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Does anybody use a personal assistant, virtual (like asksunday.com) or in-person to manage personal finances? If so what is your experience like? My situation is fairly complex and i'd like to save those few hours a month. I just don't feel comfortable releasing so much personal information to somebody (especially foreign company)

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I cannot offer any advice, but I can say that it would be difficult for me to trust someone else with my finances. –  George Marian Aug 26 '10 at 2:53
    
That's what i think too but if i had my own business it would be ok to share it with an accountant. So what's the difference? Businesses operate on a larger scale –  Vitalik Aug 26 '10 at 13:56
    
I'm with @George. I could not do it. I think the difference between business and personal finances is if the accountant screws it up your business goes under. If someone else screws up your personal finances you are ruined. Not a good risk/reward ratio for me. –  mpenrow Aug 26 '10 at 14:24
    
I'm not saying you shouldn't explore the idea. I just wanted to put that out there as a reminder that it is a risky proposition and not one to take lightly. Other than the person's competence, my biggest concern would be their trustworthiness. As the saying goes, "trust me with your life, but not your money or your wife." –  George Marian Aug 26 '10 at 14:40
    
@George agree 100%. this is exactly why i am asking. Not taking it lightly. Want to know if anybody actually did it. @mpenrow if you have a Mom&Pop shop as small business and it goes down it's just as bad as somebody screwing up your personal finances. What i am trying to say sometimes your family grows into a small business but you can't afford a full time accountant. –  Vitalik Aug 26 '10 at 15:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Years ago I hired someone part time (not virtual however) to help me with all sorts of things. Yes it helps free up some time. However particularly with finances, it does take a leap of faith.

If you have high value accounts that this person will be dealing with you can always get them bonded. Getting an individual with a clean credit history and no criminal background bonded usually costs < $600 a year (depending on $ risk exposure).

I would start out small with tasks that do not directly put that person in control of your money. In my case I didn't have an official business, I worked a normal 9-5 job, but I owned several rental units, and an interest in a bar. My assistant also had a normal 9-5 job and worked 5-10 hours a week for me on various things.

Small stuff at first like managing my calendar, reminding me when bills were due, shipping packages, even calling to set up a hair cut. At some point she moved to contacting tenants, meeting with contractors, showing apartments, etc...

I paid her a fixed about each week plus expenses. I would pay her extra if I needed her more (say showing an apartment on a Saturday, or meeting a plumber). She would handled all sorts of stuff for me, and I gave her the flexibility when needed to fit things in with her schedule. After about a month I did get her a credit card for expenses.

Obviously a virtual assistant would not be able to do some of these things but I think you get the point.

Eventually when the trust had been built up I put her on most of my accounts and gave her some fiduciary responsibilities as well. I'm not sure that this level of trust would be possible to get to with a virtual assistant.

However, with a virtual assistant you might be able to avoid one really big danger of hiring an assistant....

You see, several years later when I sold off my apartment buildings I no longer needed an assistant, so I married her. Now one good thing about that is I don't have to pay her now. ;)

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what kind of bond? Surety bond? –  Vitalik Aug 1 '11 at 4:57
    
Yes a surety bond. (also called a security bond) There are several different varieties depending on your needs. Rates are usually 1-4% of the amount the bond is being bought for. –  Justin Ohms Aug 1 '11 at 16:44

Not knowing anything about your situation or what makes it so complex, I would have to agree with the other commenters. If your accountant screws up your business goes under, but at least your personal finances are safe from that and you'll recover (unless all your wealth is tied up in your business). If your virtual assistant uses your personal information to take all your money, ruin your credit, or any number of other things, you're going to spend a loooong time trying to get things "back to normal".

If the few hours per month spent managing your finances is starting to add up, I might suggest looking into other ways to automate and manage them. For instance, are all of your bills (or as many as you can) e-bills that can be issued electronically to your bank? Have you set up online bill pay with your bank, so that you can automatically pay all the bills when they arrive? Have you tried using any number of online services (Mint, Thrive, your bank's "virtual wallet/portfolio") to help with budget, expense tracking, etc.?

Again, I don't know your exact situation, but hopefully some of these suggestions help. Once I started automating my savings and a lot of my bill paying, it gave me a lot of peace of mind.

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I understand there are ways to reduce the work and i understand there is a danger of somebody stealing your information. But it's not really what i am asking. I am asking if people had any experience outsourcing the job of running personal finances. I am sure somebody did. Just want to know their experience. –  Vitalik Aug 27 '10 at 14:51

When you want to hire personal assistants, you must be sure that you are hiring in a trusted company or the person you talk to have been proven by a lot of people. You must be wise in choosing one because these people will handle some of your personal things and data.

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Do you have any actual experience using a personal assistant? –  C. Ross Nov 5 '12 at 21:10

protected by Chris W. Rea Jun 6 '12 at 15:42

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