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Cynthia Healy, CPA, CFE, CSA

2019 CSA Conference

 

Cynthia Healy, CPA, CFE, CSA

President
Security Financial Advisors, Inc.
chealy@securityadv.com

 

 

Courageous Conversations - Finding Your Voice

It is human nature to avoid the unpleasant, the difficult, and the situations that bring sorrow.  Yet we also well know the importance of communication.  Still, too often we put off the hard talks with our children, our spouses and, most especially with our parents or other seniors with whom we have a relationship.  The role reversal in children, or others, becoming a source of support to aging loved ones can be a difficult shift.     

Successfully navigating this change is key to helping the senior continue living as independently as possible, for as long as possible.  And, sound management of money, no matter what the amount, is a cornerstone in maintaining a good quality of life.     

Yet equally important is the courage to have the often-uncomfortable but necessary conversations about retirement savings, driving ability, health directives and assisted living.  Maintaining independence is the focus with these issues.  Having stable finances plays a critical role in how these situations play out during the aging process.   

A CPA for thirty-five years, Cynthia Healy has long recognized the need to lend a voice to those not able to speak for themselves, whether it be in areas of finance, health, home or family relations.  As a trustee, she has combined oversight of her clients’ finances with advocacy for the individuals she serves, a unique protection that supports their engagement in life-impacting decisions.   

Finding your Voice, as Cynthia terms it, means having the courage to talk about how money impacts the dynamics of aging.  It is something she has made her mission to share with others.     

Cynthia’s approach to managing these courageous conversations pairs careful planning with common sense techniques that keep those dialogues on neutral ground.  She teaches the difference between planning and scripting, learning and listening, and offering options and opinions.  Cynthia teaches how to open a conversation, how to frame it neutrally, remain focused, re-direct negative reactions and how to know and when to pause the dialogue.   

Specific situations Cynthia addresses include how to talk to seniors about concerns regarding their driving, their ability to keep up the house, or that they might be giving more charitably than they can afford.  She shows how to break the conversations into manageable steps that include the senior’s participation in the vital decisions about their future.   

Her outreach to educate others to speak up for themselves has inspired many courageous conversations with life-changing results.     

Learning Objectives

  • Tools will be presented to teach participants how to approach difficult conversations with seniors and aging parents
  • Importance of finances with issues of aging
  • The difference between planning and scripting difficult conversations

About Cynthia

Cindy Healy found her voice working for the past fifteen years as a trustee with a roster of clients confident in her ability to manage their money and confident in her respect of their interests and independence.

A CPA for thirty-five years, Cindy has long recognized the need to lend a voice to those not able to speak for themselves, whether it be in management of their money, health, home or family relations.  As a trustee, she has combined oversight of her clients’ finances with advocacy for the individuals she serves, a unique protection that supports their engagement in life-impacting decisions.

In her work with seniors, Cindy has made it her constant mission to educate others how to protect the elderly from crimes of financial abuse and to help families successfully navigate the path forward through the aging process.  

It is the heart-rending conversations in which she has been involved as a trustee -- about declining abilities, restricted driving and assisted living -- and the inspiring stories Cindy has witnessed that have encouraged her to expand her work to promote awareness about protection of the elderly and disabled while maintaining respect for the voice of the individual.

Cindy began her career as an accountant and learned first-hand the frequency of financial crimes targeting seniors, the challenges of successful prosecution and the great toll – far beyond financial – on those victimized.  She knows that all-too-often a few simple steps taken as a safeguard could have prevented the situations she has seen.

In 2003, Cindy formed Security Financial Advisors, a company she specifically designed to combine the fiduciary duties of a trustee with the personal intervention necessary to preserve the senior’s independence and include their participation in the vital decisions about their future.

Furthering her goal to increase awareness, in 2014 Cindy created GoGrey.com, an online resource meant to provide education about the crimes of elder abuse with the goal of inspiring the public to better protect seniors. 

Cindy is now uniting her service as a trustee/advocate and her promotion of education with the development of a new website, Cindy Healy:  Find Your Voice ®.  It will be her platform for scheduling speaking engagements and one-to-one coaching sessions for individuals that want the benefit of her in-depth instruction and insights.  This new venture will also offer resources ranging from frank online discussions; how to handle “Courage Conversations”; informational videos; and blogs.

In Finding your Voice, Cindy is training others to know when and why to speak up and how to frame the dialogue with a senior to maintain a positive focus on sensitive issues such as restricting driving or moving to assisted living.  She knows the importance of conversations that matter and their impact.

It is Cindy’s belief that finding your voice should be a goal for all ages.  She combines her insightful approach to managing the money that drives the voice of so many of our dreams and uses her unique perspective on issues that touch all of our lives:  such as growing older with dignity and grace, and doing so free of concerns about abuse, financial or otherwise.

As part of her ongoing goal to educate and to bring to light crimes of financial elder abuse, Cindy continues to work closely with law enforcement, government agencies and the public.  She has served as an expert witness in Superior Court on embezzlement and other financial fraud cases.  Additionally, she has testified as a forensic expert and advisor in civil court cases.  She was appointed by Adult Protective Services to serve on its Financial Abuse Services Team, which was formed to improve investigations and interventions on behalf of those victimized. 

As a result of her legislative advocacy, Cindy was included in a documentary film shown to Congress regarding financial abuse of seniors.  She has been interviewed on both television and radio and her work has been featured in several magazine articles.

Her recent speaking engagements include the Elder Justice Summit in March 2018, the Monterey Public Library’s 2018 series on financial abuse and its estate and gift planning workshop held earlier in the year.  She was a featured speaker at the National Conference of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors in 2015.  Her outreach includes presentations to those in specific professional service industries such as bankers and Realtors.  Additionally, Cindy has addressed numerous meetings of the Rotary, Kiwanis and similar service organizations as well as many senior residency associations and other community based senior-oriented organizations.

She has lent her skills as a treasurer for a number of non-profits including chapters of the American Red Cross, the Boys & Girls Clubs and the United Way.  Cindy has also served on the board of directors for the Alliance on Aging, Coastal Kids Home Care and Goodwill Industries.

Cindy is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Senior Advisor.  She has been designated an estate planning specialist by the California Society of CPAs.

Cindy is a believer in the triumph of the human spirit, the angels among us and the wisdom of God.  In her spare time, she enjoys her grandchildren and traveling. 

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