By Emma Pizzuti
A person's financial management is an essential aspect of a functional life. As we age, we may become less capable of handling our finances. Using a daily money manager is a great way to manage finances that are too challenging to keep track of.
Lauren Koffler, a long-time member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers, serves those in need of personal financial and administrative services in the greater New York area.
What does a daily money manager do?
We provide administrative and financial oversight. It's overall administrative oversight and services to either seniors, busy people or people with disabilities. This can include everything from helping with bill paying and budgeting to assisting with taxes preparation, compiling estate documents, and/or negotiating with creditors. It is financial and legal organization for individuals who otherwise do not have the time, energy, or capability to do it themselves.
What are the benefits of using a daily money manager?
Organization is the first step. Suppose somebody has fallen behind on their paperwork. In that case, it's helpful to have somebody come in and create files, simplify things, consolidate accounts, set up bill-paying services, look at actual bills to make sure they're correct – and correcting things when they're not – refinancing, changing utilities and making plans to save money. Much of it is helping people look at what they're spending and recommending ways to streamline to save money. I make it a practice to look at all the services a person is subscribed to, and if something is not being used or it's some predatory charge appearing on their credit cards, we can get rid of that.
Why might someone use a daily money manager?
Money management can help family members, grown children, or caregivers who don't have the time to manage their charge's finances. Sometimes, people even have their mail sent to their money manager. It varies from completely managing someone's finances if somebody is unable to or doesn't live in a scenario where they can do it themself, to just oversight. Not everybody needs everything to be managed for them, and how much help somebody needs varies from case to case.
What kind of clients does a money manager work with?
It could be anyone. Some people are too busy, too disorganized or have too much to manage themself. So it's not necessarily just because somebody is by age or ability unable to manage – it might just be that management is too much to handle or the person wants to be able to focus on other issues. It is often older people, people with disabilities, veterans, people who've had an accident or caregivers who don't have the time and capacity to manage the finances.
Why do you believe it's important to manage your money in general?
As you get older, you can do what you want while meeting your monthly expenses. But most importantly, it's so that you can age as you wish. You want to be able to afford the services you need as you age. I can't plan long-term as a daily money manager because I tend to work with older people. So I haven't been working with someone through the years where I can tell them that they should start saving when they're young so that they can have choices as they get older. I can work to stretch what the person has, but certainly, I can make improvements. So it's essential to manage your money so that once you reach a certain age, there is more to work with to provide support.
What is your top tip for managing money?
I often suggest to people that they have one credit card that never leaves the house. This is the credit card that you use for all automatic bills. The credit card you use every day, that you put in machines everywhere or hand to somebody, should not have any of your automatic billing connected to it. With the fraud that goes on now, people are forced to get new credit cards. But if anything fraudulent happens, the card linked to your automatic accounts won't get compromised.