Our community elder abuse prevention coalitions are comprised of members who work with and care about older adults in their community. As a regular feature of this blog, we plan to highlight members who have committed their knowledge, passion, skills, and time to protect older adults in their community.
Rick Fentin is a Financial Adviser and a founding member of the Arlington Elder Abuse Prevention Task Force
What drew you to the Arlington Elder Abuse Prevention Task Force?
About twelve years ago, I started volunteering at the Arlington COA. I meet with individuals a couple of times each month to answer financial planning questions. I have loved the opportunity to meet so many nice people, answer questions and be of service. Plus, I continue to learn a lot about the basic financial issues that people are trying to understand. So, when Susan Carp, the terrific director of the Arlington COA on Aging mentioned that they were trying to organize a committee to prevent elder financial abuse, it was of immediate interest to me.
I should mention that I came to my work as a financial planner after working in human services for fifteen years. I was always oriented in the direction of wanting to help people. And I would like to give credit to my mother who passed away recently for giving me and all my family members an example to follow and a desire to help others.
What do you do professionally and do you ever encounter elder abuse issues in your work?
I have worked as a financial adviser for over twenty-five years. I also teach courses on Social Security and retirement planning. In my practice, I have seen a lot of very difficult and sad financial situations involving seniors.
When I have encountered elder financial abuse, it has not been through scams but even more troubling by family members not doing the right thing. Early on in my career, I was working with a client whose husband had passed away and then discovered that the life insurance policy they had paid premiums into for many years had another woman as the beneficiary. I encounter many situations where ignorance of personal financial and estate planning practices creates very upsetting situations for families. Inheritances go to unintended beneficiaries, clients are not aware of the level of risk in their portfolios, assets are depleted by nursing home expenses, pension and Social Security claiming mistakes are made and people over estimate how long their assets will last.
Anything else you would like to add about yourself, your time on the task force, etc.
I have tremendously enjoyed my time on the task force. It gives me a rare opportunity to meet dedicated and concerned people in other fields of work who want to come together to help seniors. There is a very lively exchange as we attempt to find the best ways to help prevent elder financial elder abuse in Arlington. It is a huge local and nationwide problem. There are many different and innovative scams targeting seniors as well as many challenging family situations that can lead to abuse. As our leader, Betsey Crimmins brings a tremendous amount of energy and resources to the group. She always keeps it interesting. Additionally, it is very helpful to hear from the Arlington Police about current situations being investigated.