There’s a well-known idiom that says, “…in this world nothing can be certain except death and taxes.” Taxes we must pay along the way. If we’re lucky, we get the privilege of growing old before we ‘pay the ferryman.’
Growing old may not seem like a privilege, but for most, it’s certainly better than the alternative. And with impressive advancements in healthcare and technology, people today are living longer.
The National Institute on Aging estimates that the population of Americans over 65 will double within the next 25 years.1 The U.S. Census predicts that number will hit 83.7 million by 2050.2 The Baby Boomers play a large part in the numbers - all of that generation will have reached at least age 65 by 2030.
Broadening Business with the Boomers
This high volume of seniors in our country expands a distinctive client base that require CPA services targeted towards the inherent needs of an elderly population: financing assisted living, paying healthcare costs, organizing and updating estate documents, and other finance-related decisions and sudden circumstances.
And all these services may require delicate and customized governance if cognitive ailments or circumstances hinder the elderly client’s ability to make decisions, such as dementia or extended sedation.
To that end, CPAs who support senior clients should look to augment their standard skills and become familiar with common needs and circumstances of the elderly, such as long-term care alternatives, prevalent mental and physical conditions, and their vulnerability to fraud.
Of course, we’re all vulnerable to fraud, but elder financial abuse is more common than most would like to think. And it can come from any direction - greedy strangers to friends, relatives, and caregivers with dollar signs in their eyes rather than concern in their hearts. Single women 85 and over are quickly becoming the hottest fraud targets.
In addition to potentially diminished mental faculties that may hinder them from detecting ruinous schemes, aging citizens are born of a more trusting generation. Even those with sharp minds might be less likely to look for or notice fraudulent activities or intent.
And the ill-intended know people in their later years often have a bulging bank account and investments to show for long life. Many elderly often live alone and may not have other family around to watch out for their best interests.
Serve Seniors, Progress Your Portfolio
With all these intrinsic elements, managing senior clients’ books may require more scrutiny and care than the average client. But adding elder care services to your firm – such as long-term care planning and bill paying - broadens your portfolio and extends peace of mind and gratitude to your aging clients and their families.
- Elder Financial Abuse: How CPAs Can Help – Part 3, AICPA, 2017
- Elder Financial Abuse: How CPAs Can Help – Part 2, AICPA, 2017