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Managing Someone Else’s Money: Virginia


Managing Someone Else’s Money: Virginia graphic

Have you ever been asked to manage money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions? Millions of Americans are facing this responsibility, which can be very overwhelming. But it’s also a great opportunity to help someone you care about, and protect them from scams and fraud.

Virginia residents: There’s a guide for you!

To help financial caregivers all over the country, we released the Managing Someone Else’s Money guides in 2013.

But now we’re providing additional help: state-specific guides and resources for people managing money for older relatives and friends. Today we are releasing a set of several Managing Someone Else’s Money guides specific to the state of Virginia. These state guides will make it easier for caregivers to follow Virginia’s unique rules and to find help close to home.
The Virginia guides are easy-to-understand booklets for different kinds of caregivers.

See our guides for:

The guides help you to be a financial caregiver in three ways:

  • They walk you through your duties—and give you tips on Virginia laws and procedures.
  • They tell you how to watch out for scams and financial exploitation, and what to do if your loved one is a victim.
  • They tell you where you can go for help from agencies and service providers in Virginia and elsewhere.

You can also order free print copies (including bulk orders) online.

Following the release of the Virginia guides, the Bureau has plans to follow up with similar guides for five other states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Oregon.

Also, we’ll make it easy for legal and aging experts in other states to adapt the guides for their states, by providing tips and templates for doing so.

We’re working hard to empower older Americans to have a secure financial future. Sometimes family members, caregivers and others in the community must pitch in. We’re here to help you, too.

Save the date, Springfield!


Join us for an event in Springfield, Va., about financial management for seniors and their caregivers. You can watch a livestream of the event on our blog.

The event will take place on Monday, August 17 at 1 p.m. EDT at:

Greenspring (a senior living community)
Village Square Theater
7410 Spring Village Drive
Springfield, VA. 22150

The event will feature remarks from Director Richard Cordray and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Financial caregiving experts will be on-hand to answer questions.

This event is open to the public, but limited space is available and an RSVP is required. Send us an email to RSVP.

If you need an accommodation to participate, you can make a request.

See you there!

Sound off on student loan servicing

A few weeks ago, we announced that we’re gathering information about student loan servicers — the companies responsible for collecting and processing student loan payments. Although student loans are usually thought of as a younger American issue, in reality there are an increasing number of older Americans paying back student loan debt. Many older consumers struggle with student loan debt, sometimes forcing them to delay retirement or threatening their financial security when in retirement.

Older consumers may hold student loan debt because they are still paying off loans that were:

  • accrued when they were much younger
  • acquired during the course of a mid- or late-career switch, or
  • taken out for the education of their children or grandchildren.

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, here are some concerning trends about older consumers and student loan debt:

  • Between 2005 and 2013, outstanding federal student loan debt owed by older borrowers grew from less than $3 billion to more than $18 billion, more than a six-fold increase.
  • Delinquency rates for older borrowers doubled between 2005 and 2012, rising from 6 to 12.5 percent.
  • Older borrowers defaulted on federal loans at much higher rates than other borrowers. More than a quarter of federal loans owed by borrowers ages 65-74 are in default. For borrowers 75 years or older, more than half of outstanding federal loans are in default.
  • The number of older consumers whose social security benefits were offset for the collection of federal student loan debt increased nearly 400 percent from 2002 through 2013. For consumers 65 or older the increase was roughly 500 percent.

Many older consumers who have submitted complaints to the Bureau about student loans report being billed for loans they never borrowed, receiving harassing and abusive debt collection calls, being wrongly charged fees because of the servicer’s accounting errors, and having their credit rating impacted by incorrect reporting of student loan information.

We now want to hear from you. If you’ve had problems with student loan debt or run into repayment roadblocks, share your story. Here are just a few things you can tell us about:

  • Disclosure, accessibility, and availability of options to release a co-signer from their legal obligation to repay a co-signed student loan
  • Disclosure, accessibility, and availability of options to discharge or reduce student loan debt in the event of the death or disability of a borrower or co-signer
  • Processing, allocation, and application of loan payments
  • The imposition and disclosure of late fees
  • The complaint resolution process (including how allegations of fraud are resolved)
  • Furnishing of credit information to credit reporting agencies

To share your story for the public record, go to or click this link to send us an email. Please don’t include sensitive information like account numbers and social security numbers. Submit your input and ideas by July 13, 2015. Having trouble with a link in this blog post? You can also submit an official comment online.

If you experience any problem with a student loan, you can submit a complaint online or call us at (855) 411-2372. We’ll forward your complaint to the company and work to get a response from them.

