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Helping People Age with Dignity

Study: financial decision-making quality drops in elderly years

Many different kinds of financial decisions can end up coming before an elderly individual. Some examples include decisions regarding investments, bank accounts, real estate, credit cards or debt. These decisions can have major impacts on a senior's life.

Thus, making good decisions when it comes to financial matters is very important. Unfortunately, one thing individuals sometimes face in their elderly years is reduced financial decision-making abilities. A recent study indicates that quality of financial decision making tends to go down during a person's elderly years.

The study, a Texas Tech University study, looked at age and financial decision-making quality. Among the study's findings were that, generally, a gradual decline occurs in financial decision-making ability starting at age 60 and that financial decision making tends to peak at age 50.

Of course, this study is just looking at general trends. Every elderly individual is unique. Some seniors may maintain relatively strong financial decision-making abilities well into their elderly years while others may experience an ability decline so great that it could seriously endanger their financial future. It can be important for elderly individuals and their families to keep a close eye on financial decision-making ability.

What should a family do if they suspect that an elderly loved one's financial decision-making abilities have dropped to the point where they can no longer properly manage their finances? What options would be best depends on the situation. In some instances, seeking a conservatorship for an elderly loved one could be an appropriate step. Talking to an experienced elder law attorney can help a Massachusetts family understand what options they have and which options may be a good fit given the specific circumstances of their elderly loved one.

Source: Fox Business, "50 is Peak Age for Financial Decision Making," Serena Elavia, Sept. 17, 2015

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