What I do as a financial organizer

My First 100 Days as Your Financial Organizer

Karen Caccavo Financial Organizing, Working with Clients

I’m often asked what I do as a financial organizer / daily money manager.  (Understand, first, that I am not a financial planner or advisor; I don’t work with your investments.)  So what should you or a family member of yours expect from working with me?  What is my role?

Why does someone contact me for help?

In short:  to gain, or re-gain, control of their financial paperwork.  When someone contacts me, it is usually because they recognize they are no longer keeping on top of their paperwork.  In some cases, the adult children of a senior see things “falling between the cracks” and contact me.

How can a financial organizer help?

People differ, as do their needs and preferences  —  so what I do as a financial organizer varies from one client to another.  I started working with “Rose” (not her real name) a few months ago.  She had reached out to a Westchester County, New York community service organization, and they referred her to me.  She had several physical challenges and early cognitive decline.  Living alone with no close family to help, she identified managing her paperwork and daily financial management as her most urgent need.  As time went by, other needs emerged, as you can see in the list below.

Over the last few months, we’ve accomplished a lot.  And while Rose and I plan to continue working together, it’s worthwhile to look back at what we’ve accomplished in our first 100 days (in addition to building rapport and putting out the occasional “fire”).

I’m sharing my list with you for two reasons:  to give you a sense of the breadth of my work as a financial organizer and to share some ideas of additional services that might benefit you or a family member.  Please let me know if there are items here that you’d like to learn more about.

Here is a list of projects I’ve initiated and/or completed so far for Rose:

  • Catch up on backlog of unopened mail and unpaid bills.
  • Sort current paperwork into sort/file/shred bins. Start a new filing system.
  • Review bills for accuracy, current balances, and initiate direct debit (autopay) where practicable.
  • Review bank statements, request check images from the bank.
  • Apply for exemption from telephone directory assistance charges.
  • Apply for NY EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage).
  • Start and maintain spreadsheet for tracking vendors, contact information, how bills are paid. This is for her and for her Power of Attorney.
  • Identify current health insurance policies and how they are paid.
  • Meet with CPA and obtain tax returns from last year, gather information for upcoming filings.
  • Apply for STAR, Enhanced Star, and Senior Citizens’ tax exemption from property taxes.
  • Search and apply for New York State unclaimed funds (yielding over $3,000 for Rose.
  • Review credit card bills, cancel inaccurate charges, and stop recurring charges that are no longer needed. Set up a strategy for best and safest use of credit cards.
  • Inventory contents of her wallet.
  • Review and inventory bank safe deposit box contents.
  • Meet with trust and estates attorney to review and update legal documents.
  • Make contact with client’s Power of Attorney to coordinate activities.
  • Phone meeting with financial advisor to share information, request financial projections.
  • Apply for disabled parking permit.
  • Refer client to the following professionals based on her interests and needs:
    • Aging Life Care Manager (homecare, medication management, patient advocacy)
    • Senior living specialist (for exploring other living options)
    • Social worker
    • Physical therapist
    • Handyman
    • Professional organizer
    • Landscaper
    • Transportation, food delivery, and other home assistance
  • Maintain an ongoing “to do” list of projects (for the next 100 days and beyond!)

So that is what I did for Rose during the first 100 days.  My work started with her perceived needs; addressed ones that emerged later; and included bringing in resources and applying for benefits that she hadn’t known were available.

What can I do for you, or for a family memberLet’s talk.