By CARLA BUSH
and KAYLA WATKINS
Do you have a large pile of mail on a table or floor? Most of this mail maybe junk and should be recycled or disposed of quickly to maintain order in the home. Somewhere in this large pile of “junk mail” is one envelope holding important income tax information and another holding a medical bill that needs immediate attention. Hopefully, you will sort through and find the important documents and dispose of the rest. This is a simple task that we all have to do every day, but as we get older or our family members get older, this simple task can become overwhelming. This is where Daily Money Managers could help.
Daily Money Management services provide basic assistance in the area of personal finance for individuals or couples who can no longer manage their money adequately. DMMs can provide as much or as little assistance as needed. These services can be a great benefit to families who cannot pay bills on time, forget to pay bills, have difficulty writing checks, cannot get to their bank, have trouble managing finances, or are susceptible to scams. Key benefits include the following.
Help Maintain Independence
These services can actually help seniors stay in their homes longer by making sure bills are paid, checks are deposited, and taxes are paid avoiding eviction, utility shut-offs, and other trouble. Direct deposit and bank drafts can help with these problems as well, but sometimes there are bills or checks that must be handled personally.
Relieve Burden on Caregivers
Often this type of assistance is offered by relatives. However, children or other relatives may live a good distance away or have demanding lives that make day to day money management tasks difficult or impossible. Often, older parents may not want to accept help from children causing stress within the family. A Daily Money Manager can be the answer.
Protect Against Scams
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, DMMs can play a role in protecting seniors by reviewing bank statements and credit card statements which may reveal abuse or fraud. DMMs can look for large withdrawals, large checks to charities or others, or other suspicious activity.
Daily Money Managers can perform a variety of tasks suited to the client’s needs. Services can be negotiated to include a variety of day to day tasks. On average, clients only need three or four hours of service each month.
* Organizing and keeping track of financial, tax, medical, and other records
* Helping caregivers establish a budget
* Preparing and delivery of bank deposits
* Paying Bills
* Negotiating with creditors
* Protect the clients from Scams
* Writing Checks and/or balancing checkbook
* Making medical appointments and arranging transportation
* Sorting mail
Although using a DMM may prevent or reveal abuse or fraud, a DMM could also be in a position to take advantage of the client. For this reason, there are some precautions that need to be taken. The first step is to get lots or referrals on anyone you hire. Additionally, consider the following.
If the DMM is paying bills, limit access to one checking account and limit the funds in that account to what is reasonably needed to cover bills.
Have your senior relative signs all checks if capable. DMM could prepare the checks, but the client should still sign.
Talk to your relative’s bank to watch for forgeries.
A trusted family member should still review all bank statements and other records periodically. This will only take a few minutes to check for any irregularities, but could prevent your relative from being robbed. If DMM does not provide you with all records on request, you should terminate the service and find another DMM.