Just as you keep an eye on the physical health of your parents, you should also look for signs that they could use some extra assistance managing their day-to-day finances. Here are some points to consider when you think it’s time.
It can be difficult for our aging parents to admit–or sometimes even realize–that they could use some extra help with paying bills, keeping a budget, and more when it comes to their finances. After all, they have often been in charge of these fiscal responsibilities for as long as they can remember–so why stop now? Well, there can be some good reasons, writes Lewis Braham for Reuters, and knowing how to enlist professional financial help requires a cautious mindset.
Braham tells the story of Martha Nurenberg, who is in charge of the AARP’s employee volunteer program in Washington, D.C. When Martha discovered that her father had responded to a very suspicious letter in the mail asking for money, and then found out from the senior living community he was living in that he was two months late on rent, she knew it was time for a change.
So Martha enlisted the help of a full-time CPA, who works as a daily money manager on the side for a handful of clients. “Instead of just filing quarterly or annual tax forms, [the daily money manager] receives her clients’ mail, pays their bills, balances their checkbooks and helps them keep to a budget if they are on a fixed income,” writes Braham.
Braham also notes that daily money management is a small industry that is unregulated by the U.S. government. The some 700 members of the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM) can be found at http://www.aadmm.com/default.htm.
Because daily money managers are unregulated, Braham encourages skepticism and caution as you select and begin to work with one:
+ Look for referrals from past and present clients
+ Seek credentials, such as certified public accountant (CPA), certified financial advisory (CFA), and others
+ Search for any records of financial wrongdoing
After you select someone you believe you can trust, Braham recommends that you still make them earn that trust as you begin to work with eachother:
“To avoid fraud, be sure to establish certain safeguards Money managers should provide monthly reports of all their financial work, including copies of bills paid, if requested. Some clients create a bank account specifically for the money manager that has limited funds, just enough for the monthly bills and a small amount left over.
“Meanwhile, the rest of the client’s money is off limits.”
Many people are finding that a daily money manager is a huge help for them and their parents as they all try to live the fullest, most independent lives possible without worrying about falling victim to scams, missing bill payments, or staying under budget. But before you hire one, do your research to ensure that you and your loved ones get the most out of the relationship.