Consumer advisory: Don’t be misled by reverse mortgage advertising


Reverse Mortgage Ads photo

You might see enticing images of youthful retirees on the golf course or enjoying other leisure activities in a reverse mortgage advertisement. A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan that allows homeowners 62 and older to borrow against the accrued equity in their homes. The loan must be paid back when the borrower dies, moves, or no longer lives in the home.

Ads for reverse mortgages are found on television, radio, in print, and on the internet, and many ads feature celebrity spokespeople discussing the benefits of reverse mortgages without mentioning risks. We looked closely at many ads and found incomplete and inaccurate statements used to describe the loans. In addition, most of the important loan requirements were often buried in fine print if they were even mentioned at all. These advertisements may leave older homeowners with the false impression that reverse mortgage loans are a risk-free solution to financial gaps in retirement.

In conducting our study, we met with older homeowners in Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles to learn about their thoughts and impressions of reverse mortgage ads. After looking at a variety of ads, many homeowners we spoke to didn’t realize reverse mortgage loans need to be repaid. Instead, some thought they could access their equity interest-free, or that the federal government provided the money as a benefit to seniors. Homeowners told us that the most attractive messages in the ads were “you can live in your home as long as you want,” and that you “still own your home.” Many ads, however, didn’t mention that seniors could lose their homes if they don’t satisfy the loan requirements, such as paying property taxes or homeowners insurance.

Seniors said the ads made reverse mortgages look like a good way to travel and enjoy retirement while they were still young and active. Yet Americans are living longer, more active lives than ever before. Reverse mortgage borrowers can outlive their loan funds by borrowing without careful planning.

Reverse mortgage ads don’t always tell the whole story, so consider these facts when you see advertisements:

1. A reverse mortgage is a home loan, not a government benefit

Reverse mortgages have fees and compounding interest that must be repaid, just like other home loans. With most reverse mortgages, federal insurance guarantees that borrowers will receive their loan funds if their lender has financial difficulty or if their loan balance exceeds the value of their home. However, borrowers pay for this insurance and it’s not a government benefit.

2. You can lose your home with a reverse mortgage

When a reverse mortgage ad says you’ll retain ownership of your home, or that you can live there as long as you want to, don’t take these messages at face value. These statements are true only if you continue to meet all requirements of the reverse mortgage. If you fall behind on your property taxes or homeowners insurance, are absent from your home for longer than six months, or fail to satisfy other requirements, you can trigger a loan default. If you don’t take care of the default in time, the lender can foreclose on your home. Sometimes these requirements are listed in fine print, but not always. If you have a question about reverse mortgage requirements, contact a HUD-approved housing counselor near you.

3. Without a good plan, you could outlive your loan money

After seeing a reverse mortgage ad, you might think that a reverse mortgage guarantees your financial security no matter how long you live. Americans are living longer today than they were just a generation ago. Make sure you have a financial plan in place that accounts for a long life. That way if you need to tap your home equity, you won’t do it too early and risk running out of retirement resources later in life.

If you have a problem with your reverse mortgage

Check out Ask CFPB to learn more about reverse mortgages. You can also download a printer-friendly version of this information to share with friends or clients.

If you’re having a problem with your reverse mortgage or having problems getting through to your mortgage servicer, you can submit a complaint to us online or by calling (855) 411-2372 or TTY/TDD (855) 729- 2372. We’ll forward your complaint to the company and work to get you a response within 15 days.

For more information about how reverse mortgages work and questions to ask, read our guide to reverse mortgages for older consumers and their families. Do you or a loved one have a reverse mortgage loan? Here are three steps you should take.

Planning for financial decisions as you age


Though it’s hard to think about, as we age, sometimes we lose the ability to manage our own money and property. We often think about our financial capability, like our ability to drive, as an important measure of our independence. But planning ahead may actually help you stay in control.

Here at the CFPB, we worked with our federal partners at the Securities and Exchange Commission to create a Consumer Advisory and Investor Bulletin on planning for the future, when you may not be able to manage your money and property. This is often referred to as diminished capacity. The advisory has advice on planning for your financial future, getting your documents in order, and watching out for financial exploitation.

If age-related decline seems far in the distant future, this advisory is still a useful tool for you too, as it can help you help your parents or other loved ones. It stresses the importance of talking with them about advance planning before it’s too late. It also has good tips to help you to manage their money when the time comes. Working together across generations can help older Americans have a safe and secure financial future. Check out more of our work to protect older Americans.