I look out for my clients’ best interests in a broad sense, going above and beyond to advocate on their behalf.
Paying attention to detail
It happens: bills go unpaid. People may neglect their bills for a variety of reasons, like depression or exhaustion. Record keeping is usually the first casualty, often consisting of nothing more than plastic bags filled with unopened mail and shut-off notices from utility companies. But sometimes there is hidden gold in those piles of paper.
In one such case, almost as an afterthought, a client alerted me to the fact that she uncovered several more bags worth of mail for me to go through. In doing so, I discovered a check for $16,000 that probably would have been thrown out if I had not gone through each piece of mail, leaving no stone unturned.
At another client’s house I found myself looking over their car insurance policy, and scratching my head. The premium was for the coverage of five automobiles, yet I knew I had never seen that many cars in the driveway of the house. I confirmed this with my client and it turned out she was paying insurance for a non-existent car. The insurance agent had been sloppy and allowed this to go on. I contacted them and ultimately got a refund for my client.
Advocating for my clients
My experience working with seniors has educated me on the need to sometimes be an advocate for those who are unable to do everything themselves – or people who can’t say “No” to friends or family seeking money from them.
One such case involved a woman with Alzheimer’s disease who was very generous, to the point that the funds necessary for her medical care were at risk. With the help of her attorney and one of her oldest friends, we attained co-power of attorney for this woman’s finances and put an end to the excessive charitable contributions, as well as repeated requests for money from her sister. The woman is doing much better today than a year ago, both financially and in regard to her health and well being.
Being an advocate for a client doesn’t always require such a formal structure as obtaining power of attorney. In many cases little things can make a big difference. For instance, one of my clients is quite elderly and she often forgets to go to her various appointments. She doesn’t want to sign up for senior services, so I help to fill in the gap between the reality of the situation and what needs to be done. As a human being, I can’t just watch as she forgets to go to the dentist or specialist. So I act as her appointment-setter in addition to being her bookkeeper.
Caring about more than just the checkbook… acting as financial concierge
I got my start in bookkeeping working with seniors over sixteen years ago and I understand the issues they face living on fixed incomes. I know that as people get older it becomes harder and harder to say “No” to those asking for money. As a third party advocate for my clients, I use my unique perspective to offer a different point of view for them. For me it’s personal; I can’t help but think “What if it was my mother or my father?”
What is the first thing you would ask me to do if I was your financial concierge? Can I be of any assistance to you or your parents, or any loved ones that may have cognitive issues? Contact me today!
Judy Heft, Principal, Judy Heft & Associates is a professional and personal financial organizer with offices in Greenwich and Stamford. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 203-978-1858.