This post was originally published at Order Your Life by professional organizer and Daily Money Manager, Penny Catterall.
Managing your finances can become increasingly complicated as you age. There is a lot more to consider and a lot more scenarios. Divorce, retirement, increased medical expenses, and even quality of life can all play a role in making financial management tricky.
When people see the words “Daily Money Manager” after my name, more often than not, they ask, “what does a daily money manager do?” There are many services that a DMM (daily money manager) can provide (for a full list, click here), but describing three of my typical clients is the best way to convey the scope of what we can do in this area.
Single Woman, Early 70s
M is a single woman in her early 70s living alone in an apartment building. Her geriatric case manager referred me to her in late 2015. She had multiple health issues, which had kept her in and out of the hospital for several months, causing her to fall far behind on her bill paying. She also had not filed her taxes for three years, as she couldn’t find the materials she needed to get to her accountant.
When I met her for the first time, she had lots of paper, including receipts and tax documents, bank and credit card statements, and even junk mail, stuffed into shopping bags all over her apartment, with no real desk to work on or place to put her files. We started by ordering her a proper desk with filing cabinets so that she would have a centralized place to process her paper and keep whatever was necessary to keep.
Other tasks to help M catch up:
- We made a list of all her regular bills and got her caught up on all of them.
- I went through all her bags of paper, one at a time, to find and separate out all of her tax documents by year, as well as find her receipts for out-of-pocket medical costs and record them in spreadsheets for her accountant.
- I tossed the junk mail and created a filing system for the paper she needed to keep.
- She had not submitted her health care bills for non-Medicare participating providers for quite a while, so my husband Grady submitted the ones that were still eligible for reimbursement to her secondary health insurance plan.
We got three years’ worth of taxes filed within the following month, and I continue to work with her on a regular basis to help her organize and file her important papers and stay on top of her bills, as well as provide technical support as needed so that she can better use her iPhone and laptop to stay in touch with friends.
Divorced Woman Living Far From Kids, 83 years old
B is a divorced 83-year-old woman living alone. Her adult children, who live spread out around the country, reached out to me to see if I could help after B fell victim to scammers and had trouble keeping track of her finances.
She had been swindled by scammers claiming to be Microsoft tech support reps. They stole over $2,000 by fraudulently accessing her card information and charging the card. Unfortunately, this is all too common an occurrence with older people. Once the breach was discovered, with her permission, her family closed the bank account. A new account was set up, and she no longer has direct access to the funds.
Other tasks to protect B’s finances:
- We set up an account with TrueLink.com for a debit card that is tied to her new bank account, but which can limit spending by amount and category so that she is protected from future scams.
- Using her new bank account, I set up online access and autopay for all her billing and medical needs.
- To avoid spam, I used a separate email address for her bills, statements, and other financial papers. This made it easy to separate all other email.
- I sent her accountant all of her tax documents. I worked with a payroll company to make and keep track of payments to her aide.
To collect any outstanding bills, I try to visit her every couple of weeks. I scan all the receipts and other paper, and send them to her children for review. I also share any updates and recommendations with them. B wishes to live independently in her home for as long as possible. I’m proud to say that I am able to support her in doing that. We all hope to keep her out of assisted living for a while.
Man Recovering in Rehab Facility, 78 years old
S is a 78-year-old man who recently suffered a stroke and is recuperating away from home in a rehab facility in Washington, DC. As he was no longer able to pay his bills himself, his care manager recommended hiring me as a daily money manager to get his bills set up online and on autopay. These were the steps I took to keep track of his finances.
I set up a separate email account for all his bills and statements. This made it possible for both his son and me to easily access them. His son emailed me photos of all his relevant bills. Then I set up online accounts for all of them. This was logistically a bit tricky since the mail was in Virginia, the son was in Boston, and the father was in Washington, DC; also, S did not remember a lot of the information necessary to set up the accounts.
But after we got past these initial glitches, I was able to set up autopay for all his bills. This was one client experience where I never actually met anyone in person! We worked together virtually by phone and email.
Need help with any of these scenarios? Are your finances becoming harder to manage as you age?