April is Financial Literacy Month, a time to appreciate the importance of financial literacy and focus on building good money management habits. We think Financial Literacy Month is the perfect time to recognize how our team of Client Advocates helps simplify our client’s financial lives. They’re the people who work directly with clients and their families, providing them with compassionate assistance to manage their money. Our Client Advocates often say that supporting and building trust with their clients is what makes their jobs rewarding and fulfilling, and we think that merits celebration.

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we sat down with some of our Client Advocates to talk about what it’s like to help others manage their money, how they build connections with their clients, and what the most rewarding parts of their job are.

The Importance of Automating Bill Payments

Paying all your bills on time every month can be a tedious and stressful task. It’s not uncommon for people to lose track of due dates and end up with late fees or missed payments that impact their credit.

Our Client Advocates find that some clients prefer writing checks to paying bills online. Some may find password management and online transactions difficult to navigate, while others may be used to the tried-and-true method of cutting a check. Our Client Advocates help their clients learn how easy it is to automate bill payments and avoid missed payments and late fees; and after they learn, they often develop an appreciation for automation.

Some of the benefits of automating bill payments include:

  • A reduction in late fees
  • Reduced worry about late payments
  • Improved credit scores thanks to on-time payments

Nicole Rolnick is one of our Client Advocates. She finds that her clients often appreciate a hybrid approach to managing their finances. They might not be comfortable with a paperless approach, but she helps them set up automated payments and spends time with them to make sure they feel comfortable with their financial transactions.

Two of the biggest financial management challenges that Nicole’s clients face are passwords and fraud. Individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and financial situations can be at risk of fraud, and everyone can find it frustrating to come up with secure passwords and remember them. That’s why Nicole’s responsibilities to her clients include helping them protect themselves online.

The most rewarding part of Nicole’s job is the relationships she forms with her clients.

For me, it’s the relationships and how my clients feel, and the trust they have with me. They know I’m not going to take advantage of them. They can hand me a stack of checks and I’m going to deposit them. I’m going to make sure bills are paid, and if there are any late fees, we’ll take care of them. I always think of this job as a mitzvah, a good deed. I’m doing a good deed by helping my clients.

Regular Account Reviews to Catch Discrepancies

Fraud is a very real threat, especially to those who aren’t accustomed to managing their money closely. We love to help our clients keep an eye on their bank and credit card accounts and help them identify potentially fraudulent activity early. Our Client Advocates sit down with clients to walk through their accounts and ensure they understand what’s happening with their money. Then, they can help them take any action required to protect themselves.

Louise Langsam’s job as a Client Advocate allows her to take some of the weight off of her clients’ shoulders.

Once you get into a routine with a client, they really come to rely on you to make sure that things are taken care of. They’re comforted with the idea that they don’t have to worry about it anymore. Over time, you see where you can alleviate some of that angst, as well as work, for them. In most instances, because of technology, I’m able to do it in a much faster manner.

One of the most gratifying parts of the Client Advocate role for Louise is the ability to assist clients when they’re frustrated or upset. She had one client who needed a document from his long-term care insurance provider to file his taxes. He had called twice, and she was able to log into his account and get the information he needed quickly. She said, “The sense of relief was beautiful,” and pointed out that Client Advocates are often able to save their clients money as well as time through their dedication and knowledge.

How MPB Can Help

At My Personal Bookkeeper, it’s our mission to give our clients peace of mind and guide them through some of life’s biggest transitions. We help them set up and use financial management programs, track their passwords, and set up automated payments for their bills. The result is clients who are less stressed and more confident about what’s happening with their money.

In addition to these services, we can help clients with many household financial management tasks, including insurance management, professional relationship support, and budgeting. For example, we can record, track, and report on cash flow, track investments, and help with budget setup and management.

Money management is no small task, and for many of our clients, it can be overwhelming. It’s our job to walk side-by-side with them, helping them overcome financial hurdles at any time in life.

Client Advocates Making an Impact

Client Advocate Leah Brajer came to the MPB team with a background in trust and estate administration and was a natural fit with older clients who have accumulated some wealth. Some of her more meaningful experiences have been working with clients who have traumatic brain injuries and supporting those who need elder care.

Leah leads with compassion. One of her clients had a traumatic brain injury, and her children were not managing her money responsibly on her behalf. After building trust with the client and learning about her financial picture, Leah was able to help by setting up automatic payments and putting her client firmly in charge of her own money.

Leah had another client whose finances were impacted by COVID-19. She had built significant wealth but because she was out of touch with her financial advisor, her bills weren’t getting paid.

She went from everything being a mess, and physically writing checks for every bill, to the only checks we physically write now are to the IRS, or occasional gift checks or checks to the dentist. Everything else has been automated.

The bottom line for Leah is that by spending quality time with her clients and helping them understand the benefits of automation and professional oversight, she can help them avoid financial exploitation and keep their finances in order.

Conclusion

During Financial Literacy Month, we want to encourage people of all ages to be proactive about financial organization. Whether you’re a busy professional, an older individual who wants to enjoy your retirement, or someone with an aging parent who needs help, My Personal Bookkeeper can provide a supportive pathway to managing finances with our compassionate and knowledgeable Client Advocates.

Do you or a loved one need assistance managing your finances? Contact My Personal Bookkeeper by filling out our online form, and we’ll get in touch.