Never miss a bill again with our daily money management services

Daily Money Management Services

Keeping up with daily finances overwhelms and frustrates so many people, especially those who are accustomed to having someone else take care of that. All too often, we find that older women who’ve been widowed or divorced don’t know how much money they have or how their bills are paid.  Newly divorced men whose wives have been taking care of this part of their lives for their marriage can be overwhelmed as well.

I strongly believe that everyone needs to be empowered to take control of their financial situation. And during my years focusing on paper-less and digital organizing, I’ve found that helping people get their finances in order is one of the most rewarding things I do.

With that in mind, we recently became a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers. During our eight years of providing professional organizing advice, Order Your Life has always offered daily money management services to our clients. Joining AADMM – and adding its rigorous standards (including its strict code of ethics) to our existing guidelines – assures you that you can place your full trust and confidence in the value and reliability of those services.

What is daily money management?

Daily money management is all about financial organizing, not investing. We don’t give investment advice; instead we pull all your personal or business finances together and present them in a way that maximizes your ability to understand and manage your financial situation. Both I and team member Shelly Trimble, who has 15 years of banking experience, as well as my husband Grady Catterall, who has 30 years of actuarial experience, work with daily money management clients.

To start out, we like to develop a rapport with our clients so that they can thoroughly get to know the person handling their finances, instead of having someone they don’t know doing everything off-site. It’s important for a new client to get comfortable with who we are and how we operate.

What financial services do we offer?

What tasks we perform depends on the client’s needs. We help some clients file their taxes and others to reconcile their monthly expenses. For those clients who are struggling with health conditions, including dementia, we make sure all their bills get paid on time. Sometimes people just need an objective person to come in and say, “This is your financial situation.” We can set up systems that allow people to know their money situation at a glance – with our experience, it’s easy for us to set up online banking and tracking systems that might be a bother for them to set up by themselves.

Some other tasks we perform include:

  • Receiving, processing and paying bills, including calls to payees regarding incorrect bills and preparation of checks for client signature
  • Reconciling banking accounts and investment statements
  • Setting up and maintaining personal finance and money management tools (such as Quicken, Mint, etc.)
  • Organizing and submitting medical insurance paperwork; including assistance with changing plans
  • Training clients on how to use technology to access their accounts (this service is especially appreciated by some of our senior clients)
  • And many more..

As professional organizers, we already understand and appreciate the sanctity of the trust we’re given by our clients. People can say what they’d like to a therapist, but that therapist never sees beyond the client’s front door – whereas we’re actually in our client’s homes. We bring the same level of trustworthiness that comes from that experience into our duties as daily money managers.

Helping seniors with daily money management

An aspect of our services that I’m particularly proud of is the work we do with seniors. Order Your Life has been helping seniors move and downsize for some time, and assisting them with their finances has been a natural extension of that service. My mother is 83 years old and still lives independently, and I enjoy helping her learn how to navigate and learn financial technology so that she can do it herself whenever she wants to. We receive referrals from Iona Senior ServicesAging Network Services, and geriatric care managers to provide daily money management services to their clients.

I decided to join AADMM because I get great pleasure out of this kind of work – and we make it fun! We really do try to make our financial organizing sessions enjoyable for our clients who want to be involved. And if they don’t, they can just leave the pile of bills for me or Shelly or Grady, and we’ll get them done!

Planning a trip to England with Evernote

Travel planning with Evernote

I use Evernote regularly in my daily life, both for business and personal purposes. As an Evernote Certified Consultant, I have an Evernote Business Account, which contains information having to do with my organizing business. But I also have a lot of Evernote notebooks – 96 to be exact! – in my personal Evernote account. Most of these tend to contain interesting reference material, scans of family memorabilia, recipes, and so on. (Read my blog here for more ways that I use Evernote in my personal life.) But one of my favorite ways to use Evernote is to plan my travel.

I am lucky enough to have a sister who lives in London; she and her family have lived there for almost 3 years as a result of her husband’s work assignment. This May, I’ll be taking a 2-week trip there, both to visit parts of England I haven’t seen yet and to help my sister (in my capacity as an organizer) get started with the process of moving back to the US this summer. Also, our youngest sister will join us for several days for a much anticipated “sister trip” to celebrate two of our birthdays at a castle hotel in Devon.

