1. Lombardo, Susan PhD, RN

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Q: Many of my patients seem unprepared for the expenses associated with aging. Are there resources I can refer them to?


Americans are aging rapidly with persons over age 85 representing the fastest growing segment of the population. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, often referred to as the "Silver Tsunami," are retiring at about 10,000 per day. These two phenomena constitute a challenge for individuals, families and society, especially in economic and financial terms. The average social security income per month for a retired couple as of April 2022, is $2,739. Around 12% of men and 15% of women rely solely on their monthly Social Security check and for many households, the benefit isn't enough to cover their bills (


Older adults are heterogeneous, but a unique population with distinctive needs. One financial challenge of aging is caregiving of spouses, which can be costly. Female caregivers lost an estimated career total of $324,044 in 2010 ($440,283 in 2022 dollars) compared with men at $283,716 ($385,489 in 2022 dollars; Migliaccio, 2022). An important question is, who will address these financial issues, and who will be able to understand the unique needs of older adult?


According to Wikipedia, financial gerontology is a multidisciplinary field of study encompassing both academic and professional education, that integrates research on aging and human development with the concerns of finance and business. This discipline arose from a need to understand the relationship between aging and finance. The profession does not seek to teach finance, but to teach financial professionals about gerontology (Migliaccio, 2021). Professionals in this area include attorneys, human resource personnel, accountants, and healthcare providers. These specialists understand that people are responsible for their own financial success, but they need financial advisors to navigate a complex system. Some financial gerontologists have degrees in gerontology, whereas others start their careers as financial advisors and move on to financial gerontology after taking gerontology courses.


Medicare and Medicaid can be confusing; the financial gerontologist is skilled in assisting older adults through this process. Caregivers must be able to think proactively about the future of aging parents and financial gerontologists can play a role in providing caregivers with community resources. What is currently lacking in financial planning is the knowledge that financial gerontologists have about how needs change over time. Frail older adults are vulnerable to financial abuse and caregivers need to be prepared for the possibility of cognitive impairment. Financial gerontologists have knowledge about making homes more suitable for older adults as aging in place is preferred by most people. Financial gerontologists can also discuss options such as reverse mortgages (Timmermann, 2018, 2022).


Financial gerontology focuses on topics such as caregiving, family relationships, health and wellness, and economics. Their background in gerontology places them in a unique position to understand the aging brain and to utilize strategies that include the entire family. Moving from an ageist, problem-based view of aging to an emphasis on wellness and human, economic and social capital is the goal. People can send an email to mailto:[email protected] to find a financial gerontologist near them.




Migliaccio J. (2021). Financial gerontology: History of financial gerontology: Lessons-past, present and future. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 75(2), 21-27. [Context Link]


Migliaccio J. (2022). Financial gerontology and the not so terrible, avoidably horrible no good, could be better/could be worse, very long life. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 76(6), 20-24. [Context Link]


Timmermann S. (2018). Financial gerontology: What is it? Do we need it? What can we learn? Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 72(3), 37-42. [Context Link]


Timmermann S. (2022). Moving on: Thoughts and reflection. Financial Gerontology, 76(5), 26-30. [Context Link]