Financial Decision Tracker

10 Questions


For professionals who work with older adults making significant financial decisions, including attorneys, financial planners, bankers, investment brokers, insurance agents, accountants, law enforcement officers, and Adult Protective Services case workers.


Interview is electronically scored and recorded and takes approximately 10 minutes

This brief 10-item interview examines a specific financial decision made by an older adult to assess his or her financial judgment, vulnerability to theft and scams, and whether financial predation may have taken place.

The number of older adults with Alzheimer's disease, lack of financial capacity and risk for financial exploitation is increasing. Cognitive impairment and financial exploitation often go hand-in-hand. Professionals working with older adults can help prevent financial exploitation while documenting for compliance and risk management that proper assessments were done prior to the transaction. Learn efficient, accurate, state-of-the-art, and empirically supported methods of evaluating your older client's major financial decisions.

Choice

Rationale

Understanding

Appreciation

The Tracker asks the client about choice, rationale, understanding, and appreciation of a financial decision in the context of the client's values. These decisional abilities determine the fidelity, integrity and autonomy of the decision. Exploitation, undue influence, psychological vulnerability and reduced awareness can impair decisional ability.


Research


On-going research is critical to refine and continuously improve our assessments and interviews. We periodically recruit older adults to cross-validate the Financial Vulnerability Assessment. We continue to collect and analyze de-identified data from client interviews in older adults from across the country, many of them Adult Protective Services workers. The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center also includes the Financial Decision Tracker in its longitudinal study on cognitive changes, comparing Tracker results against cognitive status.




Create an Account


Create an account to go directly to the brief online training and gain immediate access to the Lichtenberg Interview tools. Your password protected account keeps every interview secure, organized and accessible to you alone.

Create Account

Training


Users of the Financial Decision Tracker must first complete a brief online training to be certified in its use. Groups or organizations can ask to schedule a webinar or in-person training with Dr. Lichtenberg for institutional certification.

Contact Us for information on on-site training for groups. Or login to complete online training now.

Get Trained
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Start Training to Use the Interviews
Certification is simple and straightforward. Our convenient online training shows you how to administer the assessments to achieve accuracy and reliability. Training to become certified to use the Decision Tracker and the Family & Friends Interview is available to all professionals. Training and certification to use the Vulnerability Assessment, however, should be completed only by a mental health professional.



Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I have to be trained to administer these interviews?

Yes.Training insures that the interviews are conducted reliably and effectively to produce the most accurate results. Our trainings are designed to be easy to follow while insuring mastery of the interview skills.

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What is undue influence?

Influence or coercion by someone who intentionally uses his or her role and power to deceive and exploit the trust, dependency, and fear of another and gain decision-making control. The influencer uses various techniques or manipulations over time to gain power and compliance. These can be so subtle that the victim doesn’t realize he or she is being manipulated. Many cases of financial exploitation result from undue influence.

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How can I identify undue influence in an older adult?

Some common signs are:

  1. Significant gifts to people like caregivers, service providers, and acquaintances outside the usual sphere of the older adult’s love and commitment.
  2. Gifts to anyone that are so large they threaten the older adult’s economic security.
  3. Loans, particularly if undocumented, to anyone.
  4. The older adult’s fiduciary (such as an attorney or trustee) making decisions that reflect poor judgment or conflict of interest.
  5. Estate planning documents naming non-family members as fiduciaries or beneficiaries.
  6. Joint accounts with non-family members.
  7. Checks prepared by others but signed by the older adult.
  8. Bequests or other arrangements favoring one child, particularly if that child lives with the older adult.
  9. Large discrepancies between the older adult’s understanding of his or her estate and its true value
  10. Excessive fees charged by professional finance managers such as trustees, attorneys, financial advisors and stockbrokers.
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What’s the difference between being a conservator, guardian, and having power of attorney?

A conservator is a person (family member, friend, or paid professional), agency or institution appointed by the court to make financial decisions for someone a judge has determined is unable to make such decisions.

A guardian is a person (family, friend, or paid professional), agency, or institution appointed by the court to make personal decisions for another. Unlike a conservator, a guardian’s authority is often limited by statutes and can also be limited by the judge to specific tasks or decisions based on the retained capacities of the person.

A power of attorney is a legal instrument used to delegate authority to another. The person who signs a power of attorney is called the “principal,” and the person to granted the authority is delegated is the “agent.” A “durable” power of attorney enables the agent to act for the principal even after the principal loses capacity to make decisions, and is effective until revoked by the principal or until the principal’s death. A durable power of attorney generally refers to financial decisions and can be an effective alternative to guardianship, allowing an individual to plan for the control of his or her affairs in the event of incapacity.

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What is financial incapacity?

The law starts with an assumption of capacity, which refers to decision making regarding a number of financial tasks, such as general financial management of assets and debts, writing checks, paying bills, knowing and using currency and coins, making contracts and writing wills. Financially incapacity means a person is unable to manage their financial resources. This can be the result of a number of conditions including mental illness, dementia, drug use, physical illness and disability. Determination of incapacity is complex. Psychological evaluations, medical reviews, as well as legal standards (that vary from state-to-state) are used in the determination.

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How can I encourage my entire organization to use the Older Adult Nest Egg interviews and resources?

Contact us and we can work with you to bring Older Adult Nest Egg to your company or organization. Adult Protective Services employees have already been trained in several parts of the country, and we are researching use of the Tracker in Virginia, Minnesota and New York. The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center has also made the Tracker interview part of its longitudinal study on cognitive changes.

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What is motivational Interviewing?

Motivational interviewing tries to change behavior by gently moving a person from indecision and uncertainty and toward making positive decisions and accomplishing established goals. The technique helps people resolve their ambivalence and insecurities through empathetic listening, helping clients become aware of discrepancies between their goals and behavior, avoiding arguments and direct confrontations, and supporting self-efficacy and optimism.The client is central and is guided to generate the arguments and solutions for change.

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Why doesn't the audio for certification training play when I view it in Safari's browser?

Safari, and a few other browsers recently made changes to autoplay for video and audio files. You must now enable audio and video to autoplay on Safari explicitly for OlderAdultNestEgg.com. To do this, open OlderAdultNestEgg.com in Safari. In the Safari menu select “Safari” > “Preferences”> “Websites” >. Select “Auto+Play” in the left “General” menu and “olderadultnestegg.com” in the main window under the heading “Allow websites below to automatically play media:” Select “Allow All Auto-Play” from the drop-down options. Your audio for OlderAdultNestEgg.com will be enabled.

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How are the Lichtenberg Interviews for older adults validated?

On-going research is critical to refine and continuously improve our assessments and interviews. We periodically recruit older adults to cross-validate the Financial Vulnerability Assessment. We continue to collect and analyze de-identified data from client interviews in older adults from across the country, many of them Adult Protective Services workers. The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center also includes the Financial Decision Tracker in its longitudinal study on cognitive changes, comparing Tracker results against cognitive status.

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Common acronyms used on Older Adult Nest Egg

ABPP — American Board of Professional Psychology

AD — Alzheimer’s Disease

APA — American Psychological Association

APS — Adult Protective Services

FDT — Financial Decision Tracker

FFI — Family & Friends Interview

FTC — Federal Trade Commission

FVA — Financial Vulnerability Assessment

LFDRS — Lichtenberg Financial Decision Rating Scale (now named the Financial Vulnerability Assessment)

LFDSS — Lichtenberg Financial Decision Screening Scale (now named the Financial Decision Tracker)

NAPSA — National Adult Protective Services Association

OANE — Older Adult Nest Egg

POA — Power of Attorney

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Explain the Risk Rating

After an account holder completes an interview, a Risk Rating is generated for the client. This shows, on a gradated color bar from green to yellow to red, the client’s relative degree of risk in making that specific financial decision. Green indicates little or no concerns or risk in the decision. Red indicates high risk and serious concerns. Red is a call to action for further testing or intervention. A numerical score is also assigned and next steps are suggested. In cases of high risk it may be wise to repeat the interview or assessment to insure data was entered correctly and the results are valid.

Published research validating the FDT (LFDSS) risk scoring.

Published research validating the FVA (LFDRS) risk scoring.

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Can I delete an interview?

Yes, you have the option to delete an interview by clicking the Delete Interview button and following the prompts.

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What if I enter the interview results several days after the interview?

You can assign the actual date of contact to the interview. Once you enter the results of the interview, you will have an on-screen option to alter the date assigned to the interview. If you do not alter, the program will default to the date you entered the data.


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