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Protecting a Loved One's Finances: There’s an App for That

Carefull, which enlists advisors in the 'circle of care,' launches with $3.2 million in seed funding.

A financial technology startup with the mission of helping family members, caregivers and trusted advisors organize and protect the financial lives of aging loved ones announced its formal launch this week along with an initial seed funding round of $3.2 million.  

Called Carefull, the mobile application—and one with financial advisors in mind from the start—enables a circle of caregivers to connect, communicate and jointly monitor a loved one’s finances.

“Advisors are really important stakeholders here,” said Carefull co-founder Todd Rovak. They make up a key component of the U.S. population of caregivers, which is currently estimated to number more than 45 million adults based on analysis of data from surveys and research published by AARP and Merrill Lynch.

“It is estimated that anywhere from $36 billion to $50 billion is stolen through elder financial abuse each year,” said Carefull CEO Max Goldman, noting that caregivers attempt to act as the first line of defense by monitoring their loved one’s accounts for suspicious activity.

“The advisor often sits at the middle of this circle of caregivers and sometimes is the frontline—the first person to see this is often the advisor, ‘what’s going on with this account?’ and then notifies the family,” said Rovak.

Carefull, which is a mobile application available on both Apple iOS mobile devices and Android devices, combines transaction data (using account aggregation through Plaid) and financial behavior monitoring, family communication and even educational content into one place.

Through analytics and machine learning on the application’s back end, any suspicious transactions or behaviors, whether a large unexpected payment, a provider that is new or unknown to caregivers, or bills being paid twice, (among many other things being watched for) are tagged and an alert is sent to the “circle of care.” The network can then securely discuss and decide the actual danger or lack thereof in the activity.


The Carefull app

Carefull is free to try for 30 days and then costs $9.99 per month when paid annually or $12.99 per month when paid monthly.

A fairly extensive frequently asked questions page will answer a lot of questions that go beyond the scope of this article.

NextView Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners led the seed-funding round. Among its seven individual investors is one recognizable to many financial advisors: Adam Nash, former CEO of Wealthfront.

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