How financial advisers can spot signs of diminished mental capacity

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If you’re concerned about diminished mental capacity as you age, here’s a tip: You might first notice problems with personal finances.

This isn’t to say you will start racking up outlandish credit card bills or suddenly turn into an obsessed day trader. More likely, you could start neglecting or messing up the small, routine aspects of money management that most people take for granted.

“We’re all bound to have some slip in cognitive functions over time,” said Sandra Adams, a certified financial planner at the Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Michigan. “Working with numbers … is one of the first things to go.”

Adams spoke recently on the topic at a conference sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. A key message was that financial advisers often are in a prime position to spot problems with clients before others become aware of them. Many of her…

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