Your Guide to Choosing a Financial Caregiver
There are several different types of financial caregivers and ways they can help you manage your money and assets, see Financial Caregiving 101. Now, let's examine how to choose someone for the role. Whether you're thinking of asking a relative or a close friend to be a financial caregiver, there are some universal traits and skills that you'll want to look for:
Someone you can trust.
In the event that you are unable to manage your own finances, you'll need to trust that this person is willing and capable of managing your financial affairs on your behalf.
A reliable and attentive person.
This individual will oversee a wide variety of responsibilities and will need to step in quite frequently and help. They also need to have enough time and energy for these tasks; if they are overloaded with their own commitments (e.g., raising a family, a demanding career, etc.) they may be unable to devote the time needed for the role.
Someone who is detail oriented.
A financial caregiver will need to review accounts for unusual transactions, ensure bills are paid on time, and perform other tasks that require attention to detail.
A patient person who has good communication skills.
This person needs to be able to handle multiple requests and potentially stressful situations. They should also be capable of communicating with diverse groups, like family members or financial professionals, to ensure your affairs are being properly managed.
Someone who is healthy and stable.
Make sure this person is healthy enough to manage your affairs. Additionally, someone struggling with addictions is not the best choice for this role.
With those considerations in mind, here are some questions to help you decide:
Do I trust this person?
Trusting someone to manage your finances is an important decision and carries great responsibilities.
Will they make decisions in my best interest?
Your financial caregiver should always act with your best interest in mind and should include you in the decision-making process whenever possible.
Will they manage my money and property carefully?
This person will be responsible for keeping track of assets, property, and debts. They will need to ensure your bills are paid and take advantage of any benefits for which you are eligible.
Will they be able to keep my money separate from their own?
A financial caregiver should never deposit your money or assets into their own accounts.
Will they keep proper records?
Your financial caregiver needs to keep detailed records of everything they receive or spend for you. This includes receipts and notes, even for minor expenses.
If you answered maybe or no to any of the questions above, you may want to choose someone else.
Now that we've reviewed what to look for in a financial caregiver, the next step is to decide who you want to ask to fill this role. Encourage your prospective caregiver to ask any questions about what their duties might be, making sure they are comfortable with this important responsibility. If you don't have someone you feel comfortable asking, there are programs to help. You can use the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, for assistance finding a caregiver in your area.