January 2004

Moira Moldenhauer -
Seniors Can Trust Her

by Joseph H. RADDER

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All too frequently we read, or hear on radio or TV, of some person or organization taking advantage of seniors. Sometimes these unscrupulous people masquerade as "financial advisors". It's no wonder many seniors are wary when they look for financial counsel.

One financial advisor seniors can trust is Moira Moldenhauer, owner of Seniors Financial, a division of Moldenhauer Advisory Service. Not only is Ms. Moldenhauer a person with the highest standards of integrity, she is certified by the Society of Senior Advisors, one of only twelve people in western New York certified to meet the Society's highest ethical standards. And only a few of these twelve are financial advisors. Others are lawyers, health care professionals, clergy, and social workers. Moira believes she is one of a small group of "Financial Gerontologists."

"Since 1982 we have been helping people to design their individual financial plans. We help them create wealth, protect their wealth and build financial security for their families", Moldenhauer said.

Six years ago it became apparent that there was a real need for financial advisory services tailored for seniors. That's when Moira Moldenhauer joined her husband Dwight Moldenhauer's organization and established Seniors Financial. "Dwight's clients were aging and we were aging, and it was clear that seniors had special needs." As people approach their retirement years, they move from building their wealth and providing for their families to protecting their wealth and building a secure retirement.

We asked how people learn about Seniors Financial. Moldenhauer said I have decided that the best way for me to serve the community is to be an education model. We go out and do community programs like dinner seminars. We appear on radio and television, and write articles about our work and things seniors want to know about the financial world. (Editor's note: Moira Moldenhauer writes monthly for Living Prime Time. Her column "Your Finances" can be found in this issue on page 22).

"I recognize," she went on, "that people are sort of disenfranchised once they retire from the system. They become 'faceless". People think that there isn't the need for financial planning, that they've already done all of that, they've educated their kids, they're on a fixed income etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually things become more complicated as they get into their retirement years."

Serving people comes naturally to Moira Moldenhauer. For a number of years, she was in the health care field as director of Women's Health at Buffalo General Hospital. "My passion was always serving the underserved…The faceless, the disenfranchised that I spoke of, are very apparent among women and children."

She left that position about eight years ago to stay at home with her young children. Some time later her mother, and then her mother-in-law, developed Alzheimer's disease—and through that experience she learned that there was really no one resource that people can go to for financial advice before long term care is needed..

"It then became clear to me that I could take my experience in women's health and transfer that into serving seniors. That led me to the Society of Certified Seniors Advisors, which deals with much much more than just the financial needs of the retiree, accessing health care services, housing, and legal resources, for example."

One advantage Moira Moldenhauer has, which becomes an advantage to her clients, is that she doesn't need to sell anything. The first objective is to fill the client's needs. If a financial product recommended by Moldenhauer Advisory Services fills a need, all well and good. But sale of a product is not a necessary part of the equation.

"As a financial planner, I'm very optimistic that the national economy is turning around", she said with confidence. " I see it happening daily in the kind of return that various plans are experiencing. It is slowly coming back. And I do believe that our economy will once again be healthy. She is similarly optimistic about the local economy. "I'm very optimistic about Buffalo", she says. "This area has such wonderful potential. We know how many exciting things are happening in bioinformatics and the development of technology companies in this community."

Moira Harmon was one of eight children. "Ours is an Irish Catholic family" she said, "but growing up in Cheektowaga, I learned to love Polish cooking and have an ear for the Polish language." Moira attended Pine Hill School, Cheektowaga Central High School and Trocaire College, where she was elected Distinguished Alumna in 1986. Her mother, Joan Hamilton Harmon was a stay-at-home Mom who had her hands full with eight kids. Her father, Robert Harmon, was a tool and die inspector. She has four sisters and three brothers.

Moira Harmon and Dwight Moldenhauer, "my partner, my love, and best friend", were married in 1988. They have two boys. Egon, 14, is a wrestler, and his brother Adler, 13, plays hockey. Both attend Nichols School.

Moldenhauer's goal is "to live a long and healthy life with my husband and best friend, raising happy children with the same work ethic my family has. Dwight and I both feel that the best gift we can give our children is to be philanthropists in the community. We give of ourselves by serving on many boards and giving as much money as we possibly can. We like the fact that our children see us working for the community." Indeed, Buffalo/Niagara is fortunate to have people like the Moldenhauers working to make this a better place for everybody.

Joseph H. Radder, a frequent contributor to Living Prime Time, is author of a new book, “Young Jesus, the Missing Years”. For more information, phone 1-888-280-7715 or visit www.1stbooks.com


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