Just What the Doctor Ordered

An Interview with Laura Deremo, Daily Money Manager of CareOptions

Are you overwhelmed by mail?
Do you struggle to get your bills paid on time?
Do you avoid opening insurance statements because they are too
difficult to decipher?
Do you worry about the safety of your financial information?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may find the services of Daily Money Manager to be "just what the doctor ordered." Therefore, we interviewed Laura Deremo, Daily Money Manager of CareOptions, to learn more.

First, a bit about Laura herself. She received a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, with a concentration in Accounting. Laura then passed the CPA exam and was certified as a Public Accountant (inactive). Laura has provided money management services to individuals and businesses in Northbrook and Evanston for over ten years. Laura recently joined the CareOptions team of North Shore Senior Center.

The help of a trusted Daily Money Manager can go a long way toward relieving the stress that families and older adults experience when it comes to money matters and finances. "Families may not know about daily money management, so they don't realize that help is available," Laura tells us. "Something as simple as a monthly visit from a Daily Money Manager, to make sure bills are paid on time, can be a huge relief to families."

Daily money management services include sorting and managing mail, monthly bill-paying and preparing checks for signature, organizing tax documents and other papers, creating monitoring budgets, coordinating medical and insurance bills, and negotiating with creditors. In addition to these tasks, Daily Money Managers can also monitor accounts for inaccurate or fraudulent charges. Professionals in the field of aging have come to recognize that older adults can be vulnerable when it comes to finances. "Older adults can be easily exploited by acquaintances and predators, sometimes even by their own family members," explains Laura. "Daily money management can help protect seniors from those who are looking to exploit them."

Older adults may also need the help of a Daily Money Manager for other reasons: cognitive impairment, physical impairments such as arthritis or conditions that limit the person's ability to write, visual impairment, or the loss of a spouse, family member or friend who previously handled the person's finances. These elements can all be factors that contribute to a situation that can become daunting. "When bills and papers get out of control, a client can easily feel overwhelmed. Add to that situation the difficulty of seeing or writing, and you have a recipe for disaster," Laura says. "Having a professional come in to put things back in order, and help keep things in order — that's a great feeling! It means that an older adult can still retain his or her independence just with a little bit of help."

Some clients may worry about how they would get all of their paperwork to the office of a Daily Money Manager. "That's not a problem," Laura claims. "We come to you!" Daily Money Management services are generally provided in the home, at a time that is convenient for the client. "We work in an environment that is familiar and comfortable for the client," Laura informs us. "That way, a client is not transporting bills and papers back and forth to our office. So, there's less chance of losing important or confidential information."

Families may wonder if they still need other professional when they engage the services of a Daily Money Manager. "A Daily Money Manager does not replace your financial planner, accountant, tax preparer, or attorney, but can help you coordinate with those professionals. We can even provide referrals to those types of professionals, if needed," Laura notes. "Think of hiring a Daily Money Manager as an investment in your financial well-being. Having a professional assist you with these tasks brings a great deal of peace of mind. And, that's just what the doctor ordered." 

Article featured in North Shore Senior Center's "Juncture" Newsletter — Winter 2015

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