Do Seniors get respect from the financial industry?

 

Nowadays it seems that Rodney Dangerfield’s trademark phrase  “I don’t get no respect” can be appropriately applied to the everyday lives of many seniors. While much attention and focus is placed on the emotional, physical and financial abuse by family members there are other areas where seniors experience a different type of abuse that tends to go undetected. That abuse should probably come under the caption ‘getting no respect’! Seniors are treated with disrespect at the checkout counter doing grocery shopping, getting a seat on public transit, greedy relatives, home renovation scams, substandard service by health care providers and yes, dealing with banks and the financial industry. It is the latter that is of particular concern to seniors, especially those surviving on modest retirement incomes.

For example, about a year ago a bank fraud was revealed where 31 seniors  across Canada were defrauded of almost $206,000 by an employee at a charter bank. (Refer to this link:
Bank employee accused of stealing from accounts

Another example is ‘reverse mortgages’. Seniors who have paid off their mortgage should be wary of the ‘reverse mortgage’ offered by banks. While this option might appear to be appealing it can have negative unforeseen consequences with respect to your net worth. Many seniors might not understand the implications associated with reverse mortgages. In particular the interest rate for a ‘regular mortgage versus a reverse mortgage’ and the regulations governing reverse mortgage. (For more information on reverse mortgages you can refer to this link: Reverse mortgages are set to rise, unfortunately

There is a more troubling aspect of financial abuse that at first glance appears to be a benign issue. It is related to mediocre  financial service and inadequate advice from financial advisors and financial planners in the financial industry. It appears that seniors, particularly those of modest incomes, have a lot less value in the eyes of financial advisors than those seniors with substantial financial worth or even younger clients. One must question whether these advisors provide accurate or expert advice to seniors. Surely when dispensing financial advice to seniors there should be far less emphasis on investing in high-risk speculative products at their late stage of life.

More emphasis should be on recommending dependable products where capital is protected. Younger clients have more time on their hands to recoup losses incurred from investing in high-risk products but seniors do not. It should not be overlooked that high-risk products tend to have management fees and other hidden charges.  These products also provide financial advisors and brokers with generous commissions.  In addition to inept financial skills of financial advisors, vulnerable investors have seen their nest eggs whittled by fraud and mismanagement.

Financial advisors seem to be of the opinion or assume that many seniors are not very financially literate hence they don’t take the time to give proper advice on how to handle their retirement portfolios.  Many of these advisors used unfamiliar financial jargon to communicate to clients.  That behaviour toward any client is discourteous, condescending and offensive. The encounters many seniors have with staff in the financial industry also indicate that advisors are not as knowledgeable as we expect them be. The lesson here is definitely ‘buyer beware’. Providing inferior or misleading financial advice is of great concern to all clients given the current volatile economic climate and concerns about inflation. More focus should be put on delivering better quality advice to protect the retirement income of seniors and, for that matter, all investors.

The use of Rodney Dangerfield’s comedic reference to “no respect” is not intended to trivialize or downplay the seriousness of any form of elder abuse.  The idea of ‘no respect’ is intended to show how subtle forms of elder abuse inflicted by non-family members can affect the financial well-being of seniors.  Even more important, the deficient and unsatisfactory financial advice from advisors in both the chartered banks or private investment firms is a matter that requires closer scrutiny.

When managing their hard-earned investments seniors need to become ever more financially literate  in their dealings with advisors who may or may not be skilled/experienced or well-trained.  Given the chaotic economic situation all over the globe we have to question whether it is in our best interest to even listen to the advice of these ‘financial advisors’. While greater transparency is needed in the financial industry with regard to fees and commissions, the issue of unprofessional behaviour and substandard advice given to seniors needs to addressed. Otherwise seniors who are encouraged to invest in high-risk products might find themselves chastened as they see their portfolios shrink.

Hope you are intrigued by this post and are inspired to pay closer attention to your investments and also be more wary of the advice dispensed by financial advisors. Shall look forward to your comments about your experiences as a senior dealing with the banking industry and financial advisors.

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NOTE – Check this federal government link to access information on elder abuse and various services for seniors:

Elder Abuse Awareness
http://www.seniors.gc.ca/eng/pie/eaa/index.shtml

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About Golden Wave Movement Canada

The Golden Wave Movement is a made up of engaged individuals who have serious concerns about the increasing challenges retirees surviving on modest pension incomes face nowadays. While our main purpose is to raise awareness of the financial difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of citizens, we also intend to raise awareness regarding challenges related to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
This entry was posted in Activism, Charter banks, Elder abuse, Financial Advisors, Financial fraud, Financial scams, Retirement income, Retirement planning, Reverse mortgages and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Do Seniors get respect from the financial industry?

