This hour, Marci Lobel-Esrig introduces SilverBills, a Nationwide Concierge Bill Manager. Marci is its founder, CEO and General Counsel. In this segment, Marci talks about services for non-seniors, such as family caregivers. High net worth individuals have a family office that handles their finances, and that’s what SilverBills provides for ordinary Americans.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And welcome everyone to answers for elders radio and we are here talking this week about something that’s very, very important. I know with families all over the world today, one of the most challenging things of senior care is managing finances, making sure that, if you’re taking care of a loved one, are the bills getting paid, you know what happens, where’s certain documents, what you know what is happening with you know, all or mom or dad paying things that they probably shouldn’t be paying for or vice versa. And I know that the other thing, at least in my experience, that also causes conflict. It’s a huge, huge undertaking for a loved one, maybe a daughter or a son, to have to step into that role and take over for the bill paying of a parent that maybe not necessarily able to do that on their own. There’s that really fine, delicate balance between, you know, allowing them their independence and their autonomy and still being supportive and making sure that their things are functioning well in their financial life. And you know, I am very excited about this guest this week because we have an incredible woman. Her name is Marcy and she is the CEO of silver bills and MARCI, welcome to the show. Thank you so much, Susanne. Thank you for having me. Well, I’m very excited because you, what you do is so needed and I want you to know just a little bit about you. Know, I have had my own stories with my family and how things came to be. It was always ninety nine in percent of our disagreements of my mom was money. You know, why is she spending money on this? Why did you write a check for that? What do you need this for? How were these things putty together? And yet my mom was very protective of having her own autonomy. And when I heard about what your organization is doing, with an organization called silver bills, which, by the way, I loved the name, tell me a little bit about how you got started in and how how you know? How did this vision come to be? Do you have a story behind it? I certainly do. I was a lawyer for the New York Mets Baseball Team, the parent company strolling equities and and the Bernie madeoff scandal broke and my company lost about five hundred million dollars and almost the entire four and K of the company. And I worked on that financial crime for about eight years and really became an expert in financial exploitation, I had a very unique window into that whole process. And at the same time my elderly Ott was aging in her home on one coast. Her daughters lived on the other coast and she was struggling with this, with this problem of managing her household builds. She told me she had to drive to the card you let a drop off her check and when I did a lot of research into the overlap of those issues, I learned first of all, that elder financial exploitation in this country is about a one billion dollar annual problem and it’s often perpetrated because individuals need help with this problem and they turned to untrustworthy individuals or other providers who in some cases come into their home and steal their jewelry or other personal effects. Very true and right. And right unauthorized checks. And my own community, one of the MOM’s from my daughter’s girls catch troupe just was released from jail because she was doing this for several years, theoretically helping an older adult, and she was actually writing checks to herself to the Tan of about Thirtyzero. So I decided to leave starting to work on this full time and started silver bills and we’re growing across the country and now I’m actually founder, CEO and General Council of the company and it’s been an incredible journey. And you know, what you’re saying is so true. And you know, my family has a similar story. My mom hired this lady that she thought was really nice because she liked her. Not necessarily she was qualified, she wasn’t license bonded or ensured, but my mom wanted her to work for her and my mom was like super trusting and I think that’s a lot of times what happens with seniors, especially when they start to get a little bit of dementia. Their vulnerable, they want companionship. I’ve seen, I’ve heard stories of, you know, you know times sometimes caregivers taking advantage of seniors in that way and and what happens? You know, what happened to my mother is she had over eightzero stolen from her through unauthorized use of her card. But the problem was she was only really able to get four thousand of it back because of the way my mom had given her authority to use a debit card and so we couldn’t prove if that debit card was, you know, was her thus caregiver or my mom. We couldn’t prove it in court because there was just too much inter you know, intermingling between the two of them. And, you know, I got arrested. I you know, I didn’t feel bad at all about that. I felt like it we needed to you know, we need the what we needed to handle, and so I guess the thing is, I’m sure that this is happening all over the country at times. I mean I’m sure you’ve heard about stories like this. Is that right? Oh, I mean absolutely, it’s happening, probably every minute. It’s largely underreported, it’s largely the result of psychological manipulation of relationships. It’s often family members. And when I really believe is that there should