Monitoring household cash flow, bank account balances, credit card activity, and credit bureau reports may be required tasks if your senior relative is unable to perform these activities on their own. Even seniors in good cognitive health experience increase difficulties managing their finances as they age. So, how will you know it’s time for professional daily money management help or personal financial monitoring? If you’re monitoring your parents’ finances, will you recognize the signs that there might be an issue? According to the National Endowment for Financial Education and a 2015 New York Times article, any of the below behaviors may suggest an inability to manage money or make sound financial decisions:
Taking longer to complete everyday financial tasks
i.e., need extra time to complete a check register or file income taxes
Reduced attention to details in financial documents
i.e., difficulty finding specific information on a bank or credit card statement
Decline in everyday math skills
i.e., having an unusual amount of trouble figuring out a tip or completing multiple calculations simultaneously
Decreased understanding of financial concepts
i.e., sudden inability to understand terms such as “medical deductible” or “interest rate”
Difficulty identifying risks in a financial schemes and opportunities
i.e., failing to recognize a likely telephone or email scam as well as the associated risk
You may also notice unopened envelopes marked “past due”, “final notice”, or maybe even months of unreconciled bank or credit card statements on their desk. If the seniors bank online, do you see alerts or notifications when they’re logged in? If so, it may be a time to begin monitoring their household money.
Baker DMM knows personal financial monitoring and budgeting are two critical components of managing an elderly individual’s finances. And while regular reviews of seniors’ finances are essential to prevent elder financial abuse and exploitation, there’s one more critical step and that is… Notification. Baker DMM’s personalized alert system notifies you immediately. And by personalized, we mean you talk to a person.
Baker DMM is true personal financial monitoring. You’ll have a real person, with proven accounting and bookkeeping experience reviewing your elderly parents’ or senior relatives’ finances. We use financial tools such as QuickBooks and Quicken to collect information, but our people analyze it. And then we talk with you. If we see signs of fraud or misuse, we’ll contact you to discuss the issue. If necessary, we will recommend a cost-effective and realistic response to help fix the problem. You will choose the course of action, and then we’ll help you implement it. Custom software programs or apps are nice, but they can’t respect the seniors’ dignity and independence. Only people can do that and with Baker DMM you will get a person to help you.
One way to approach talking about the subject is by bringing up the topic of budgeting, and the importance of a budget in preserving wealth. A budget isn’t a punishment, it’s merely a way for the caregiver and senior to know how much money comes in and how those dollars are spent. And it’s a powerful anti-fraud measure because abnormal spending is easily identified. How do you start the conversation? Simply, talk about the things they enjoy. What do they like to do on Sunday afternoons? How often do they choose to eat out? Are they planning a well-deserved dream vacation? Or hoping to contribute to a grandchild’s college tuition? Move on to the potentially more personal topics: Is assisted-living in the foreseeable future? Do they have enough monthly cash flow for utilities, groceries, and medications? In the end, asking your loved one if they have a budget is essential and should be something you bring up.
If it’s less invasive for the senior, consider using a budget template to objectify the conversation. Sometimes filling in the blanks is easier than reporting personal financial information to another person, especially if that other person is the senior’s adult child.
With a budget in hand, be it weekly or monthly, Baker DMM will build a personal spending profile to help us identify a typical behaviors that could be fraud. With Baker DMM, personal financial monitoring means guarding your senior’s fiscal health and ensuring your peace of mind.
By providing reliable and consistent financial monitoring, including budget reviews, we minimize surprises, some of which could be financially devastating to the senior or a family’s legacy.
“Baker DMM provided me with a comprehensive look at my personal financial situation. Establishing a budget and receiving their monthly financial reports were invaluable to me. I now have a concrete plan for managing my cash-flow more efficiently and will be able to better handle my personal finances moving forward.”
Commercial Real Estate Services
“Baker DMM has been a tremendous resource in helping us organize our financial affairs, think about our long-term goals, and move in the right direction to achieve those goals. We are very grateful to Baker DMM. Chris Baker is a fair, honest, and diligent professional and who always made himself readily available if we had questions. We will continue to recommend Baker DMM to family and friends.”
Senior Consultant at Vaco Resources
“Baker DMM took the time to clearly understand what I was looking for. They were right on target with the following: 1.) Understanding my needs 2.) Making sure I knew what to expect during the engagement 3.) Being on-time completing the project 4.) Above all, they followed up with me to make sure they completed the work to my satisfaction and explained and presented the completed work to me.”
Vice President, Financial Services
“I have had a professional working relationship with Chris for the past 5 years. He is a person of unquestionable integrity who is dedicated to producing quality work while maintaining a professional, yet personable, relationship with clients.”
Compliance Manager, Bluelinx Holdings, Inc.