Are Your Clients Losing Their Minds? Identifying and Dealing With Dementia in Financial Planning Clients


Cognitive impairment is a growing problem in an aging society. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that right now about 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease – and 5.3 million of them are 65 and older. That means that one person in ten is afflicted with this specific type of dementia, and there are other forms of cognitive impairment as well that also affect financial decision-making.

Just as they are becoming more vulnerable, the world’s elderly are amassing a large share of the world’s wealth. Data released by the U.S. Census bureau finds 584,000 people were potentially liable for the estate tax in 2013. Out of that very wealthy group, the very oldest – people in their 80s and 90s – controlled $1.2 trillion in wealth or 17 percent of the total, despite making up only a tiny slice of the population. People under 50, representing about 43% of the population, accounted for just $1 trillion.

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