One of the most distressing realizations I have made over the last few years is how often our older family members and friends are swindled. Whether it is an unscrupulous contractor, an internet investment scheme, or the undue influence of an agent, accountant or attorney, there is an epidemic of abuse against one of our most vulnerable groups. People who were raised at a time when all of their financial dealings were handled face to face, are not always well equipped to protect themselves in our modern electronic age. They are often reluctant to ask for or accept your help because of pride, paranoia, or simply a desire not to burden you with their problems.
I would strongly encourage you when you visit your older family members or friends over the Holidays to take a few minutes to talk to them about their financial situation, and to let them know that you want to help the next time they consider making a purchase, or hiring a contractor, or changing their investment portfolio, or taking a reverse mortgage on their house. If you are not the best person in the family to provide this assistance, then encourage the person who is better equipped to step up. Talk to your siblings or family friends about your concerns so that they can be watchful for any signs of trouble. Finally, do not be afraid to act when trouble occurs.