Daily Money Management Programs for Seniors
Paying the bills, maintaining good credit, and avoiding scams are crucial for independent living, and many of us need some help with them as we age. That’s why more families are looking into daily money management programs for seniors. These professional services make sure seniors’ bills are paid on time, help protect their clients against identity theft, and monitor their accounts for signs of theft, fraud and financial abuse. Here’s what you need to know about finding, hiring, and working with a daily money manager.
What’s a daily money manager?
Daily money managers (DMMs) have been around in one form or another for many centuries—think ship’s pursers and royal court treasurers. In the US, DMMs used to serve mostly wealthy, busy clients and business owners. Over the past four decades, daily money managers and senior groups like AARP noticed a need for seniors to have trained, confidential help to keep their accounts in good standing.
Now, you can find certified DMMs across the US and in British Columbia through the American Association of Daily Money Managers. The AADMM also suggests asking professionals you trust, such as your banker, financial planner, and attorney if they can recommend a daily money manager in your area.
What do daily money managers do?
Daily money managers pay bills, review account statements to check for errors, balance checkbooks, and make bank deposits for their clients. DMMs can also organize records for tax preparation, keep track of medical and health insurance paperwork, and deal with insurers and creditors to sort out any problems with claims or bills. You still have access to your financial accounts and documents, but the DMM handles the day-to-day details for you.
Some DMMs also provide notary services and handle payroll for household employees like live-in caregivers, privately hired health aides, and housekeepers. A good DMM will be able to refer you to other reputable professionals like tax preparers, elder lawyers, and senior financial planners if you need them. A great DMM will also be able to help you access programs you or your parent qualifies for, such as Meals on Wheels.
What questions should you ask before hiring a DMM?
The AADMM has a comprehensive list of questions to ask a prospective daily money manager. At the top of the list are:
- What services do you offer?
- How long have you been a daily money manager?
- How much of your work is with senior clients?
- What are your certifications, professional affiliations, and code of ethics?
- Do you carry liability insurance?
- What are your rates and billing methods?
Be sure that you also ask for a list of local references and contact them to find out what their experience with the DMM was like.
How much does it cost to hire a daily money manager?
The AADMM’s 2012 report on DMMs for seniors gives a range of $46-$150 per hour, plus expenses like postage and travel time to and from the client’s home and bank. In some states, there are DMM programs for low-income seniors. You can browse the list here. You can also contact your Area Agency on Aging to see if there are similar programs near you.