There are a number of reasons we ask you to meet with your wealth advisor on an annual basis. The most basic reason is that things change more than we might think over the course of a year, and even minor changes can have big impacts on our lives – and our financial plans. A less-than-expected bonus or raise, or a higher-than-expected bonus or raise, can really effect financial projections, and hence our investment advice to you. Major expenses, such as a wedding, lifestyle purchase (boats, vacation house, expensive trips, etc.), changing employment conditions, unexpected medical situations, and more can put larger-than-expected dents in our budgets, and will want to be accounted for in your financial plan. By sitting down once a year, it gives us a chance to review all of these life changes and make necessary adjustments to your financial plan. It also gives us a chance to review overall market and economic conditions with you, and allows us to ascertain if your current investment objectives are in line with your current strategy.

By meeting with us annually, you also help us meet our Fiduciary obligations to you. A Fiduciary is someone who must always act in your best interest, which means that we need current, relevant information in order to make those Fiduciary decisions on your behalf. We cannot continue to offer you investment advice based on out-of-date information. So that means that we need to be continually updating your information with the latest, most relevant, information. And an annual meeting is the best way to do that.

We know meetings are time consuming, but we can be as efficient as need be based on your time constraints. We are also flexible in how and where to meet, offering meetings in our office or in your home, video meetings via a variety of platforms, or even old-fashioned phone calls. Though if you do come into the office for your annual meeting, you leave with an SBC cookie, and having eaten a number of these over the years, I can assure you that they are worth the trip.

However you choose to satisfy your annual meeting obligation, please know that this meeting is an important component of what we do, and a vital way that we help meet our fiduciary obligation to you. So the next time one of our Client Service Associates calls to set one up with you, please keep these things in mind, and accept our thanks in advance!

Every year, countless numbers of seniors and other vulnerable adults are subjected to financial exploitation, sadly, in many cases, by people they know and trust. And with approximately 10,000 people every day turning 65 years old, older citizens are one of the fastest growing segments of our population. Whether you are a senior yourself or have senior loved ones in your life, please keep the following tips in mind to help recognize the signs of financial exploitation, and, if necessary, take action to protect yourself and the ones you love.

There are certain ‘red flags’ or changes in behavior that could be indicative of senior abuse or financial exploitation.  

New Friends or Connections

One of the biggest red flags are new people involved in a senior’s life. Is someone new injecting themselves into the senior’s life or taking over certain aspects of their life, such as their bill paying or helping them with their mail? While this could be an innocent desire to help, it could also be a sign of potential exploitation. New friends or social connections should be encouraged (social isolation is a major concern for the elderly and a cause of depression and a host of other health issues), but caution should be taken with new associates in a senior’s life. Should this new person act as a ‘gatekeeper’ by restricting access to the senior or not letting them out of their presence when among others, this should definitely be viewed as suspicious behavior.

Change to Legal or Financial Documents

Another red flag is a new desire to change financial or legal documents. Sudden or unexplained changes to trustees, beneficiaries, insurance policies, powers of attorney, and wills or other estate documents, especially when not recommended by a financial or legal professional, should be cause for concern.

Asset Tampering 

Other behavior that should raise red flags are unusual or large charges or cash withdrawals, missing property or other items from the home, unexplained bills or checks, or the inability to respond reasonably to questions about their finances, expenses or bills.

Steps to Take To Protect Loved Ones

What can you do if you suspect that you, or a loved one, friend, or acquaintance, is being exploited? You should report the matter to the state department of Adult Protective Services. While each state has different laws and rules, most states have a system for reporting and handling suspicious behavior. 

Indiana is a ‘Mandatory Reporting’ state, which means that if you believe or have reason to believe that a senior or endangered adult located in Indiana “is the victim of battery, neglect, or exploitation,” you are required to report the matter to Indiana Adult Protective Services. Reports can be made by phone or online at If you believe that the exploitation is happening at the time, or that the senior or endangered adult is in immediate danger, you should call 911 right away to report the matter.  

FINRA also runs a Securities Helpline for Seniors, where senior investors can receive assistance and support from FINRA staff related to various securities topics. The Helpline operates 9 am to 5 pm eastern time Monday through Friday, and can be reached at the following toll free number: 844-57HELPS, or (844) 574-3577. Additional information about the Helpline can be found at

FINRA, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the SEC all recommend that clients have at least one listed Trusted Contact on their investment accounts.  And we here at SBC second that recommendation. But what is a Trusted Contact and why do all of these organizations recommend the use of one?

A Trusted Contact is someone that you authorize us to contact on your behalf should we have concerns about your health or welfare, or are unable to otherwise contact you directly. This person can be anyone that you choose and trust—a family member, close friend, a professional such as your lawyer or accountant, or virtually anyone you wish who is at least eighteen years of age. You may be under the mistaken impression that if we have concerns about you or your welfare that we could contact one of your beneficiaries or a close family member that we are aware of, but due to privacy restrictions, that is not the case. We are only legally able to contact those who you have listed in writing as a Trusted Contact. You can have more than one Trusted Contact, and you can remove a Trusted Contact at any time in writing. Having a Trusted Contact provides you with an additional layer of security because it allows us the ability to speak with someone who knows you well if the need ever arises.

