DMMs and You
Working With a DMM
Questions to ask before hiring a Daily Money Manager
DMMs handle highly personal and confidential matters for their clients. As in any business transaction, personal judgment and instincts are important when deciding with whom you would like to do business.
Always ask for a referral from someone you know and trust, such as a friend, relative, lawyer, or accountant. If none of your trusted contacts can refer a DMM and you must hire an “unknown” person, ask a few qualifying questions before engaging into a formal agreement:
Scope of Work
What is the scope of your work? (Do you only do bill paying, or are there other ways that you can be of assistance?)
Review the scope of the work before you agree to have the DMM start working for you. Many times this is accomplished at the initial meeting.
How long have you been working as a daily money manager?
What percentage of your clients are elderly? Busy professionals? Small businesses?
What are the ways in which you have assisted your clients? Are you an expert in health insurance claims, fiduciary services, working with couples, or another area of specialization?
What kinds of professional insurance do you have? Do you have Errors & Omissions insurance and, if so, how much? (If you want the DMM to act as a Power of Attorney, Trustee Executor or in some other fiduciary capacity, you will also need to ask if they have Errors & Omissions insurance with additional Fiduciary coverage).
To what professional organizations do you belong? Do you have a related degree or work history prior to becoming a daily money manager?
Code of Ethics
Are there standards of practices and code of ethics to which you adhere?
Make sure to ask to see the standard of practices industry standards and codes of ethics. The American Association of Daily Money Managers is committed to promoting high standards for client services provided by members, and to supporting the growth of the daily money management industry, in numbers of providers, in recognition of the field, and in the quality of services provided. Members follow the principles found in the association’s Standards of Practice and abide by the Code of Ethics.
Do you have any professional certification or designation? Are you certified as a Certified Daily Money Manager (CDMM)?
AADMM promotes excellence through a voluntary certification program that emphasizes both experience in the field and continuing education. Those who meet the requirements and pass the exam earn the designation of Certified Daily Money Manager, CDMM (formerlyProfessional Daily Money Manager, PDMM).
Are you required to take continuing education courses to maintain the certification?
With what professionals in other fields do you collaborate regarding your clients’ issues? Are you willing to involve another person in their work, such as a lawyer, accountant, or family member?
Costs and Billing
What are the costs of your services and how do you bill? (What are your fees? Do you charge hourly, monthly or by the project? Do you charge for travel?)
Some DMMs offer a free initial consultation — ask in advance for their policy on first meeting charges. Rates may vary by geographic area, types of services provided and expertise of the daily money manager.
In addition to regular rates, most DMMs charge for their travel time and for out-of-pocket expenses such as postage stamps provided to their clients.
Be sure that you understand the billing arrangements before the work begins.
Some DMMs request payment at the time of service and others bill on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. Some local governments have reduced fee or free services available for low-income clients. Visit our volunteer outreach page to learn more and view a listing of agencies by state.
Terms of Engagement
Do you have a letter of engagement? Does it include a confidentiality clause?
With which local organizations are you affiliated?
DMMs develop an extensive network of professionals with whom they work and can refer their clients to.
Can you provide professional and/or client references?
Take the time to call the references, asking them whether the DMM is: respectful, dependable, efficient, empathetic, and professional in manner. Ask if there have been any conflicts, and if so, how they were resolved. Find out if asking for explanations of things not understood has been a comfortable situation. Ask if there were any times when the client felt uneasy about the work done by the DMM.
What kinds of reports or updates should I expect?
Access to your own records, especially financial records, should not be restricted by the DMM. If you are being kept in the dark about the status of your own affairs, take this as a sign of trouble and contact a lawyer or outside counsel immediately.