When a household name speaks out on an issue of public interest, people tend to listen a little more attentively. Maybe a celebrity or famous athlete shares their fight against a serious disease, a struggle with mental illness or depression, or blows the whistle on crimes like sexual assault. So if a big name engages the media to raise awareness on elder financial abuse, I consider it a win for victims and their families.
Fran Tarkenton, the NFL pro-bowler and Hall of Fame quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, has published a new book on how seniors can protect themselves from elder financial abuse and exploitation. Titled Safe & Secure: 10 Essential Steps for Seniors to Protect Themselves from Financial Abuse, Tarkenton's book can help Baby Boomers steer clear of scams and other wrongdoing.
I remember Tarkenton from watching him play football from my childhood right up to the time I graduated law school and became a young attorney. He was quick on his feet, and it seemed like he could dodge oncoming linemen and scramble for extra yards as much as throw a game-winning touchdown. Now Tarkenton, who became a successful businessman in his post-NFL career, is going on the offense against elder financial abuse.
Tarkenton highlights awareness as the main weapon in the fight against financial exploitation of the elderly. He hammers home the point that:
"You are a target because every elderly person is a target. It doesn't matter where you live, how much money you have in the bank, or whether you are spry and happy or incapacitated and depressed. The abusers see every elderly person as someone they can take advantage of-they only have to vary their approach."
As Tarkenton emphasizes, the first step to safeguarding your financial well-being is recognizing your vulnerability - something that inevitably comes with old age and cognitive decline. It comes down to recognizing limitations - just as we have limitations as children and need parental supervision, seniors also can benefit from a helping hand to keep their financial affairs in order. Scammers take advantage of overconfidence the same way they prey upon the confused and lonely.
It's heartening that Fran Tarkenton has lent his voice as another major advocate in the ongoing struggle against elder financial abuse with his book Safe & Secure. If you'd like a copy of my own book on this subject, The Wolf at the Door, just send me message at [email protected], and I'd be glad to send you one in the mail.