I have visited London twice already since my sister moved there, and each time I created an Evernote notebook into which I put everything having to do with my trip. For this upcoming trip, I created a new notebook called “England 2017,” and I’m having fun filling it up with all the information I’ll need. This includes:

  • My flight itinerary – forwarded directly from my Gmail account into my England 2017 notebook using the Evernote email function.
  • Maps of the London underground and bus system (always useful) using the Web Clipper PDF function.
  • Information on a “Street Art London Tour” we’ll be taking on my birthday – I saved the link using the amazing Evernote Web Clipper.
  • The websites for our hotel, walking tours of Devon and some National Trust homes we’d like to visit while we’re staying in Devon – using Web Clipper.

With the Evernote Premium membership, I can also set up offline access to all of my information, even if I am not connected to Wi-Fi. That way, I can review my plans while I’m flying across the Atlantic, or look up walking directions in the middle of a field in Devon without needing access to Wi-Fi – or lugging a guide book along!

Once I am in the UK, I will clip the websites for our favorite restaurants that we go to, as well as other sites we visit. I will also create a daily journal for the trip within the notebook. This way, the notebook not only serves as a planning tool for the trip, but will be a wonderful way to look back on it in the future, as memorabilia as well as a reference tool for others who might want some travel advice.

There’s nothing like Evernote for making trip planning a breeze!

Don’t move that paper – get rid of it!

How to get rid of paper

If you’re getting ready to downsize – whether for a move or just to declutter – and you’ve lived in the same home for many years, one of your biggest headaches will be deciding what to do with all the paper that you’ve accumulated over the years.

Most people keep paper records far longer than necessary (the old “I might need it someday” story) simply because they’re afraid of getting rid of it. However, research shows that 85 percent of the stuff people file away is never looked at again! This is something I can attest to personally, as I have often helped clients go through file cabinets full of papers that they’ve never referred to even once since they were filed.

While it’s easy to let papers pile up over the years, figuring out what to keep and what to let go of can be overwhelming. Here are my tips for getting on top of the paper piles, so you won’t have to schlep them with you to your new home.

  1. Go through your files and shred old bills that are associated with your current home, such as utilities or landscaping. You can keep the current year’s statements if you don’t have online access to your bills through the company’s website.
  2. Do the same for credit card statements (unless you need to keep them for tax records).
  3. If you don’t have online access to your bank and financial statements, you can shred any that are more than 2 years old. If you really want to keep long-term records in paper form, just keep the year-end statements for each account.
  4. Make sure to keep records of any improvements you’ve made to your home since you bought it. Read here to see the difference between repairs and improvements, along with the latest tax laws on this topic.
  5. It’s generally agreed that you only need to keep 3 to 7 years’ worth of backup documents for tax purposes. Here’s a great article that tells you specifically how long to keep your tax backup. Note that none of it has to be in paper form, as the IRS accepts receipts and other documents in digital format.
  6.  If you have access to a document scanner (such as the Fujitsu ScanSnap), I suggest scanning any documents you might need to access in the future, and keeping them in a digital filing system on your computer (backed up!) or in the cloud. (I have helped clients create digital filing systems, including showing them how to scan paper documents and how to retrieve the digital versions.)
  7. Go paperless by signing up for online access for as many accounts as you can. Getting your bills and statements online not only will leave you with less paper to pack and move, but also will reduce the amount of mail that needs to be forwarded to your new address.

These are some of the fairly straightforward methods I use with clients to help them get their papers ready for a move.

Considering a spring move?
Learn how Order Your Life can help you or your loved ones move or downsize.

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  • Did You Know…

    Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home? (National Soap and Detergent Association)

  • The average employee wastes $5251 a year in time searching for information. (ARMA International)

  • 28% of adults say they pay bills late (thus incurring late fees and interest charges) because they lose them. (Harris Interactive)
  • 80% of what we file is never looked at again. (The Leader-Post)

  • Employees spend 3.5 hours a week searching for information they cannot find. (ARMA International)
  • Americans waste 9 million hours a day looking for misplaced items.
    (American Demographics Society)
  • The self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 40 years.
  • As of year-end 2014, of the approximately 58,000 self storage facilities worldwide, 48,500 of them are in the United States.
  • Almost 9% of all American households currently rent a self storage unit (10.85 million of the 113.3 million US HHs in 2013).