by The Added Value of a Professional Daily Money Manager
Towards the end of my dad’s life, he developed a tremor in his right hand and it become very difficult for him to do simple things like eat, dress and write. He still had the capacity to do so, but what used to take seconds, now took much longer. At that point, if my dad wasn’t married or didn’t have someone living with him, he would have needed someone to step-in and help him manage day-to-day activities.
As seniors age, this becomes a common problem. Someone can be hired to come in to clean or cook. In extreme situations, assisted living can help with basic, everyday needs, but what about a senior’s day-to-day financial needs like writing checks, opening mail, paying the bills, and dealing with insurance companies? Daily financial needs often fall through the cracks. And for an aging senior citizen who is developing a tremor, losing their eyesight or becoming more forgetful, it is these specific responsibilities that require the help of a very trustworthy aide.
Life Keeping, Not Just Bookkeeping
I recently sat down with Rebecca Eddy, co-founder of Eddy & Schein, Inc. to discuss how she helps seniors address the challenges of aging. Eddy is a professional daily money manager (PDMM). Daily money managers are experts who specialize in helping people manage and coordinate their personal, financial, legal, and health insurance matters. PDMM’s are not to be confused with financial planners and advisors who may implement investment and insurance financial decisions.
Rebecca Eddy first started 25 years ago when a mother in her daughter’s nursery class asked her to pay her bills while she and her husband traveled to Hong Kong on a six-month business trip. Eddy would prepare the checks and send them to the designated Power of Attorney to sign. From there, Eddy & Schein, Inc. took off. Rebecca and her partner Gideon Schein became the first two professional daily money manager associates in New York.
Their company slogan is “Life keeping, not just bookkeeping” which emphasizes the vast range of services they provide, including:
Paying bills and handling health insurance claims
Organizing and tracking income and expenses
Compiling documentation for Medicaid
Protecting you from identity theft
Assisting in renovating or moving homes
Providing required information to accountants or lawyers
and much more
Daily Money Managers for the Elderly
Eddy & Schein, Inc. specialize in assisting the elderly in organizing their finances. Eddy has defined four types of seniors her firm can help:
The “Galavanting Retiree.” These types of people are the very wealthy and very active seniors who are constantly traveling and visiting friends. They don’t have the time to take care of their financial life. In these cases, a PDMM from Eddy & Schein will go to their door every two weeks, pick up a box of mail, go through it and deal with any issues with the IRS or their insurance.
The elderly losing executive or physical function. These seniors can no longer take care of their day-to-day finances, whether because they have lost the mental ability to take action regarding paying a bill or writing a check, or their body is weakening physically, be it their hearing, eyesight, or motor control.
The widows or spouses of those who’ve passed away. This category of people have lost their partner, who took care of the family finances. Eddy intervenes and helps the person navigate their daily finances successfully.
Seniors with Medicaid problems. Eddy’s firm has began to specialize in Medicaid. Usually it’s the children of these elderly that call on her for help and she advises the family, investigates their insurance, and helps the senior set-up long-term care insurance if there is no plan in place.
Professional Daily Money Managers for Busy Professionals
Eddy & Schein, Inc. not only cater to the elderly, but also serve young, busy professionals who have no time to take care of their personal business. PDMM’s can help by simply opening mail, paying bills and filing, or they can help you sell your home and move, deal with insurance companies, and catch instances of identity theft.
For several hours a month, then will help you sift through mail, make sure your bills are being paid, and file documents. By tracking your income and expenses, they would notice if you haven’t been reimbursed for an insurance claim and “do battle” with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure you are being reimbursed, a problem that is often time-consuming to fix.
They can also help in large home projects. For example, if you are renovating a multimillion dollar apartment, the PDMM’s at Eddy & Schein would take care of the details of the renovation. This would include making sure all the bills are getting paid, keeping track of expenses through Quicken and writing out the checks. Then when the job is done, they would give you an account of the costs associated with the contractor, architect, interior designer, etc.
Though some banks will alert you if they notice strange activity in your bank account, Eddy & Schein add value to their clients by monitoring for identity theft and noticing any purchases that are out of place. They keep record of all finances and notice anything that might otherwise slip through the cracks. They serve as an extra buffer of protection for your finances.
Another added benefit they provide is assisting you with your charitable giving. PDMM’s do so by writing checks, keeping track of the acknowledgements that haven’t come in and those that have, filing and giving an account to the accountant at the end of the year.
A PDMM Versus a CPA
Some ask, “What is the purpose of a daily money manager if I already have an accountant?” Unlike an accountant who works with their client for a few weeks out of the year, a daily money manager may add value because they make house calls and are more intricately involved in the finances surrounding their client’s day-to-day life. This may include opening their mail, filing their papers, paying their bills while they are at work, or traveling for business.
Professional daily money managers feel like they support the work of a certified public accountant. PDMM’s do not handle tax preparation the way a CPA or an EA (enrolled agent) would, but rather, they would help their client gather and prepare all the paperwork that the client would need to give to their accountant. For example, the PDMM’s would fill out the tax-organizer form, find the 1099’s, and provide a 2-4 page printout from Quicken of the client’s deductibles. The client will know they have all the necessary documents ready, and this in turn would give the accountant a much tidier set of paperwork to sift through.
Professional daily money managers offer a very specialized kind of service, yet the scope of what they can do is incredibly broad. Whether you are a concerned child, wanting to make sure your parent has a trusted liaison on their side, or a very busy business professional who needs some help juggling their personal finances, a PDMM can do wonders to make life easier. Like Rebecca Eddy says, “It’s life keeping, not just bookkeeping.”