From reporter to financial organizer
I learned two important lessons from an earlier career as a writer and reporter. First, shut up and listen! If I didn’t have the “who, what, when, where, and why” plus a
few good quotes by interview’s end, I was sunk.
No story, no scoop.
Second lesson: Always be curious and eager to learn.
Two great lessons for a professional service provider!
It’s so tempting to talk — and talk — about ourselves. Our services, and the positive results we’ve gotten for clients. It’s especially true if you have the gift of gab.
But, as I learned as a writer and as a reporter / columnist, if I take up all the airtime, I won’t have time to understand the person sitting across from me: I’ll miss their story and all the details I need to help them.
As a financial organizer / daily money manager, I still wear my investigative reporter hat. I’m listening closely to unearth client “pain points” and urgent needs.
The person behind the papers
My practice is more than paperwork and financial information. I need and want to know and connect with the person behind the papers. Do they keep up with their bills and other mail? Have things changed for them? If so, in what ways? Do they enjoy doing desk work, or just the opposite? Do they want to be more or less involved in the demands of daily paperwork?
My eyes constantly scan for items that clients might not have noticed or whose importance they had not understood. I can then jump in and assist them to take the next steps. For example, in one client’s home I found uncashed checks sprinkled around. These were residuals for roles he had in syndicated TV shows. The checks were now “stale” and we had them replaced. Another client had tossed aside a cancellation notice from her auto insurance company and threatening notices from the IRS. I’m so glad I was there to catch them.
Keeping informed on many subjects
To do the job of financial organizer / daily money manager well, I must also do background research. After all, there’s a lot I need to know about the areas that touch my senior clients’ lives — from Medicare to taxes to home maintenance. Keeping informed in these subject areas and maintaining a network of related professionals are as essential to me as a financial organizer as it was to my journalism.
Like writers, financial organizers also have deadlines. Relationships with clients and their families develop over time, though sometimes we have less of it than we hope for. I often have to work quickly to get the job done right.
Since founding Personal Money Manager™ in 2008, I’ve been asking questions and listening closely. Just like I did as a cub reporter: Getting the scoop.
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