Please note that having a Trusted Contact does not confer any legal obligations or authority to that person. This person would not have trading authority or other ability to access your funds or securities, or otherwise transact any business on your behalf.

If you would like to list one or more Trusted Contacts, please contact our office and we’ll have the required Forms sent out to you. If you are not sure if you have a Trusted Contact currently listed, please reach out and we will look up any Trusted Contacts currently on file. Should you have any additional questions about this topic, feel free to contact your account representative. You can find our general contact information at

While listing a Trusted Contact is completely voluntary, it is highly recommended as additional protection, so in the off chance we ever notice anything amiss, we will have the ability to contact someone you know and trust. You can review an informational posting relating to Trusted Contacts from the SEC on the website at

All of us, no matter what our income or financial status, are subject to being a victim of financial fraud and other scams.  Both the number of these scams and their sophistication means that we should all be vigilant and protective of our personal information.  According to the credit card bureau Experian, 1 in 20 Americans are the victim of identity theft or related financial fraud every year, with a cost of approximately $17 billion. But the good news is that we can all take some steps to protect ourselves from these frauds and scams.

The most common type of fraud is the unauthorized use of credit or debit cards, where your card or account number is used to make unauthorized purchases.  This is followed by account takeovers, where someone attempts to take over your investment account, bank account, or credit card account, preventing you from accessing it and taking money or making unauthorized purchases from it.  The opening of new accounts or loans is yet another type of fraud.  This is where a new account or loan in your name is opened, and when spent or drained of funds, the resulting default gets charged to you.  Types of accounts opened often include credit cards, bank loans, car loans or leases, or utility or phone accounts.  Finally, governmental, tax, or employment fraud is used to generate identification in your name, apply for tax refunds in your name, or receive other government benefits in your name.  This type of fraud exploded during the Covid pandemic, when many people found that their identity had been used to apply for unemployment benefits or other covid related benefits.

The most important thing that you can do is to put a ‘lock’ or ‘freeze’ on your credit.  This will prevent unauthorized individuals from opening an account in your name, or using your credit or information to open an account in their name. While it is a bit time consuming to do, this is one of the best things that you can do to protect yourself from fraud, so the small investment in time is really worth it.  You can fill out a freeze online with the three major credit bureaus, by phone, or by mail.  The easiest way is online, where you can go to the websites of all three bureaus, answer a number of questions to verify your identity, and where you will be given passwords and pins.  KEEP THOSE PASSWORDS AND PINS in a safe place, for if you ever need to temporarily unfreeze your accounts (for example, to apply for a loan, open a new credit card or bank account, or the like) having ready access to those passwords and pins will make the unfreezing process a lot swifter.  You can also call each of the credit bureaus and do a phone version of the online forms.  Finally, you can do the request by mail, but this is by far the most cumbersome method, as the amount of documents that need to be mailed in, and the time to review them, makes this a last resort choice for most people.  You can usually request a free copy of your credit report at the same time, which is another great way to monitor open accounts and check for discrepancies.

The next best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to carefully monitor your account activity.  Most credit and debit cards have an option where you can be texted or emailed any time your account is used to make a purchase.  Be sure to enable this feature for all of your credit and bank/financial accounts.  By noticing any unauthorized transactions early, you can prevent further fraud, as well quickly notify your financial institution for reimbursement.

You should also pick unique, complex passwords, and regularly change passwords for important services, such as email, bank and financial accounts, and credit card accounts.  And be sure to choose different passwords for your email accounts and financial accounts!  If your email password is hacked and it’s the same password that you use for your bank or financial accounts, you’re putting yourself at needless risk.  Many people find it best to use a Password Manager.  This is a program that will generate and maintain unique, complex passwords for most of your online accounts.  While some charge a small annual or monthly fee, there are a number of free program that you can use as well.  PCMag has listed some of the better ones here

Also, always authorize two-factor authentication (sometimes known as multi-factor authentication) when available.  Most all email services, financial companies, and bank offer this (in fact, many require use of two-factor authentication).  This is where you are only permitted access after entering your correct username and password, as well as entering a unique, ever changing password or pin that is sent to a phone or email account.  This way, even if someone does gain access to your username and password, without access to the device or account to which that second password or pin is sent, they would not be able to access that account information.

Lastly, always be mindful of where and how you are accessing your personal information.  Utilize secure online connections every time you check private accounts, and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when you can.  Never check your private accounts or financial accounts from an unsecure network connection – hotels, airports, and other ‘open’ networks are not the time and place to be accessing such sensitive information.  Wait until you are back at your home or office or elsewhere where you can be assured of a secure connection.

And one more thing – don’t forget paper documents!  Credit card offers, mailed statements, mailed bills that include account numbers, tax returns, and the like should always be disposed of properly.  If you have not done so already, purchase a cheap paper shredder and use it to securely shred all such paper documents.

By following the above advice, you can dramatically increase the chances that your private, personal financial information will remain secure from criminal activity.  And while some of the above steps do require a bit of a learning curve or time commitment to set up, it is time well invested – for your peace of mind and for the safety and security of you and your family!