trustworthy

Prevent Elder Fraud by Getting Rid of Junk Mail

Thieving fraudsters are making a business of taking advantage of older adults. Almost 4 in 10 seniors are affected, losing over $3.6 billion each year.

And this isn’t only happening to the very old or those with Alzheimer’s or dementia – younger, more educated seniors are actually losing more money.

Did you know that the amount of junk mail your older adult receives is a sign of their fraud risk?

Getting rid of junk mail might seem like a lot of work, but it’s well worth it if it protects your older adult from losing their life savings to fraud.

  • Shred those pre-approved credit card applications

Putting a stop to the junk mail being sent to your older adult’s house is essential for reducing their fraud risk.

  • Have sign on the mailbox “No junk mail or flyers”.
  • If mail delivered to a superbox or bank of mailboxes in a building, have the postal carrier put a sticker in your slot indicating “No junk mail or flyers”.

It also reduces the risk that someone with early dementia would repeatedly donate to multiple charities, sign up for many credit cards, or spend an excessive amount on catalog purchases.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Financial Abuse, 0 comments

Preparing for Cognitive Aging

Seven Steps to Prepare for Cognitive Aging

One of the first signs of cognitive aging, the process by which cognitive abilities decline with age, is problems managing one’s own finances. Even in the absence of disease, it can become progressively more difficult to balance a chequebook, properly review a credit card statement or make good investment decisions. Cognitive aging also puts a person at a greater risk for fraud and exploitation.

To help adults protect themselves, here are seven suggested actions:

  1. Assign trusted contacts to all financial accounts. This is a person whom a financial institution can contact when exploitation or unusual behavior is suspected.
  2. Prepare an enduring power of attorney. An enduring power of attorney allows a trusted person (an “agent”) to act on behalf of someone who can no longer make decisions independently (a “principal”). This is a powerful privilege and should only be given to someone who is trustworthy.
  3. Prepare a will. Having a will prepared before the onset of any cognitive conditions is important not only to avoid future problems, but also because changing the will requires a person to have the legal capacity to do so.
  4. Keep up on the latest scams. The Better Business Bureau keeps current on scams.
  5. Monitor your credit and your identity. Since older adults tend to apply for new credit less often, they are also less likely to monitor their credit on a regular basis. Credit Score Reports
  6. Consider hiring a money manager. A daily money manager (DMM) can perform many essential financial services, often at a far lower cost than an accountant or a financial planner. Contact the American Association of Daily Money Managers for local DMMs.
  7. Consider purchasing financial account monitoring services. These are third-party account monitoring services that help to spot suspicious financial transactions. One company mentioned, but not explicitly recommended, is EverSafe.

 

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments

Company Helps to Untangle your Financial Web

Jan RoSe wrote this great article about our company! It helps explain how Financial Concierge Inc. can provide seniors with peace of mind around management of financial affairs.

The article was published by Calgary Prime Times. Which is a monthly publication containing articles of interest to boomers and seniors, special columns and lifestyle features such as travel, health and finances. It can be picked up at convenient locations around the Calgary and southern Alberta.

www.calgaryprimetimes.com

Company Helps to Untangle your Financial Web

Written by Jan RoSe

Did your partner or spouse leave you with an estate puzzle after passing away, or suffering a decline in cognitive function?

Whatever the reason, it may fall to you to inventory a possible multitude of unfamiliar documents formerly handled by your partner or spouse dealing with bill payments, disposition of assets, maintaining trust and legal accounting matters and more. And that could only be a fraction of the total.

Or consider a situation where the executor of a will lives thousands of miles away and can’t attend to matters. What then? Who will undertake the formidable task of organization, paying bills, dealing with creditors and other similar duties?

As Jill Chambers, co-owner of Calgary-based Financial Concierge Inc. puts it, in situations such as those the survivor “could feel like a deer caught in the headlights.”

The company, which opened its doors in January, is the only one of its kind in Canada. Similar firms are commonplace in the United States and are often part of the American Association of Daily Money Managers.

“We do not sell insurance or manage investments,” explains Chambers. “What we do is go in and appraise the situation and give the client an estimate of the project’s scope and the time involved.”

Service offerings include organization of personal and financial documents, ongoing bill payment and statement reconciliation, acting as the enduring power of attorney and assisting with estate administration.

A request for document organization is often the first point of contact. Here there may be numerous investment and bank accounts. Are they all active? Could they be simplified or combined?

With insurance policies, are they still in force? Are these still the desired beneficiaries?

A key activity is determining if there is a valid will, enduring power of attorney and a personal directive. Who are the individuals named and how can they be contacted? Who are the other trusted advisors – lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, investment advisor? What are the final wishes? Who will be responsible for the pets? The questions go on and on.

Copies of other important documents are collected such as driver’s licence, healthcare card, passport, and social insurance number, death or divorce certificates.

And lastly, what is the client’s online profile? If no one has access via your login and password, you will be circulating in cyberspace forever. There is nothing eerier than receiving a Facebook friend request from a deceased person.

Once all of the pertinent documents are collected a “Family Playbook” is created in both a hard copy and computer formats.

