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Discuss: Should financial advisors help detect and address their clients’ cognitive decline? And, if so, how?

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What Your Finan­cial Choic­es Say About Your Brain (Finan­cial Advi­sor):

…finan­cial advi­sors have to be in the fore­front of the fight against cog­ni­tive decline, which can lead to the finan­cial exploita­tion of the elder­ly,” added Philip Mar­shall, an advo­cate for elder jus­tice.

Among the first signs of cog­ni­tive changes caused by dis­eases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as cog­ni­tive aging, are changes in our capac­i­ty to man­age finances,” Kar­law­ish said. One of the goals of his research is to be able to diag­nose Alzheimer’s dis­ease before symp­toms appear … “Advi­sors should be watch­ing clients who are mak­ing bad finan­cial deci­sions” or ask­ing illog­i­cal or repet­i­tive ques­tions, Kar­law­ish added, and they should be able and will­ing to take action. He acknowl­edged that a client’s pri­va­cy has to be guard­ed, “but pri­va­cy is only one val­ue to be judged; it is not the only one.”

Con­sumers are begin­ning to demand high­ly trained bankers and advi­sors who under­stand cog­ni­tive decline, added Ram­sey Alwin, direc­tor of thought lead­er­ship and finan­cial resilience for AARP. There­fore, finan­cial advi­sors are going to have to be trained to rec­og­nize some health issues.

The issues of cog­ni­tive decline and exploita­tion of the elder­ly are “where drunk dri­ving was 25 years ago, before peo­ple took that issue seri­ous­ly,” Borg said. “Peo­ple are now start­ing to take this issue seri­ous­ly.”

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