Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Podcast Episode – Meir Statman

With the Recent Events in Ukraine, Should I Make Changes to My Portfolio?

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

Author: Nell Schiffer

HIG Office Update: Under Construction in St. Louis

Our humble start in June 2005, before committing to the same office space we’re updating in 2019.

FYI! From January through March 2019, our St. Louis office will be under “reconstruction,” with our St. Louis team in temporary office space or working remotely. If you weren’t planning to visit us in person during the first quarter, you’d be unlikely to even notice that change is afoot. All of our contact information will remain the same throughout, and meeting space will be available in the building as needed.

Why the makeover? As our team continues to grow, we want to keep our administrative costs well-managed. We also want our office to remain a warm and inviting place for ourselves and our visitors. To achieve all that, we’re revamping our existing quarters. We look forward to reopening our doors to walk-in guests come April. Until then, pardon our dust!

Financial Elder Abuse: It Can Happen to You

Combine our aging population, longer life expectancies, and all the new-fangled ways to engage in old-fashioned thievery, and America faces a perfect storm of increased financial elder abuse.

It’s worth emphasizing, even those who are affluent, well-educated and/or generally street-savvy are not immune from the threat. In a 2015 survey, True Link Financial (a firm dedicated to protecting families against financial abuse) found that, “Seniors who are young, urban, and college educated lose more money than those who are not,” and “[f]inancially sophisticated seniors lose more to fraud, likely because they are comfortable moving larger amounts of money around.”

They also found that especially friendly (and/or lonely) seniors were at increased risk. For example, you probably know someone who fits this description: “You tell mom to hang up on telemarketers, but she is just too polite to hang up on anyone.”

First, we fiduciary advisors have an important role to play as our clients’ first lines of defense against financial elder abuse. Once we know you well – and thanks in part to recently enacted legislation – we and our allies at Schwab Institutional are better equipped to detect and follow up when something seems “off.”

Family members can and should help as well (although, tragically, they can also be among the worst perpetrators, given their ready access to the victim’s heartstrings).

Together, we can watch out for telltale signs of financial elder abuse.

Be on the lookout for erratic financial activities that don’t jive with your loved one’s past habits and levels of competency. For example, watch out for missing or inconsistent account statements, unpaid bills, and unexplained deposits or withdrawals.

There are softer signs as well. Be on alert if a loved one is displaying increased levels of anxiety or confusion about their money; or if a family member, “friend” or guardian may be isolating their victim from you or others.

Financial abuse can arrive in the form of an external threat – such as a phone scam, in which the victim is tricked into wiring money overseas to “rescue” a stranded relative, or a phishing email that tempts them into clicking on infected links. As touched on above, the abuse also can come from a trusted friend or family member, and it can continue for years.

If you suspect you or someone you know has become a victim of financial abuse, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to report it. It truly can happen to anyone, at any age! Hill Investment Group clients and their family members should feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. You also may wish to be in touch with other financial alliances, such as your bank or insurance provider, and consider submitting a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Would you like to know more about what we are doing Hill Investment Group to prevent abuse and fraud, and protect client information? We are here as a resource for you. Feel free to be in touch with any questions.

In Your Cyber-Corner: Protecting Your Child’s Credit Rating

So, have you checked your minor child’s credit reports lately … or ever? What’s that? You didn’t know your child had credit reports? Technically, they shouldn’t. Not unless you have opened credit lines for them yourself. Unfortunately, because most children’s identities are so pristine, they’re especially tempting targets for identity thieves. These lowest of the low are looking to steal your child’s identity and sully their credit, sometimes before “Junior” can even walk, let alone go shopping. Many parents don’t know to keep an eye out for this growing threat, so thieves can often have a field day before you realize anything is amiss. The cherry on the top of this awful mix: Once your child’s identity is stolen, you may not notice until they’re preparing for college, applying for their first line of credit, or embarking on similar adventures that are supposed to be fun and exciting. Yuck. We’re using today’s post to call attention to this critical threat. We’re not the only ones, either. The Wall Street Journal recently published an excellent overview of the issue, including simple steps you can and should take to monitor your child’s credit, and how to proceed if you find a problem. A good first step: Check to make sure your child doesn’t have a credit report you’re unaware of. You can do this by navigating to the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Recovery Steps page, scrolling down to “Special Forms of Identity Theft,” and selecting “Child Identity Theft.” Follow the directions there, and establish a schedule to repeat this activity periodically. You might also consider proactively establishing lines of credit for your children, and then immediately freezing them. This can help prevent someone else from opening a bogus line of credit using your children’s identity. Also, be on sharp lookout for warning signs. A prime example: your child starts receiving credit card offers or calls from collection agencies. In the past, you’d probably have laughed at these sorts of messages to your three-year-old. These days, they are likely to mean that somebody has stolen your child’s identity and is up to no good with it. The moral of the story: You can go a long way toward protecting your kiddos and reducing your anxiety by following these steps. If you feel inclined, do share this with others, and help us spread the word about this little-known threat.
Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Podcast Episode – Meir Statman

With the Recent Events in Ukraine, Should I Make Changes to My Portfolio?

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

Hill Investment Group