The LOFT catches up with Ilene Amiel, who will be giving a Lunch and Learn workshop: Planning To Thrive, Tuesday July 26 11:30 AM-1:00 PM Learn more about her business and her connection to The LOFT!
Hi, Ilene--We're so happy to have Personal Affairs Administrators join us as a LOFT Business Partner! For folx who may not know you, please share a little bit about yourself and Personal Affairs Administrators:
I am a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Daily Money Manager. I founded Personal Affairs Administrator (PAA) nine years ago when I saw a need to help Solo Agers. At the time, I was caring for my divorced, childless aunt who lived in NYC. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away soon thereafter. As her Executor, I got to know her friends in the building who were all Solo Agers (single, widowed or divorced).
I had also taken care of my father when he was dying of cancer years earlier. He was alone and living in Florida. I was at a crossroads in my career as a Comptroller at a marketing firm, I had been managing budgets and cash flow for various businesses for over 20 years. I was looking for more meaningful work where I could help people during challenging times.
I noticed that there were many single people that didn’t have anybody to help them and as a Baby Boomer myself, I knew the need was going to continue to grow. I founded PAA with the goal of bringing my business experience and unique skills set to the growing needs of older adults.
PAA works as a financial and personal advocate. I help clients with day-to-day finances including: financial organizing and record keeping, banking budgets and income tax organizing, retirement planning, estate administration services, and support. I help clients gather their documents for community and nursing home Medicaid applications. For folx that do not have a Power of Attorney, I am available to act as their agent under the Power of Attorney and serve as their Executor.
In terms of retirement planning, I help folx understand their finances so they can make good choices with their money as they age. I am able to take complicated issues and explain them clearly.
One of the most important aspects of my business is providing referrals to other professionals. I have spent the past 9 years networking and working with hundreds of other professionals in the senior world. I now have a vetted short list of people who I like, respect and trust to refer to. Recently, I have been creating a pool of professionals who identify as LGBTQ+ or are allies. My goal is to have a team of colleagues to service the Westchester LGBTQ+ community who are committed to being a resource because they are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, have a family member who identifies as a member of the community or are specifically interested in being an ally.
What has your relationship been with The LOFT?
I became aware of The LOFT in 2010, when my son came out. I attended meetings with PFLAG and got to share my experience , strength and hope with other parents of LGBTQ+ children.
Having a gay son was easy for me since I had spent 10 years working in the advertising business during the 1980’s in NYC. Many of my friends and co-workers identified as LGBTQ. I lost one close friend to AIDS and lived through the fear and trauma facing the community.
The gay community always had a special place in my heart.
Recently, I was drawn back to The LOFT after attending a presentation by Shephard Vargas. I was so impressed with the professionalism, programming, and services, that I immediately wanted to be involved in any and all ways possible. I decided to become a LOFT business partner.
I took a table at Westchester Pride this past June and attended the professional mixer group where I met many wonderful people. I also became SAGE certified by completing the cultural training so I could increase my knowledge and understanding of older LGBTQ+ adults.
I was invited to be a guest blogger for SAGECare for the July 2022 edition. My blog discusses the importance of having an HCP (Health Care Proxy) and POA (Power of Attorney).
I am a native New Yorker, having grown up in Brooklyn. I’ve lived in Westchester for the past 30 years.
I have a Bachelors degree from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. I spent my entire 30-year career managing budgets, cash flow and collaborating with attorneys, CPA’s, financial and insurance professionals. I am a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers, the Estate Planning Council of Westchester County and the Northern Westchester Geriatric Committee. I have also participated in Senior Law Day, the Alzheimer’s Association yearly meetings and been a speaker at various community and library events on the topic of Financial Fitness and Financial Preparedness. I am bonded, insured and background checked.
What are some of the hurdles members of the LGBTQ+ Community face when planning for retirement and getting older?
Research shows that we learn about how to deal with money in our family of origin either through words or actions. If you didn’t learn good habits and didn’t get an education about managing finances, you probably will continue with some bad habits.
It’s not too late to learn either by reading books or taking classes, webinars, etc. I think education is key to planning for your retirement. In terms of choosing advisors, there is so much information out there and it’s hard to know who to trust or believe.
As a consumer, it’s difficult to make a good decision based on a website or ad. You need a trusted advocate to screen through all the options. Personal recommendations are much more valuable than choosing somebody based on marketing.
What will you be talking about at the Lunch and Learn workshop on July 26 from 11:30-1:00PM?
I will be presenting information and a roadmap to successfully navigate Solo Aging. Including:
1) community resources and exercises to complete a self-evaluation of what needs to be done.
2) insider tips and information about vetting professionals.