial Capacity of Older Adults
Why Clinicians Need to Know About the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Program
By Robert E. Roush, Jennifer A. Moye, Whitney L. Mills, Mark E. Kunik, Nancy L. Wilson, George E. Taffet, and Aanand D. Naik
Strategies for Banks to Protect Elderly Clients from Themselves and Others
By Joseph Snyder
The Role of the Federal Government in Financial Education for Older Americans: The New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
By Hubert H. Humphrey III
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