JILL CHAMBERS, FOUNDER, FINANCIAL CONCIERGE
On January 2, 2018, Jill Chambers left a tenured position as a financial advisor, to address her dream of being able to use her skills, education, and experience to help Calgary seniors age in place and maintain financial independence. Within two weeks she had incorporated Financial Concierge™. She had her first client engagement within six months.
“Our mission is to help seniors (age 65+), in a fiduciary capacity, to manage their day-to-day financial activities. This maintains their dignity and independence, and provides them and their families with peace of mind. My clients are not affluent. They are the regular 80% of Calgarians. Those with significant assets are likely affiliated with private banking services or family home offices and those with no assets at all are likely involved with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee,” Financial Concierge™ Founder Jill Chambers says.
Jill’s respect for seniors began when she was a youngster - when she was five years old, she baked pies with an elderly neighbour every Thursday afternoon – the fact that they didn’t speak the same language didn’t deter either one of them. A widowed grandmother ate dinner with Jill’s family at least three times a week. Her other grandparents ran a grocery store in a small town and Jill spent many enjoyable holiday weeks with them. In high school, Jill’s parents moved out of the country temporarily and she lived with her city grandmother for two years until they returned. “Decades later, when she was too ill to live alone, and too healthy to be in a care facility, I was happy to return the favour, and my grandmother lived with me for three years.”
There are many horror stories of seniors being financially abused by a family member who feels he or she is “entitled” to an early inheritance. “In my practice, 90% of my senior clients have been abused by family members. For example, before Financial Concierge™ got involved, a client gave his daughter the deposit money to purchase a house, on the understanding that he would also live there. When the time came to move in, he was denied access to the property. He never recovered his funds. Another gave her daughter Power of Attorney while she was in the hospital. The daughter, and her spouse and children moved into the client’s home, and maxed out her credit cards. When she was discharged from the hospital, they refused to move out or to repay debts. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents,” Jill adds.
A Full Menu of Services
Many seniors have no one to turn to for assistance in managing their day-to-day affairs. They may not have children; their children may be on different continents; or they may not trust them to walk the dog, never mind manage their finances. There are few organizations to contact for help as current government services focus on budgeting and debt repayment.
Jill purposely created Financial Concierge™ Inc. to fill this services gap . During an initial complimentary, in person, consultation, a Financial Concierge™ determines, with the family, what the needs are, and if there is a fit with the services offered. “It is important that both the senior and their family trust us,” Jill says.
“All of our team members are mature, professional women who have a great handle on their own finances, love working with seniors, and who want to be contributing meaningfully to society while maintaining a flexible part-time role. We all have a good to excellent credit scores, annual influenza immunizations, and clear police background checks, including a vulnerable sector screen. We also carry professional liability insurance and are accredited by the Better Business Bureau,” Jill explains.
Document Organization Into a Family Playbook™
The Family Playbook™ organizes all important documents such as investment statements, insurance policies, real estate holdings (including principal residence, cottage, time shares etc.), Healthcare Directive, copies of Will and Powers of Attorney documents etc., in one place. The Playbook also includes:
• Final wishes for the individual and their pets.
• Personal documents (copies of passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, health card).
• Financial documents (bank accounts, credit cards, and loan/liability information.
• Contact information and, if used, computer access information.
• Online profile, user names and passwords for PayPal, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
One satisfied client says, “By assisting me with organizing all of my important personal and financial documents, Jill has brought me such an incredible peace of mind. I know that when the time comes for my Power of Attorney, Agent or Personal Representatives to step in, everything is in place and organized and they will have a much easier time fulfilling their roles.”
Bill Payment & Statement Reconciliation
Activities typically include reconciliation of bank and credit card statements, establishment of electronic bill payments and auto debits, submission of health, dental, and travel insurance claims, and provision of monthly updates to the family/referral source.
Personal Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Financial Concierge™ can be retained to manage all financial aspects of the client’s life. The team will consult with the client for as long as he or she is mentally capable. Thereafter, the team will work with the client’s Enduring Power of Attorney.
“While I am a certified financial planning professional (CFP), I am not managing investments or insurance policies. Reviewing them and ensuring the client understands them however, is part of our services to the client. I also act as a liaison between the client and their trusted advisors,” Jill adds.
Duties typically include bill payment, depositing and investing monies, using the client’s assets for his or her support and care, reconciling bank and credit card statements, coordinating and collecting information for tax return preparation, arranging home and yard maintenance contracts, and dealing with legal and accounting matters.
Assisting with Estate Administration as an Agent of the Executor or Executrix
Trust companies all have estate value minimums that range from $500K to $2M. Most people do not have assets that meet these thresholds.
“Trust companies have increased their minimum asset requirements and individuals considering them as administrators of their estates are being turned away. Trust company representatives, accountants, lawyers, and financial advisors, regularly ask me if I will take on appointment as Executrix. People are also contacting me directly and asking to appoint me as their Personal Representative. If I, or another member of the team, is unable to fulfill the role when the time comes, Financial Concierge™ will appoint an alternate,” Jill explains.
Please email Jill directly (email@example.com), if you wish to receive a complimentary copy of a workbook entitled Plan Now to Age in Place.
Up Close & Personal
Jill believes in giving back to the community that has been so good to her. She has been a member of Advocis (the oldest and largest voluntary membership association of financial advisors in Canada) for seven years and has served on the board for five years (she is the current President).
Jill loves to share her knowledge and is often approached by members of the media for insight on aging in place. Most recently, she was interviewed by Canadian business journalist and personal finance expert, Bruce Sellery (Sirius XM Radio) on his show, “Moolala: Money Made Simple with Bruce Sellery.” http://podcasts.moolala.ca/segments/helping-seniors-organize-personal-finance/
Jill also volunteers/financially supports Wellspring, supporting individuals impacted by cancer, in the Money Matters program; Made by Momma, the organization provides home cooked meals to families with young children in distress; and, Pet Access League Society - volunteers visit seniors and other vulnerable individuals.
She is also an Activator with SheEO where a growing group of women support female led and owned ventures through radical generosity. The monies raised are gifts - not donations - and are used to help proven female led businesses get to the next level. Jill has three adult children, and four grandchildren, with a fifth on the way.
As a last word, Jill says, “The need to provide assistance to seniors for the day-to-day management of their financial activities seems so obvious that one would believe there are already companies that provide such services. While there are many services and organizations that support seniors on a paid and/or volunteer basis, much of the help is in the form of social contact, cleaning services, home maintenance, transportation and support for medical needs and meals.”
“A few private sector organizations provide basic bill paying assistance for people who cannot get to the bank to do it themselves. Government services focus on setting budgets and consolidating debt, which isn’t what most seniors need. A confirmation that the senior’s estate planning documents (Health Directive, Power of Attorney, Will, etc.) exist, as well as establishing a relationship with the senior’s bank, investment advisor, tax preparer, health care providers, etc. is a more holistic and all-encompassing approach.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
2949 17 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2A 0P7