Chambers’ background includes extensive experience as a nurse in healthcare working with seniors and vulnerable individuals for 30 years. She is also certified financial planning professional, a chartered financial divorce specialist, and has her certified investment manager designation.

“Trust is huge for both the senior and their family” says Chambers. “Our goal is to provide peace of mind around management of financial affairs”.

Financial Concierge Inc. as might be expected carries professional liability insurance. Staff are vetted for working with vulnerable persons through Calgary Police Services and also must have a good credit rating. Financial Concierge Inc. recently was accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

For the full publication head to over Calgary Prime Times.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management, 0 comments

Deep Aging and Solo Agers

What is “Deep Aging” and “Solo Agers” ?

Deep aging is generally understood to be the period of aging when most people are not very mobile and need some assistance with their activities.  It occurs at different ages for different people, but for those who live into their 90s and 100s, it is experienced somewhere in those decades of life.  Since more and more of us can expect to see those years it is important, especially for those aging alone, solo agers, to do some planning for that time.

Six Key Planning Targets for Solo Baby Boomers’ Deep Aging

  • Emotional support
  • Residential decisions and transactions
  • Medication management
  • Investments and financial decisions
  • Legal representation
  • Money handling and bill paying

As a Financial Concierge™, We are focused on the last three.

  1. Money Management

Adam took over his eighty-nine-year-old mother’s finances after she had a debilitating stroke.  Even before the stroke she had started to talk about giving up her driver’s license and was asking Adam to help her with household tasks on a more frequent basis.  When the stroke occurred, she became unable to speak or write for four months.  Adam recalls that having her enduring power-of-attorney “EPA” was a lifesaver.  The EPA allowed him to get his name added to all her accounts, manage her income, pay her bills, file her taxes, and wade through the mountain of bills and statements that arrived daily.  He was also able to arrange for her in-home care and to offset out-of-pocket expenses that occurred in the first few days of her hospitalization for himself and his other siblings.  After his mother recovered most of her mobility and some of her speech, Adam continued to manage her finances, and his mother expressed relief and gratitude that she had someone to take over for her.

How would a solo ager manage in these circumstances?  Would there be another relative or friend to rush in, make decisions, pay the bills and manage the accounts?  Without an enduring power-of-attorney, this would have been difficult even for Adam as her son.  Solo agers need to select a trusted relative or friend in advance to be ready to take on these kinds of responsibilities in the case of temporary or long-term incapacity.

  1. Investments and financial Decisions

As time goes on, some older adults begin to feel they are gradually losing touch with the ever-changing realities of the outside world.  Will that happen to you?  No one knows. At eighty-five or ninety, a person’s mental faculties are often not all they once were.  At that point, a capable and trustworthy relative, friend, or fiduciary can take over some or all of the financial decisions—maybe handling the investments and doing the income tax calculations—if the solo ager has had the foresight to plan ahead.

  1. Legal Representation

When you make an estate plan––one that includes a long-term care plan––it should include a enduring power-of-attorney (EPA) for financial matters and a personal directive for health care decisions.  An EPA allows the person you name to have legal proxy for all decisions in the financial domain, meaning their signature is treated as your own.

Solo agers often stumble in this area. What relative or friend should be selected?  Sometimes the best choice is a professional, an outsider. T his is not only a reasonable choice for solo agers; it is often the choice of older adults who are parents.  Almost all parents love their children but they don’t always trust them to do the right thing during a crisis.

This kind of planning requires good communication with the relative or friend the solo ager wants to name.  Sometimes the one selected is not interested in taking on that kind of responsibility.  In that case it is often in the solo ager’s best interest to engage a licensed professional fiduciarydaily money manager, or private guardian to entrust with a power-of-attorney and specific instructions.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management, 0 comments

Daily Money Management for Aging Parents

Baby Boomers’ Guide

Are you struggling to balance caregiving responsibilities for their aging loved ones with other family responsibilities?

The Challenge – Caring For Your Aging Parents

Caring for an aging loved one is an emotional and stressful situation. Many baby boomers – anyone born between 1946 and 19641 – struggle to manage the needs of their own children and grandchildren, while assisting their aging parents. Also referred to as the sandwich generation, approximately 7.7 million Canadians comprise the baby boomer population.
Trying to balance all the caregiving responsibilities of your family is a daunting task and can greatly impact your own quality of life. Managing the financial affairs of an aging parent is a major component in the caregiving process. Today, many baby boomers are alleviating this financial stress through daily money management services.

Daily Money Management for Aging Parents

What does a daily money manager do?

A daily money manager (DMM) brings clarity and order to an individual’s daily management of personal bills, budgets and record keeping. A DMM assists clients with activities such as bill paying, day-to-day banking, budgeting, insurance paperwork, and organizing records and receipts in preparation for income tax filing.

Who needs the help of a daily money manager (DMM)?

For vulnerable older adults, management of daily financial obligations can become an overwhelming burden, quickly spiraling into adverse behaviors and at-risk situations such as unpaid bills, un-deposited cheques, and the terrifying consequences of cut-off utilities, bank foreclosures, evictions, and financial exploitation.

