As a financial advisor, I do a lot of networking – casually meeting people at various events and learning about who they are and what they do, while also sharing my own experiences. When I explain that I specialize in financial planning for individuals who are going through a divorce, most often I see a cock of the head, a raise of the eyebrow, and that unmistakable question: What do you do for a divorce?
The process of getting divorce is a combination of legal, emotional, family, and financial issues all rolled into one. Many times the financial side of the equation is overlooked, or assumed to be fully analyzed in the legal process. But far too often the financial side is under-analyzed, under-appreciated, and not “future-proofed.” That’s where I come in.
Here are just a few tidbits of what I do during the divorce process to help my clients:
Often my clients are stuck in today, and perhaps a bit of tomorrow. But what they can’t see is how their divorce settlement will play out for them down the road. As a financial professional, I am used to making projections which will now help them see if they are likely to be financially secure in the future – as well as right now.
It can be so tempting. The divorce settlement cash comes in and thoughts of renovating the family room, taking that long-awaited vacation, upgrading the car, buying a boat – all come rushing in. But wait… that settlement is designed to support your lifestyle in the long term. I work with my clients to ensure that they have a solid financial plan. Sure, we get that vacation in the plan – but maybe not the boat. We fix the car instead of buying a new one, and then next year we can re-do the family room. I help clients make sure they don’t burn through their settlement too quickly.
My clients now have a budget, the divorce is finalized, and they know exactly how much they will receive each month. But wait… Did someone say “new roof”? What about the changes in income taxes once the child deductions are shared? What will replace maintenance income when it comes to an end in five years? Did we account for college costs 10 years from now? That’s my job. I make sure that your settlement accounts for the future, and then I help you use your assets and income to support your today in a way that will fuel your tomorrow down the road.
I’ve seen it all: bad settlement proposals, one spouse failing to disclose critical financial information, the “bully effect” that can often carry over from a bad marriage to muddy the waters of divorce negotiations. My job is to be the eyes, ears, and financial protector for my clients. I see things pragmatically and advise you on what may be right for you regardless of the circumstances that got you here.
Divorce is not only about changing what you have had in the past, it is more about setting the stage for where you want to be in your future. Don’t overlook the all-important safeguard of protecting your financial future. Align yourself with the right financial advisor to give you the best opportunity for a brighter future.