Monthly Archives: April 2014

April is Financial Literacy month and it

April is Financial Literacy month and it is also a ritual for many people to to Spring Clean their financial life. Here are some suggestions for DIYers. It may seem daunting, but it’s worth it. http://ow.ly/wf7wM

Many individuals decide to hire daily mo

Many individuals decide to hire daily money managers as a strategy for maintaining their independence. When selecting someone, be sure that you check their references and ask if they are a member of AADMM, a national, credentialing organization which requires members to adhere to ethical standards. Read on for more information on this.
ASK NANCY
When a parent’s bookkeeper is secretive

BY NANCY STEIN SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Q. My 87-year-old father has put a long-time helper in charge of paying his household bills. When my brother and I ask her about his daily expenses, she refuses to speak to us, saying that she only works for my father and doesn’t have to answer any of our questions. She has even locked up his checkbook so family members cannot access it. I am concerned about his being taken advantage of. He insists that she is trustworthy, but I have my doubts. What can I do?

A: You are right to be concerned. Her attitude certainly raises a red flag. When it comes to financial matters, it’s important for a family member to safeguard their parents’ savings. One way is to do that is to monitor day-to-day money matters and large purchases.

I know this is easier said than done. Our parents, many of whom have never discussed their personal finances with anyone but their accountant, want their privacy and independence from their adult children for as long as possible, so they might see this as meddling.

Ask your father to be named on his checking account and credit card, so that his day-to-day affairs can be managed in an emergency — that is, if he is suddenly unable to handle this task himself. Once you’re on the account with his permission, set up on online view so that you can keep tabs on all transactions, whether it’s through his bank checking account or credit card. It will also also allow the bank and credit card company to talk to you if you have questions.

In your particular situation, this can be done without the knowledge of the helper. For those who have been considering hiring someone to help with bills of a loved one, my advice would be to hire only professionals with experience in working with seniors to help with bill paying or other financial tasks. I’m personally a big fan of Daily Money Managers, professionals who provide an array of services including bill paying, keeping track of medical and other insurance papers, as well as working with accountants and attorneys.

What’s most important is that they adhere to a strict standard of practice and code of ethics. Visit the website of The American Association of Daily Managers to find a professional in your area.

Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of SeniorityMatters.com, a local caregiver advisory and referral service for South Florida seniors and their families. You can contact her at nancy@ senioritymatters.com.

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Many individuals decide to hire daily mo

Many individuals decide to hire daily money managers as a strategy for maintaining their independence. When selecting someone, be sure that you check their references and ask if they are a member of AADMM, a national, credentialing  organization which requires members to adhere to ethical standards. Read on for more information on this.

ASK NANCY
When a parent’s bookkeeper is secretive

BY NANCY STEIN SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Q. My 87-year-old father has put a long-time helper in charge of paying his household bills. When my brother and I ask her about his daily expenses, she refuses to speak to us, saying that she only works for my father and doesn’t have to answer any of our questions. She has even locked up his checkbook so family members cannot access it. I am concerned about his being taken advantage of. He insists that she is trustworthy, but I have my doubts. What can I do?

A: You are right to be concerned. Her attitude certainly raises a red flag. When it comes to financial matters, it’s important for a family member to safeguard their parents’ savings. One way is to do that is to monitor day-to-day money matters and large purchases.

I know this is easier said than done. Our parents, many of whom have never discussed their personal finances with anyone but their accountant, want their privacy and independence from their adult children for as long as possible, so they might see this as meddling.

Ask your father to be named on his checking account and credit card, so that his day-to-day affairs can be managed in an emergency — that is, if he is suddenly unable to handle this task himself. Once you’re on the account with his permission, set up on online view so that you can keep tabs on all transactions, whether it’s through his bank checking account or credit card. It will also also allow the bank and credit card company to talk to you if you have questions.

In your particular situation, this can be done without the knowledge of the helper. For those who have been considering hiring someone to help with bills of a loved one, my advice would be to hire only professionals with experience in working with seniors to help with bill paying or other financial tasks. I’m personally a big fan of Daily Money Managers, professionals who provide an array of services including bill paying, keeping track of medical and other insurance papers, as well as working with accountants and attorneys.

What’s most important is that they adhere to a strict standard of practice and code of ethics. Visit the website of The American Association of Daily Managers to find a professional in your area.

Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of SeniorityMatters.com, a local caregiver advisory and referral service for South Florida seniors and their families. You can contact her at nancy@ senioritymatters.com.

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SUNDAYMONEY: PLANNING; Tired of Stamp-Li

SUNDAYMONEY: PLANNING; Tired of Stamp-Licking? A Daily Money Manager Can Help
By JENNIFER FRIEDLIN

LAST year, Harold Podberesky, 87, became overwhelmed by the mound of bills piling up in his mailbox. He said he wanted to continue living on his own but could no longer stay on top of paying the utility bills or balancing his checkbook. So he turned to the ElderCare Connection, a private social service agency that helps older people in south Florida sort through their mail, pay bills and even invest their money.

”It’s getting to the point that everything is becoming an effort, even writing a check,” said Mr. Podberesky, a retired plastics worker in Pembroke Pines, Fla., who lives off of his Social Security payments and the interest from his cash investments. ”Now, I’m relaxed. I don’t have to bother with anything. I don’t have to go to the post office for stamps — nothing.”

For people no longer able to handle day-to-day financial chores — or for those of any age who simply feel that their time is better spent doing other things — daily money managers are available across the country to plan budgets, pay bills, file medical and insurance claims, negotiate with creditors and call vendors to sort out questionable charges. Their fees typically range from $25 to $100 an hour, and they work for people of a wide range of incomes and backgrounds.

Until recently, such services were generally reserved for the very wealthy, who received them through companies known as family offices that were staffed with an armada of professionals, including lawyers, accountants and financial planners. Over the past few years, more spartan versions of these services have been made available to people of modest means, while many accountants and some financial advisers have begun offering more elaborate services to attract well-heeled clients.

”There’s a tremendous demand for a broader range of services,” said Gary Schatsky, a fee-only financial adviser based in New York who is president of the ObjectiveAdvice Group. He provides a range of services, including investment management, tax preparation, mortgage advice and bill-paying for clients earning $40,000 to $4 million a year.

”Part of what I do I consider essential advice, and part of what I do is snow shoveling,” Mr. Schatsky said. ”You can shovel your own snow, but it’s much more delightful to have someone shovel it for you.”

American Express Tax and Business Services, a division of American Express, offers everything from recordkeeping and bill-paying to help in choosing insurance. Other firms help clients keep an inventory of collectibles, for example, and arrange for more indulgent ”concierge services,” like walking the dog.

”Some clients call up and say: ‘I want to buy a horse farm in upstate New York. How do I find an appraiser?”’ said Joel Gensler, a partner at Eisner L.L.P., an accounting firm based in New York.

”People have more money and less time, and they would rather do other things” than deal with financial matters, Mr. Gensler said. The firm charges about $125 an hour for financial housekeeping services, and Mr. Gensler said his clients might pay from $500 to $5,000 a month for them, depending on the number of transactions required.

For those on tighter budgets, daily money managers can also provide ways to lighten domestic financial chores. These managers generally do not offer investment advice or brokerage services, but they deal with the nuisances of bill-paying, budgeting, filing insurance claims and handling creditors.

In hiring a daily money manager, experts say, people should remember the standard advice of not providing outsiders with access to their accounts. ”The last thing you want is to say, ‘Here’s my bank account number, go pay all my bills,’ and then you fall in with the wrong people,” said Jen Schwartzman, a spokeswoman for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington.

The safest way to maintain a relationship with a daily money manager…