be a professional, trustworthy solution to this. It shouldn’t be left to these informal arrangements and it should be transparent technology, which is what we’ve built, that’s real, real time information to all of the individuals who are authorized to participate in the process. Yeah, and and that it should be a paid service. Like individuals pay accountant to prepare their tax returns, they can pay a professional service provider that is enshort, that is bonded that has robust insurance and checks and balances to provide a solution to this problem. It does not have to be individual suffering with it by themselves, scrambling to try to figure out how to write that check to the electric company or what’s going to happen when they go into the hospital for a particular procedure and the mail piles up in their consequences to that, like termination of benefits, like insurance, or anything else that requires the you know, attention to details that were providing. Yeah, you know, it’s funny when you’re saying that, because I know of so many incidents that I’ve had, you know, here in my in my career, and wanted the indicators, they always say, when it’s time to have some sort of intervention with the loved one, is senior loved one, is when bills start fight piling up or if things like if mom or dad were always, you know, really fastidious about their bills and making sure and all of a sudden the power gets cut off or the light, you know, the water bill. And yes, it will happen once in a blue moon that that’s not, I’m what I’m talking about. But if this becomes a concern. You know, there’s things that maybe slipping through the cracks. Greatest gift you can do for a parent it’s not only give them this kind of service but to me, even more so, it’s allowing them their autonomy and state. You stay the son or the daughter. You know, staying the son or the daughter is the most important part of having that you know, understanding that, having that side professional like like silver bills. You guys do that with them you they don’t, you know, the adult family. They don’t have to get in the middle of that. So, you know, that’s really a nice thing to to know about. So I mean, I agree. I mean I think that this you know, culturally there are a lot of taboos around finances in the United States, for better or worse, and to have a non emotional professional who’s handling this issue right really we’ve seen repairing of familiar relationships that are that were fractured and stressed over this process. There’s also, you know, disproportionately, for better or worse, it’s often the adult daughters who are handling this. It creates a lot of in many cases, animosity over who’s of taking care of this problem, as well as other caregiving aspect of the journey of caring for an older adult, and we’ve seen that when a professional can handle this without the emotions involved, not only does it lead to autonomy and strengthening of the autonomy of the older adult, but it also strengthens familiar relationships in any case, absolutely many cases. And and it takes the burden off of the family caregiver, because I know for my mom, when my mom needed more help financially, it was you know, I would say, you know, I need help to my siblings and to the rest of my family and they go well, you can handle it, you know, and it went right on to my shoulders, you know, and then I was the bad guy, you know, if it didn’t work out the way they wanted him to. And you know, and I think one of the things is having a neutral party that says, you know, your mom is spending x my dollars per month, but this is how much she has coming in. It’s something that either you guys need to supplement, but it comes from a neutral party. It’s not a situation where you’re putting a family caregiver kind in the in the hot seat, and I think that’s just what’s really important and this our Marcie, I would love to talk a little bit on just go into silver bills, how you can help our families, not only here in the Pacific northwest, but all across the country and especially if you have a loved one that lives elsewhere and you right now have a special promotion going on just for these individuals that have heard this show. So tell us about that. Yes, we are going to be giving a ten percent discount to these listeners and that’s why just contacting we have a lot of information. I’m just getting the exact number to call, but our website is silver billscom. So there’s a lot of information. But by mentioning the data this radio broadcast they will get and the name of it, they will get the discount. And they can also call eight hundred sixty six, six, five, three, four, four, two seven, because computer uses optional with silver bills. So each each individual is is paired, and I’ll talk to you more about that after the break, but each individual will have an account manager whom they can call directly on the phone. I Love I love that so many of our seniors today, they aren’t the computer savvy and we’re going to talk a little bit more about in our next segment about what silver bills does and how it can help your family. And again, Marci, how do we reach you? The it’s silver Billscom or the number eight, six, six, six, five, three, four, four, two seven. Wonderful and everyone. Marcie will be right back right after this. We it answers for elders. Thank you for listening. 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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne Newman found herself on a 6-year journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including Health & Wellness, Life Changes, Living Options, Money, Law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.