17 Apr How working with CDFA makes a difference in Divorce

I believe one of the most important roles I have, as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)  is  providing a reality check for my clients before , during and after divorce. I am pragmatic and not judgmental. I take the words in settlement agreements and turn them into numbers.  .

Firstly,  I do this  by having a systematic approach  for  pulling together the financial numbers  and information that  they need to start separation discussions whether the are working in mediation, collaboration or traditional negotiations.

Secondly,  I’m focused on finding solutions that work in both the short and long term.  I create projections based on clients goals and possible settlement options , whether that be proceeds from sale of their house , impact of  varies duration and levels of support, impact of future income and savings. These projections  educate and show clients  the  future implications of  what is being proposed. They also show the  the impact of  other decisions clients  have control .

I had a client who was the main breadwinner of the family. She went back to school to upgrade her skills when her husband was downsized from  his corporate job. She found a very well paying position and  has had a number of promotions since starting at  her company. Her husband  found it difficult to get back into the workforce in his previous role. Discouraged, he  started a small consulting practice  but wasn’t having much success in getting clients.  When they decided to separate, her income was substantially more than his. She was very resentful of having to make Spousal Support payments to her husband.  This looked like it was going to stall the settlement negotiations.  I worked with her to understand her current & future spending, her future income   and have her see the impact of various levels of support. I helped her set priorities going forward.  Once  she could see into her financial future,  she agreed to a spousal support payment schedule she  and her spouse could live with  as she now  felt confident about her own financial future.

17 Apr Do I need Financial Advice when I’m going through Divorce?

Divorce is not only the ending of a marriage but it  involves  the unbundling of the business part of the relationship .. separating assets.. the house, retirement savings, pensions, dealing with debts, future  income, future financial goals. If you are facing divorce.you are likely  beginning to understand that there is a legal, emotional and financial aspect of divorce.    You should reflect on where you’re at  and prioritize what professional help you need most.  You may need to  get emotional support from  a counsellor or therapist to prepare you emotionally and financial advice from a divorce financial consultant  who will provide the financial guidance to  have you ready to begin  legal separation discussions

If any one of the situations listed below is your case, you have good reason to get some expert financial advice;   if you face two or more, going without seeking advice, is risky.

Personal

  • You don’t understand your situation
  • You have a good income and a busy schedule, so you would be better off if someone else did the paperwork
  • You want to be sure you’re doing the right thing and have the confidence of knowing it’s being done right

Property

  • The division of marital assets and debts is unequal
  • Home or real estate is being kept to sell later
  • Major asset is being divided or sold
  • You aren’t sure how to value some assets
  • You aren’t sure how to value pension from employment during marriage
  • One or both spouses are self-employed owners of a business or professional practice

Your spouse

  • You can’t agree about important issues
  • You can’t get information from your spouse about assets or income
  • You suspect your spouse may be hiding assets
  • Your incomes differ by more than 20%
  • There are special needs or health problems

 

03 Apr Grey Divorce

For   “empty – nesters”, divorce is increasingly common. Though overall divorce rates have declined since spiking in the 1980s, there has been a rise in “grey divorce”.

At this stage of your life, you probably didn’t think divorce would be something you’d be contemplating when also having to consider things like investing in your business, funding your retirement, paying for your kid’s weddings or ending your working years.   The issues are significantly different than for someone in their 50’s or older than someone in their 30’s or 40’s.   You are concerned with your financial future.. can I afford to got  it alone ? How will this affect my retirement? What will I have to give up?

If you or someone you know is contemplating divorce at this stage of their lives, join us on Thurs. April 12th  for a discussion about unique issues of the older divorcing population.

Click Here for details and registration

26 Jan Are you Financially Prepared for Divorce?

“Why didn’t I pay more attention to our family finances?”

I frequently hear this from women who find themselves facing divorce.  This is the time for women to start to make constructive and knowledgeable decisions about their money and their future. It’s never too late to get started.

Here are some steps you can take to get financial prepared for your divorce. (Frankly it’s good advice even if you aren’t facing divorce)

Pay Attention to the Household Finances
You should attend meetings with insurance agents, accountants, financial planners and lawyers. You should also look over monthly bank statements and credit-card bills. Ask about your husband’s company benefits including bonuses, other “perks”,  company pensions, and other savings  plans, etc. Keep a list of all bank and brokerage accounts and insurance policies.

Don’t lose your Financial Identity
You always want to maintain your own credit identity. Check if your credit cards are in your own name or if you are simply an authorized user as a lack of credit history can work against you.  You should have three bank accounts (his, hers and ours) and maintain separate credit cards.

Keep Your Skills Fresh
While you might welcome the chance to stay home with your kids, the longer you’re out of the work force, the harder it can be to jump back in. Women often face lowball wages or lower job titles when they try to return to work after a long hiatus.

Save for Retirement
Many married women don’t make retirement-saving a priority. If the husband is the primary wage earner, the wife often trusts her spouse to save enough for their collective golden years. A woman spending her retirement savings, (sometime all on legal fees),   is particularly distressing considering that women, on average, live six years longer than men.

Get Financial Guidance
When women are going through a divorce, they need to determine which assets will help them pay their bills and reach their long-term goals. Too many women fight for the home to avoid uprooting their children, only to find that they don’t have the cash flow to pay for it.

Divorce is not only the end of a marriage but it is the breakup of an economic unit. Financial awareness will go a long way to help you feel more in control and better equipped to make reasoned decisions.

18 Feb Who gets the RRSPs in divorce?

If you are in your 40’s or 50’s when divorcing, your retirement plans are likely to change. For many, that means splitting RRSPs. In today’s Globe and Mail article :Til debt do us part: who gets the RRSP?, I share some insights about this and things you need to understand about RRSPs and divorce.

17 Aug Get real: Divorce is a business

Have you put aside the romantic notion that love conquers all…No matter how intense your emotions, it’s important to remember that ending a marriage is in fact a business deal. Those who ignore the business aspects of divorce do so at their own peril, as that divorce statistic shows. Many people seemed shocked by the advice that women and men should prepare themselves financially before ending a marriage.

Here are (3) important business affairs that required your attention:

1. Pull your credit report.Pull your credit report before the divorce so that anything in dispute can be resolved before the divorce is final.

2. Open individual bank, credit card and brokerage accounts.
You also need to do this before the breakup is official. It will be easier to get a credit card and bank account in your own name while you are still married. This is especially important for a woman who has never established credit in her own name.

3. Close all joint accounts.Closing shared accounts is a critical step and one that is too often overlooked. Cancel the accounts and be sure to request that they report each account as “closed by customer” to the credit bureaus. Divorce can take time; pay off share debt with joint assets if possible.

Since money is the number one cause of divorce, it’s safe to assume that splitting the financial sheets won’t be easy. Have you considered all of the financial ramifications in your situation?

03 Aug When You Are the One Paying Support

Nearly one third of all married women make more money than their spouses. This economic statistic is certainly a factor why women increasingly are paying support. However, in our society, women seem surprised to have to pay support even if they earn more. As the financial gender gap continues to narrow, an increasing number of women involved in a divorce must confront the possibility of paying support to their spouse. (AKA, “Manimony”).

I have assisted many divorcing women who face the prospect of paying support. Women who have worked hard building careers, taking care of children, dealing with aging parents, feel that they have contributed more than their fair share while married.

Are you someone who make more money than your spouse? If you found yourself in this situation, how did you deal with this issue?