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Fintech and the Case for Senior-Based Solutions

Photo by Noelle Otto from Pexels

Recently I came across an interesting story of how tech native GenZ kids were being paired with aging Boomers to help them navigate a variety of contemporary technology tools – from their smartphones to their SnapChat apps.

At a time when sneers like “OK Boomer” quickly trend on social media, it was a refreshing reminder of the role younger generations can play in making some of the dramatic changes in society – including technology – easier for their older family members, friends, neighbors, and even perfect strangers to navigate.

With this in mind, I wanted to take a look at how entrepreneurs are leveraging fintech to do the same thing: make it easier for seniors to not just participate in online life, but to thrive there.

Ensuring that the online and mobile worlds are a safer place for seniors is one of the important contributions that technology can make. EverSafe, which introduced its solution to Finovate audiences at FinovateFall 2014, specializes in leveraging technology to help protect seniors against financial exploitation. The company’s software examines the senior’s financial transactions and credit report on a daily basis, looking for unexpected patterns and other anomalies that may indicate potentially fraudulent activity. Once suspicious activity is detected, the user is alerted immediately and, if the activity is confirmed, a resolution process is started.

Earlier this year, Eversafe lent its technology to researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland. The goal is to help medical professionals uncover cognitive test markers that correlate with changes in the financial behavior of seniors. Interviewed in Alzheimer’s News Today, Dr. Kathy Wild noted that these insights could help determine when and to what extent independent living is the best option for a given senior. The results of Wild’s study are expected in 2021.

Eversafe was founded in 2012 by Howard Tischler, who is the company’s CEO. The firm is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland.

Best of Show winner at FinovateFall 2018, Golden offers technology geared toward helping older Boomers take care of their parents, many of whom are entering assisted living communities. The company’s Financial Caregiving Assistant app and Family Collaboration platform provide an array of services such as security for online accounts; automatic, on-time billpay; expense review; and a family document vault. The offering also helps seniors and caretakers to discover government benefits and drug discounts they may be eligible for. Partnerships with a variety of financial services companies gives Golden users the ability to offer branded services – including legal, financial, estate, and wealth management services – to their customers, as well.

The first company to win AARP’s Financial Innovation Award and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Aging Innovation Challenge, Golden was launched in 2016 by CEO Evin Ollinger, and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Even among hardened fintech fans there was an audible gasp in the room when FinovateAsia 2019 Best of Show winner Bereev‘s CEO announced bluntly that her company’s goal was to help you “plan for your death.” Then again, it’s hard not to take a company that uses the Twitter hashtag #DeathPlan seriously.

Malaysia-based, Bereev digitizes and simplifies a life-planning process that is not only complex, but is also typically paper-intensive and burdensome. In explaining the origins of the company, founder and CEO Izumi Inoue compared the unexpected, end-of-life experience of her grandmother with the passing of her grandfather soon afterward, who had learned from his wife’s death the importance of end-of-life planning. And not just for important documents and the numbers to bank accounts, either. More personal instructions like which friends to contact were also a part of Inoue’s grandfather’s plan. They are a part of Bereev, as well.

A legacy planning solution, Bereev helps guide an individual’s family on what to do in the event of their injury, incapacitation, or death. Bereev has four components to building this contingency plan: a digital vault for important documents such as wills and insurance policies; the ability to record and save “last words” to be sent or shared with loved ones; and an accessibility console that enables the user to determine who gets access to which data and information in Bereev.

The fourth component is a guided journey that helps ensure that users provide clear instructions on how they want their affairs handled after death. The solution is set up so that all the user has to is answer a pair of questions each week, and Bereev will build out over time a personalized set of end-of-life instructions based on the user’s responses. “Before you know it,” Inoue said, “you’ll have very clear instructions left behind.”

Poignantly, Inoue notes that there are many innovations in technology in general and fintech in specific, that help you prepare and take advantage of the happier times in life: getting married, buying a first home, planning for a family. “But what about the darker and tougher times in life,” Inoue asks, “who is going to help you then? At Bereev, our goal is to help you cope through those difficult moments of life – with technology.”