You may need a daily money manager if you can’t find time to open the mail, keep having your lights turned off because you forgot to pay the bill or can’t find your car because there are too many boxes of files piled up in the garage. To get help, consider the American Association of Daily Money Managers’ online directory (www.aadmm.com), which lets you find a member who is in your area. As another option, certified public accountants and bookkeepers may offer daily money management. And the American Institute of CPAs (www.aicpa.org) has a searchable online database of members that the public can use. Users can search for a CPA with Personal Financial Specialist certification — although this is more like a financial planner, and not all will do daily money management. The National Association of Professional Organizers (www.napo.net) also has a searchable online database of members, some of whom will offer daily money-manager services.
You’ll likely pay $50 to $125 an hour for a daily money manager’s services, with higher rates in bigger cities. Several hours a month should be enough. Normally, the services aren’t tax-deductible but some exceptions exist — for example, if a portion of the fee paid is for income-tax preparation or expenses related to the operation of a business. The money manager will be able to help you with organizing, budgeting, negotiating with creditors and making sure you’re not overpaying for utilities, insurance and the like. Look for certifications such as Professional Daily Money Manager and Certified Senior Advisor, which indicate the bearer has passed some tests and agreed to behave ethically.
If you are uncomfortable talking about money, get over it. In particular, be up front in revealing how much you owe and to whom you owe it. If you don’t know how much or whom you owe, be even more up front. A money manager can’t help with your problem unless he or she knows the problem. Finally, be ready to make a friend. Money managers aren’t getting rich, for the most part. They’re in it because they want to help people. Be generous and let them. You’ll find life looks much brighter with the lights on.
MARK HENRICKS writes and prospers, to a limited extent, from Austin, Texas, where he reports on business, finance, technology and other topics for a number of leading publications.