One of the perks of my job is to be able to learn from people like Sheri Samotin. Sheri, the President of LifeBridge Solutions and author of Facing the Finish: A Roadmap for Aging Parents and Adult Children, specializes in transition planning and is an expert at supporting individuals and families in the area of personal finances, asset management, and coordinating care.
Since I mostly work with disabled adults, I became fascinated with two professional hats that Sheri wears (and Sheri has more). Sheri is a professional Certified Daily Money Manager. A Daily Money Manager helps people with their day-to-day personal finances. In this role, Sheri helps individuals make and stick to budgets. Sheri's over 10-year experience supporting individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, substance use, and mental health disorders is evident as she confidently understands how to most effectively support her clients with proven strategies and workarounds. She meets clients where they are and helps to execute practical solutions that keep her client's on-budget.
I was thrilled to find out that Daily Money Managers exist. I had no idea! Being able to have someone like Sheri on a team is a game-changer. In my role of promoting sustainable, productive, and joyful systems of living, one of my aims is to help parents and their adult children have a relationship where they can enjoy each other's company. I encourage healthy separation of parents from their adult children, nudging these relationships to be more age-appropriate, especially as the adult child gets older. This is hard when parents have to be enforcers, especially surrounding money. With Sheri and her team involved, parents can be removed from the enforcer role, which reduces friction and can help to enable a healthy separation to occur.
The other hat that I got to peek under is Sheri's role as a Licensed Professional Fiduciary (in CA). As a Professional Fiduciary, Sheri can be a Trustee of all kinds of trusts, act as an agent in a Durable Power of Attorney, be appointed as a conservator, and help with Advance Healthcare Directives. Her expertise really shines through in this role, as she knows how to balance public and private assets and help her clients keep their healthcare benefits, two areas that tend to trip my clients and their families up. Sheri innately understands what can be paid for with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and how many hours an individual can work and still keep their benefits. Most importantly, Sheri knows how to navigate the public funding system with integrity. Understanding how to work in a complex system of funding is critical to the sustainability of services and supports and is intimately connected to an adult's quality of life.
It's clear that Sheri supports her clients and their families with dignity and respect. Her firm aims to understand the values and the hopes and dreams of her clients, and uses this information to bridge the gap between intentions and an actionable plan. Through a Life Transition Plan, Sheri's firm helps to identify, in a tangible way, the quality of life that parents imagine for their adult children long after they are gone. Money can be a tricky subject and Sheri's firm knows how to add a human touch that eases the minds of aging parents.
Sheri is passionate about helping individuals navigate the day-to-day business of life. She firmly believes that school curriculums should include at least one class in personal finance. According to Sheri, all adults (with and without disabilities) need to be taught the following life skills: 1) knowing the difference between needs and wants, 2) knowing how to add income and subtract expenses with results being zero or a positive number, and 3) how to use credit responsibly. Additionally, with common sense, Sheri is confident that her services (or ones like hers) can reduce the burden of overwhelm on disabled adults and their families, shifting the focus from worry to enjoying a healthy and balanced life.
There are so many other tips, tidbits, and gold nuggets in my interview with Sheri. To listen to the full interview and to get a sense if you need a Daily Money Manager or Professional Fiduciary, check out our interview. A BIG thanks to Sheri for sharing her time and talent!
To find out more about Sheri, check out her website: https://www.lifebridgesolutions.com/
You can also call Sheri at 323-452-2680 or email her at [email protected]
For a copy of the interview's transcript, click here.