An experienced daily money manager (DMM) can provide day-to-day personal financial services for elderly parents, giving peace of mind to children that their parents’ financial affairs are being taken care of properly and professionally.
Hiring a DMM may allow some seniors with health challenges to avoid guardianship and a complete loss of independence.

What sorts of tasks do DMMs typically handle?

In addition to bill paying, day-to-day banking, budgeting, and records organization, many DMMs are experienced with handling government and other insurance paperwork. This service eliminates the stress and confusion that often comes with these tasks, offering seniors and their families increased peace of mind. Also, a DMM can be a vital link to help senior citizens access community resources they may not even have known existed. Many DMMs are very knowledgeable about social support services for seniors.

If a senior can maintain independence with assistance in managing their financial affairs, they can continue to age in place versus going into a care facility. For the $5,000 a month charged by a care facility, you can arrange and hire an awful lot of service to be delivered in their own home – such as personal care, meal preparation or delivery, transportation to and from social activities and appointments, home maintenance, house cleaning, grocery shopping.

If I hire a DMM for myself or my parents, do I/we still need an accountant, financial advisor, lawyer, social worker, or geriatric nurse?

Daily money managers are not typically financial planners or advisers. They will interact on your behalf if requested with accountants, lawyers and other professionals.

How frequently do DMMs generally visit their clients?

Daily money managers understand that each client has different needs so visits are scheduled based on the tasks being performed, and the individual’s goals and availability. A client who needs help paying bills due to dementia issues may receive weekly visits from the DMM while another client may only see the DMM face-to-face occasionally because the statements and bills are managed online or because the type of work they are assisting with does not require as much time. When establishing a schedule, DMMs take into account the client’s needs, costs and time.

Does hiring a DMM involve giving up control of my or my parents’ money?

Absolutely not. A DMM’s role is to offer a “best of both worlds” scenario, where the clients retain control of their money but are freed from the responsibility of executing daily financial tasks. In many instances, DMMs work closely with the client’s financial advisor – assisting the advisor with the implementation of the client’s financial plan at the hands-on level. In this sense, a DMM’s role is to help clients, with their advisors, maintain control and independence.

Does hiring a DMM result in loss of independence in any way?

No. In fact, a DMM can help individuals keep their independence longer by assisting with all facets of personal financial affairs. Trouble staying on top of personal financial affairs is often the first sign that a senior may be becoming overwhelmed with the responsibilities of independent living. By removing that issue from the situation, DMMs are often instrumental in helping individuals remain independent for longer.

What should I expect the services of a DMM to cost?

Some DMMs offer a free initial consultation — ask in advance for their policy on first meeting charges.
Most DMMs charge for their services on an hourly basis, with rates around $150 per hour. Rates may vary greatly based on factors such as geographic location and type of service provided.

In addition to the hourly rates, most DMMs charge for their travel time and possibly for out-of-pocket expenses such as postage stamps provided to their clients and long distance charges for calls made on a client’s behalf.
Be sure that you understand the billing arrangements before the work begins.
Some DMMs request payment at the time of service and others bill on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.

How can I locate a DMM in my area, or near where my parents live?

You can find a DMM in your area by visiting www.aadmm.com and clicking on
“Find A DMM,” which allows you to search by province, city or postal code. Individuals
are also often able to find a DMM through a referral by a lawyer, accountant or social worker.

How do I know I can trust this person to whom I would be providing so much sensitive information?

AADMM members are expected to adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. AADMM promotes excellence in services through a voluntary certification program that emphasizes both experience in the field and continuing education. Certified daily money managers, called Professional Daily Money Managers (PDMM), must also submit to criminal background checks.

What questions should I ask when I interview a prospective DMM?

The type of work DMMs handle for their clients is highly personal and confidential. Whereas your personal judgment and instincts are important in determining the honesty of any professional with whom you may do business, you can take additional steps to safeguard yourself against becoming involved with a dishonest person.

First, ask for a referral from someone you know and trust, such as a friend, relative, lawyer, accountant, or doctor. If none of these people can put you in touch with a DMM and you must hire a basically “unknown” person, be ready to address the following issues before hiring a DMM:

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Daily Money Manager

  1. What types of services do you provide? (Do you only do bookkeeping, or are there other
    ways that you can be of assistance?)
  2. How long have you been working as a daily money manager?
  3. What kinds of professional liability or Errors and Omissions insurance do you have?
  4. Are there industry standards and code of ethics to which you adhere?
  5. Are you willing to work with other advisors, for example, my financial advisor, tax
    accountant or attorney?
  6. What are the costs of your services and what are the common billing methods?
  7. How often do you usually visit your clients and what do you charge for travel, if anything? Would it be possible for you to assist me remotely, if necessary?
  8. Do you require and/or provide a contract?
  9. What about confidentiality?
  10. Can you provide a reference list?

A reference list should include two or more clients or their family members and at least one professional; it may include a personal reference. Take the time to call the references on the list, asking them whether the DMM 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.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management, 0 comments