Warren Calls For USPS to Offer Safe Financial Services
In an opinion piece in the Huffington Post, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called for post offices to go into competition with private enterprise to offer simple financial services like bill-paying, check-cashing, and small loans. In particular, she wants the government to provide an alternative to payday lenders who offer short-term loans, often less than $1,000, that carry steep fees and huge interest rates, which critics say trap borrowers in a negative cycle of debt. Read full article: Coming to a Post Office Near You: Loans You Can Trust?
Emotional Wellbeing and “Regulation” Tied to Exploitation?
A recent posting on the NYC Elder Abuse Center’s Elder Justice Dispatch Blog, “Elder Financial Exploitation: Research to Inform Practice” by Dr. Stacey Wood of Scripps College, highlights Wood’s work on the impact that emotional wellbeing and regulation has on a person’s susceptibility to financial exploitation. Read the NYC Elder Abuse Center’s Elder Justice Dispatch Blog.
Free Guides on Managing Someone Else’s Money
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimates that 22 million people in the U.S. have assumed formal and informal responsibilities for making financial decisions for others. This ranges from simply agreeing to hold powers of attorney for spouses or others in case it becomes necessary to make financial decisions to guardianship. The guides explain the 4 main responsibilities of fiduciaries:
- Act in the person’s best interest, (e.g fiduciaries should not loan or give money to themselves or others, and avoid conflicts of interest).
- Manage money and property carefully (e.g pay bills on time, protecting unspent funds, investing carefully, and having a list of all monies, properties, and debts).
- Keep money and property separate from own (e.g avoid joint accounts)
- Maintain good records (e.g track purchases, and keep receipts)
The 4 guides are tailored to people in 4 fiduciary capacities: 1) Those named in powers of attorney to make decisions about money and property, 2) Those appointed by courts as guardians or conservators of property, 3) Trustees under living trusts, and 4) Representative payees. The guides also contain information on how to spot financial exploitation and avoid scams, agencies that accept reports, and resources for financial caregivers. View the guides | Order paper copies
Resources from NCJRS
If you haven’t checked out the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s comprehensive compilation of resources for educating consumers, businesses, and the public about consumer fraud, be sure to do so. The list covers 3 areas: