Simon Read: Elderly shouldn't be forced to ask carers for money advice

 

Not all older people are struggling with debt. There are plenty who are comfortable enough and some who are positively well-off.

But all, it seems, struggle to find decent advice. For those in debt it is often pride that stops them from turning to charities or other organisations that can help them. But for others it can simply be because they have no idea where to turn.

Research by academics at Bournemouth University and the University of Hull for accountants' body ICAS showes that pensioners with "modest incomes" are turning to health and social care workers for advice on managing their income, pensions, investments and savings.

Nurses and social care workers also reported being approached by older people for advice on financial matters. It's fairly obvious why people do so: it's because they trust those who are involved in their care.

None of the older people surveyed had heard of the Government's Money Advice Service and there was a widespread lack of trust in financial advisers. That demonstrates how far the industry has strayed from the notion of helping people. Not so long ago a friendly bank manager would be the fount of all financial knowledge. Now, of course, the opposite is the case and bank staff are forced to flog insurance policies or unsuitable or expensive investment products.

The academics recommend that advisers and healthcare workers work together to offer financial planning to vulnerable people. That sounds a start. But we need more solutions to help vulnerable people.

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