An Aging America: New Financial Regulation Policy Trajectories

An Aging America: New Financial Regulation...

Federal and state financial policymakers are taking action to enhance mechanisms that protect the elderly population—projected to double between now and 2030—from financial harm. Over the last few years, federal policymakers have taken an increasingly active role in defining expectations to mitigate and prevent instances of elder abuse in the financial sector. The Point of View analyzes regulatory policy trajectories in this area and encourages financial firms to evaluate carefully their Elder Abuse Prevention Programs when seeking to serve elderly consumers in light of expanding state and federal policies and regulations.

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Between now and 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the percentage of the population aged 65 and over will nearly double to 20 percent, with the fastest growing portion among those aged 85 or older. In 2011, the net worth of household headed by a consumer aged 65 and older was approximately $17.2 trillion. Federal and state financial policymakers are, accordingly, taking action to enhance mechanisms that protect the elderly from financial harm.

Elder financial exploitation, a form of elder abuse, can take many forms across all strata of society. Those with accumulated equity in their homes or with other significant assets are potentially as much at risk as those with recurring sources of income such as Social Security or pension payments. In addition, isolation, bereavement, or disability can increase an elder’s vulnerability to fraud. These risk factors can be compounded by lack of familiarity with financial matters or technology, creating a heighted susceptibility to unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices.

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