Getting Started with a Daily Money Manager

Questions to Ask Prior to Retaining an Individual to Assist with Financial Matters

Daily money managers handle highly personal and confidential matters for their clients. As in any business transaction, personal judgment and instincts are important when deciding with whom you would like to do business.

Always ask a few qualifying questions before engaging into a formal agreement:

Scope of Work

What is the scope of your work?  Do you only do bill paying, or are there other ways that you can be of assistance?

Review the scope of the work before you agree to have the individual start working for you. This is accomplished at the initial meeting.

Tenure/ Longevity

How long have you been working as a daily money manager?

Client Focus

What percentage of your clients are elderly? Busy professionals? Small businesses?

Specialization

What are the ways in which you have assisted your clients?  Are you experienced in health insurance claims, fiduciary services, working with couples, or another area of specialization?

Insurance

What kinds of professional insurance do you have?  Do you have Errors & Omissions insurance and, if so, how much?

Credibility

To what professional organizations do you belong?  Do you have a related degree or work history prior to becoming a daily money manager?

Code of Ethics

Are there standards of practices and code of ethics to which you adhere?

Make sure to ask to see the standard of practices industry standards and codes of ethics.

Collaboration

With what professionals in other fields do you collaborate regarding your clients’ issues?  Are you willing to involve another person in your work, such as a lawyer, accountant, or family member?

Costs and Billing

What are the costs of your services and how do you bill?  What are your fees?  Do you charge hourly, monthly or by the project?  Do you charge for travel?

Be sure that you understand the billing arrangements before the work begins.

Terms of Engagement

Do you have a letter of engagement?  Does it include a confidentiality clause?

Affiliations

With which local organizations are you affiliated?

If the individual is active in community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, a church or religious organization, or a community group, this may be a way to find out more about the individual.

References

Can you provide a professional reference list?

Take the time to call the references on the list, asking them whether the individual is: respectful, dependable, efficient, empathetic, and professional in manner.  Ask if there have been any conflicts, and if so, how they were resolved.  Find out if asking for explanations of things not understood has been a comfortable situation.  Ask if there were any times when the client felt uneasy about the work done by the individual.

Red Flags

What kinds of reports or updates should I expect?

Access to your own records, especially financial records, should not be restricted by the individual.  If you are being kept in the dark about the status of your own affairs, take this as a sign of trouble and contact a lawyer or outside counsel immediately.