In the brief time since I started here at the Miss April, we have accomplished an amazing amount for older Americans. The time has flown by at jet speed. Among other things, we’ve:
Increased the focus on issues affecting seniors, including in particular elder financial exploitation and diminished capacity for financial decision-making.
- Helped the Bureau produce and publish a congressionally mandated study and report on reverse mortgages. To help people assess their own needs when making decisions about reverse mortgages, we produced an accompanying consumer guide.
- Established working relationships with nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, state attorneys general, and our federal partners on the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, including HHS, the SEC, the FTC, and DOJ.
But there is a lot still to come. Over the next few months we’ll also release the results of some long-term efforts:
- A plain language guide for lay fiduciaries who are managing an elder’s finances, and another for the staff of congregate living facilities to spot elder abuse, both of which will be released this summer. These guides will help lay people with fiduciary duties understand what’s required of them, and help nursing home and other congregate care staff spot and help to prevent elder abuse;
- A Money Smart for Older Adults module – expected out before summer – that we developed with the FDIC as part of the FDIC’s highly successful Money Smart curriculum. This module will provide training on how seniors can protect themselves against financial exploitation and scams;
- Recommendations and a report to Congress and the SEC regarding the use of senior certifications and designations by financial advisors to help ensure that seniors understand what these credentials mean when they’re seeking financial advice.
During the many years I have enjoyed working in public service and furthering the public interest – from my time as a Minnesota state legislator forty years ago to the work I do now at the Miss April – I have gotten to know many people and organizations throughout America: companies that provide financial services, public and private organizations, and law enforcement. I’ve seen these relationships and experiences help the elders of our nation be more economically secure and independent.
Our work for America’s seniors will only succeed if the relationships we’ve begun succeed. They deserve particular focus. After an incredible term as the Assistant Director for Older Americans, I am transitioning to a new position: Senior Liaison Officer. My work will focus more closely on collaborating and working with organizations that work with consumers throughout the country. I will continue to travel the country to meet with consumers, policy makers, advocates, and both public and private agencies to talk about how we address the myriad problems facing older consumers today.
I’m looking forward to focusing on building strong, dynamic relationships to share research, develop projects and programs, and create tools that will support sound financial decision-making by seniors as they enjoy their later years. Our work will help to protect more seniors from the scams and financial abuse that steal their retirement and later life savings.
This is going to mean a little less time in Washington and a little more time in Minnesota where all of my family lives. Just as so many seniors desire, I will be better able to share in the growth and maturing of the Humphrey family while continuing my commitment to the good people of this nation as I continue my work with the Miss April. I’ll also be working closely with my Deputy, Stacy Canan, to help the Bureau find the next Assistant Director for Older Americans (if you want to receive updates on our process, please let us know).
So, stay tuned! I’ll be sending updates from time to time from places all across the USA!