  1. Sean R says:

    Do not trust financial advisors of any stripe. I have had enough of their condescending attitude.They make money off you wehter or not the investment performs well. The only safe investments are low interest GICs. At least my money doesnt disappear and those arrogant advisors won’t get a commission. Those traders make money off of trades, not how the stocks perform so they don’t show much respect when dealing with ordinary folk with modest income. With the tidal wave of seniors expected these advisors had better smarten up as many of todays seniors are quite well informed on investments.

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  2. Gwen says:

    I like your reference to Rodney Dangerfield phrase as I and a friend who is retired have received poor customer service from these so-called advisors at charter banks. They talk down to you and in many instances are so discourteous,are vague and not well-informed on investments. It is as if you are wasting their time. I lost a bundle listening to their bad advice and buying crappy mutual funds, and won’t have the financial security I hoped to have in retirement. My experience dealing with the credit union was so much better. As an aside … did you know that you can put GICs bearing a higher interest into your low interest Tax Free Savings Account??? .. yes you can! Check with your bank or credit union.

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    • Sheryl says:

      You are correct that financial advisors are not well informed. A friend of mine had a most unpleasant experience with an arrogant and bullying advisor at a charter bank who was totally unaware that a retiree at age 65 WITHOUT A COMPANY PENSION could exercise the option to withdraw a maximum of $2000 annually from RRSPs until age 71 WITHOUT TAX PENALTY. Eventually my friend had to submit a complaint to the VP of the bank to get the issue resolved and received an apology for poor customer service. The staff at her credit union were more knowledgeable and much better informed and, thankfully, a lot more courteous .. they even advised her to convert some of her TFSA into GICS (within the TFSA). Although GICs earn a better interest rate than TFSA they are tax free because they are now part of TFSA.

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  3. Dave R says:

    It is not only clients of modest income who are provided iwth crappy advice but most investors are. Exception is …. ‘those in the know’ who can reap great financial rewards when the markets tumble or if there is a recession. Those so called investment advisors don’t give a damn about anything except their commissions. Reminds me of experiences playing roulette at casinso where nothing is guaranteed. I agree that it is better for seniors to keep their investment in safer fixed rate investment such as GICs. The GIC transaction is straight forwrad and you don’t have to put up with condenscending attitudes.

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  4. Bev says:

    Those in the investment and banking business inhabit a cold calculating world. The stock market is just a Ponzi scheme that provdes opportunity for the 1% to gain millions of $$$$$ through shady speculative schemes like those derivatives. It is the culture these creep advisors exist in that breed this onoing greed, arrogance and downright dishonesty. There is a crisis of confidence in investment banking due to lack of transparency and inadequacy of the regulatory structure. Capitalism no longer works …. as if it ever did excpet for the 1% !!! There is an ever increasing number of retirees now in the 99% and they need to educate themselves even just a little bit better about speculative financial products offered by the investment industry.

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    • Little Elf says:

      It is human nature that allows people to wallow in greed and look for ways to take something that doesnt belong to them. It is in our DNA. Those who control the banks and financial industry are the greediest on the planet. Given Harper’s plan to make major changes to pensions young people had better smarten up and contribute to RRSPs and TSFAs — am not impressed with Harper’s option for pooled pensions as it is the financial industry that stands to gain the most.

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  5. Tula says:

    Those of us in the 99% shouldn’t allow ourselves to be pressured by these so-called advisors or brokers to invest in the stock market, especially nowadays. Let those who belong to the 1% elites invest in those questionable hedge funds and derivatives that are manipulated by those same elites. I can sleep at night assured that my retirement income is invested in secure but low-rate GICs and TFSA and won’t disappear before my eyes. Equally as disturbing is to see your retirement funds eaten away by inflation. If you are ever disrespected and treated in an unprofessional manner by financial advisors you should submit a written complaint to a senior executive of the bank or financial institution.

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  6. Teg. says:

    As soon as you reach your golden age (say 65) do not gamble your hard earn money in stocks and bonds. No financial adviser will look after your interest. They are only interested in their commission or fees, and a promotion. They are only interested in themselves. Just keep your money in the most secured investment, i.e. saving account, GIC and etc. At your age securing your capital should be the highest priority, and enjoying your retirement with your hard earn money instead of letting some young investment adviser, in most cases who doesn’t know what he or she doing and play with it.

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