According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, nearly 44 million Americans – 1 in 5 adults – are caring for an aging loved one. Many of those caregivers live at least an hour away from the family members who need their help. This presents a significant burden to those distance caregivers, who often have to take time off work for travel to help with shopping, medical appointments and paying bills.
One of the first areas where elders need help is managing household finances. Approximately 7% of adults receiving social security benefits have difficulty managing their household finances, according to AARP. In most cases, when elders need help managing money, adult children step in. But if the adult children live far away it may make daily, hands-on money management difficult or impossible.
This is where a Daily Money Manager (DMM) can help. A DMM works with the senior and any involved family members to provide support in managing and organizing the day-to-day financial responsibilities of the household. This may include routine tasks such as paying bills, preparing checks for signature, making bank deposits and filling out complex paperwork, such as filing claims for Long Term Care insurance. It may also include more complex tasks like developing a household budget, creating financial scenarios, negotiating with creditors and preparing household payroll for caregiver or other home employees.
A Daily Money Manager’s role is three-fold: An advocate, who informs the elder about available community resources, benefits he or she is entitled to, and provides application assistance; a debt manager, who helps negotiate with creditors; and a bill payer, who organizes the bills and establishes a record keeping system that captures relevant documents for tax preparation at year end. Daily Money Managers can also play a role in protecting elders from financial abuse or scams. They can review bank and credit card statements looking for signs of abuse or fraud – such as large, unexplained withdrawals of money, an excessive amount of checks written to charities or other groups, or any other suspicious activity.
Daily Money Managers come from a variety of backgrounds. While the profession is not yet licensed, there is a certification process – Professional Daily Money Manager (PDMM) – which requires sitting for an exam and keeping current through ongoing education.