Money Management

3 Minutes with Jill Chambers

Article by Deanne Gage and originally posted here in FORUM Magazine (Feb 2020 Edition)

Jill Chambers Calgary Prime Times Picture

Jill Chambers, president of Financial Concierge

FORUM: What’s a financial concierge?
Jill: We pay bills for people who can’t, don’t, or shouldn’t. An example would be a senior who has developed arthritis and is having great difficulty writing and paying bills, and isn’t tech savvy. So we thought if we can help seniors stay independent financially, then they can also stay in their own homes longer with the supports and services around them.

FORUM: How are you paid?
Jill: We charge $150 an hour.We may spend two or three hours to find out what all the bills are, what we can automate, how to figure out what we need to do, and get it set up. After that, maybe it’s an hour in a month to visit with the individual and review what’s happened during the past month. Sometimes, family members of a senior — particularly if they live far away — quite like the fact that there’s a second set of eyes on everything. A really surprising thing that has come up is that the majority of the individuals we work with have been financially abused in the past.

FORUM: How do people know they can trust you?
Jill: We do complete background checks of our concierges, including a vulnerable sector screening. We look for good-to-excellent credit scores, and they must abide by the American Association of Daily Money Managers code of ethics. The first time we meet with clients, I ask them to have a friend or a family member or someone else there for the interview. If they don’t, I’ll ask them, “Have you talked to your sister or your child? Do they know that we’re working together?” Because I really encourage that and I would like them to be part of the conversation. If I’m doing an actual ongoing bill payment, then I always try to find someone else that I can provide a report to on a monthly basis. We always have a trusted contact person on file. When you’re dealing with older populations, cognitive changes are going to occur. So the way I frame this fact is: “If for some reason I can’t get a hold of you, or I have concerns about your well-being, whom can I talk to?”

FORUM: Why is this work important?
Jill: We did focus groups with caregivers who work with seniors and one need that came up was assistance with bill payments and someone to help them to get their important documents organized. This was particularly important when somebody had been widowed suddenly or lost a partner to one of the three Ds: death, dementia, or divorce. Most couples — it doesn’t matter what generation — are quite role specific in that one person manages the finances; everything from the investing to the insurance to the bill payments. And the other person is responsible for other areas of their lives. When the person who has been doing the financial management is gone, the surviving spouse doesn’t know where to start. And there often isn’t a family member or someone else around to do it.

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Helping Aging Parents with Finances

5 Ways to Reduce Resistance

Managing financial matters is an important part of caring for an older adult.

But it can be tough to convince someone that they need help, even if all the signs are there.

For example, if they’re forgetting to pay bills, making unwise purchases, or getting confused about their accounts, it’s probably time to step in.

But even if they’re having problems, many people are still resistant to having someone get involved in their finances.

To reduce defensiveness, we share 5 essential tips for helping aging parents with finances.

We also suggest specific tasks to focus on to make the new responsibility a little less overwhelming.

  1. Work with them and respect their decisions

If your older adult is still able to manage their finances fairly well, be respectful of their decisions and work with them instead of taking over.

They’ll (hopefully) appreciate your help in executing details like paying the bills every month. And typically, they’ll be more likely to accept additional help when they realize you’re not trying to take away their control.

If your older adult has dementia or a cognitive impairment, you may need to take over and make decisions on their behalf.

But it’s still kinder to make them feel included and in control, even if they can’t manage things on their own anymore.

Work with other family members to make sure everyone is on the same page and they understand that you’re looking out for your older adult’s best interests.

  1. Locate important documents

It’s critical to know where the important financial documents are so you can locate them in an emergency or if your older adult becomes incapacitated.

This allows you to protect your older adult’s assets when they’re not able to take care of things themselves.

Your older adult may be concerned that you’ll use these documents before you have to, so be sure to reassure them that you’ll only use the information in an emergency or when they’re not able to.

Important documents typically include: 

  • Bank and investment statements
  • Wills
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension records
  • Home mortgage or reverse mortgage
  • Car title
  • CPP and OAS payments
  • Safe deposit boxes
  1. Get access to financial accounts

Getting access to your older adult’s bank accounts requires advance planning and likely, some specific paperwork.

Banks and other financial institutions have strict rules about who can access accounts. And sometimes, they require their own documents to be completed even if you already have a Power of Attorney.

To write cheques or withdraw money from your older adult’s accounts, you could become authorized to conduct transactions.

To get access to a safe deposit box, your older adult can authorize a “deputy” or “agent.”

Important: Before signing paperwork or getting joint access to any accounts, consulting with a fiduciary, elder law attorney, financial planner, or other qualified professional is always recommended to avoid unintended consequences.

  1. Keep family informed

Your older adult should stay involved in their financial decisions as long as they can.

But if that’s not possible and you need to take full responsibility, it’s wise to share information with other family members or involve them in the process.

This helps avoid conflicts later, like one person accusing another of inappropriately spending the older adult’s money behind the family’s back.

Holding family meetings to discuss finances is also a good way to keep everyone up to date on spending and income.

It’s also smart to keep a record of significant discussions, decisions, and actions in case there are disputes in the future.

  1. Prepare for the future

If your older adult doesn’t already have a will or estate plan, now is the time to convince them to meet with a lawyer and start the process.

These key legal documents are important because they affect how their assets are distributed when they pass away.

It’s also important to complete other essential legal documents like a Power of Attorney and living will. This allows you to make decisions and take action quickly during a health crisis.  The “living will” has different names depending on the province – Power of Attorney for Health Decisions, personal directive, or healthcare directive.

Need help with your own or your elderly family members financial matters? 

Get in touch with Financial Concierge Inc today to book your complimentary initial consultation.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management

Spot the Scam

Check out this article that Jill Chambers with Finiancail Concierge Inc was interviewed in for Dementia Connection, The Nature of the Scam

Spot the Scam with Jill Chambers

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management

TELUS Wise Seniors

March is Fraud Prevention Month

TELUS Wise offers free interactive/informative workshops and content to help Canadians of all ages have a positive digital experience. Topics include protecting your online security, privacy, and reputation, rising above cyberbullying, and using technology responsibly.

This guide has been created for Canadian seniors who are already using the Internet and want to learn more about participating in our digital society safely. This guide can be used as a personal reference and is also used as a workbook for participants of TELUS Wise® seniors’ workshops. If you are interested in booking a TELUS Wise seniors workshop for your community group please contact All elements of the program are free-of charge and available to all Canadians. For additional resources, including an electronic copy of this guide, please visit Also if you have any questions don’t hesitate to email

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