Friday, January 9, 2015

Meet CSA, Amy Carrick

Amy CarrickAs a college student, I wanted a job that would allow me to be independent and not worry about living paycheck to paycheck. I majored in Computer Science with a minor in Economics figuring these would be good financially. I had a heavy focus on Math as well. This led to a first career in banking with the Federal Reserve, Pittsburgh National Bank and Integra Financial (both now PNCBank). Then, a 15 year career at Verizon Wireless. I thought I loved my job!

About six years ago, I was laid off with a package. I didn't know what I wanted to do but knew it wasn't working in Corporate America. I thought accounting or web design but quickly realized I needed to differentiate myself.

At about this time, my parents needed more help, but I was the child 500 miles away. So I started to help pay the bills. I quickly realized I could make this my new career. I wanted more than to just spend a company's money to put lots of technology into a store. I wanted to give back to society. Seniors were a natural fit for needing help and for appreciating it!

After I got my first couple clients, I began studying for the CSA exam. I wanted a good foundation in aging and I knew I had none! I now am able to guide seniors and their families when safe living or health concerns arise. This can be uncharted territory and they are often panicked. I help build budgets and find the resources. I coordinate the team to bring a new normal to the chaos.

After obtaining my CSA designation, it took me a whole additional year to find the American Association of Daily Money Managers. Yes, there were others doing exactly what I was doing! I am now the first and only certified Professional Daily Money Manager® in South Carolina.

I currently coordinate the senior visitation team for my church and I regularly offer seminars to teach people about exploitation and how to protect themselves. The problems are rampant and I try to be a resource for families and seniors alike.

I have great satisfaction in knowing that those without family or where there are trust issues, can be confident that I will protect their financial affairs. It could be anything from recommending financial planners or attorneys to helping them find alternative housing choices. I get pulled in when exploitation is suspected. From there, I follow the case through to resolution which has included working with detectives and solicitors. It is very fulfilling to watch the client relax when they know money has been returned!

Every client is unique which means different needs and levels of involvement. Here are a couple examples:

  1. I have helped when a client died overseas. I had to figure out how to get luggage off a ship and back to the states. It was cumbersome and frustrating at times. But the client's wishes were to get the contents back, whatever it took.
  2. One of my first clients did not know her net worth or whether she had health insurance. She was recently evicted. I opened six years worth of mail to assess her situation. I found her a financial advisor and helped her find long term housing with stable meals and medicine management.
The key is knowing what they need, who is the support team and how to monitor without taking control. My level of involvement evolves over time. I enjoy each senior encounter. I have learned patience and listening skills along the way. I have learned how to be candid with a caring message.

People need to hear the tough answers but being able to provide solutions and work-arounds will defuse the stress of the changes they face. My world is now so different from building high tech stores and I really do love it!

Amy E. Carrick, MBA, CSA, PDMM
Owner, Carrick Consulting, LLC
For those who Can't, Shouldn't or Don't want to pay their own bills



Amy Carrick was featured in the November 2014 Senior Spirit Newsletter.
Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors www.csa.us.