The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has published "Managing Someone Else's Money," a series of guides for financial caregivers. "In order to protect our seniors, we must educate the caregiver generation," said CFPB director Richard Cordray. Millions of Americans act as fiduciaries, managing money or property for a loved one.
Because cognitive impairment can hinder an older adult’s ability to handle finances and detect fraud, about 22 million people age 60 and older have given a trusted person power of attorney to make financial decisions on their behalf. Many younger adults with disabilities also cannot handle their own finances. Often their fiduciaries, a critical source of support, have no training.
The CFPB's guides explain the four main responsibilities of a fiduciary: to act in the person’s best interest, to manage their money and property with care, to keep that money and property separate from the fiduciary’s own, and to maintain detailed records. Each CFPB guide contains information on the fiduciary’s responsibilities, depending on their needs. All guides include tips for spotting financial exploitation and avoiding scams. Common signs of being exploited financially include atypical ATM usage, multiple attempts to wire large amounts of money, and spending money on unusual items. The guides also offer a list of agencies for reporting fraud or a scam, or for helping financial caregivers with their duties.