How Can I Trust Anyone with My Money After I Have Been Burned

Money is one of the most (if not the most) personal topics for most people.  In fact, many women are much more likely to talk about their sex lives or personal health issues with their friends than their financial situation.  Many of us were taught from a young age not to talk about or ask about money, and so we don’t.

Now imagine a scenario where someone you trusted with your money broke that trust.  Maybe you don’t have to imagine it because you lived that experience with your ex-spouse.  You trusted him to manage your finances and he didn’t do a great job – or even worse – hid things or lied about the money to you.  How are you ever supposed to trust anyone with your money again?

Reflecting on Past Experiences

As I have discussed before, our money is much more than numbers on a spreadsheet or a balance in a bank account.  It is an emotional topic and our relationship to it is based on experiences and attitudes formed over a lifetime.  It’s important for you to understand your money story and where it comes from so that you can recognize your blind spots and get the right support to move forward with confidence.

Unfortunately, I have seen lots of women who have been victims of bad financial decisions by their husbands.  In some cases, it is less than stellar investment performance due to over confidence in investing knowledge.  While in other cases it’s a gambling addiction that led the husband to drain all of the retirement and college accounts without the wife’s knowledge.

If you have experienced this kind of mismanagement of your funds or a lack of transparency, it will be difficult to get comfortable letting someone else in.  These are valid feelings, and very understandable.  But that does not mean it is in your best interest to try to manage everything totally on your own after your divorce.

Finding a Trustworthy Advisor

So, what are you supposed to do if you don’t feel like you have the knowledge to manage your finances on your own, but you also don’t know how you can ever trust anyone with your money again?  Well, it might not be easy, but it is possible to find an advisor you can trust to help you get educated and move in the right direction.

There are several key traits you want to look for, including transparency, competence, integrity, and empathy.  And you will likely need to interview more than one advisor to find what you are looking for.  Unfortunately, not all those who call themselves financial advisors work under the same standards or have the same level of competence.  But there are advisors out there who have the skills, experience, and emotional intelligence to help you at this time.

Conducting Due Diligence

Divorce is not necessarily the time to work with the advisor that your parents work with or that you know from college.  While these advisors may be very good at managing investments or recommending insurance, they likely do not have specific skills and experience with the transition you are experiencing.  They may not be equipped to help you in the way that will best serve you. 

When researching advisors to help you, I recommend finding someone who specializes in divorce.  One credential that indicates this is the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA).  You can find CDFAs near you through the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.  Another important credential is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP).  You can find these professionals through the CFP Board.

Another good resource is referrals.  Check with your divorce attorney or mediator for referrals of local professionals they have worked with and liked.  And if available, it’s always good to check out client testimonials and reviews.  Unfortunately, certain states do not allow financial advisors to publish reviews, so just because they don’t have reviews doesn’t mean they aren’t good, you just have to find other ways to verify their experience.

Asking the Right Questions

Once you have a list of recommended advisors, I suggest that you interview several.  In addition to skills and experience you want to find someone who you feel comfortable working with.  It doesn’t matter how good an advisor is, if you can’t openly communicate with them and understand what they are recommending for you, it likely won’t be a fruitful relationship.

During the interviews, you want to understand their fee structure and if they require that you have them manage your investments.  While many advisors do require investment management, there are also many who offer project planning services which do not require a certain level of assets.  This can be helpful if you don’t have a lot of assets to manage or just aren’t ready to turn over your life savings to someone else, but you still need guidance and help.  If you are considering asset management, be sure to ask about their investment philosophy as well.

As you go through the process, pay attention to how the advisors respond to your questions.  Are they collaborative or are they just talking at you?  Do you feel that their personality meshes with the way you like to do things?  Listen to your gut, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t move forward with it.

Building a Relationship Over Time

Trust is not something you develop overnight.  It will take time for you to truly get to know and trust any advisor you are working with.  Get as much information as you can up front in terms of the process and what you can expect around communication and updates.  If you can work on an hourly or project basis for a period of time before committing to a long-term investment management relationship, that might be ideal.  That will give you time to make sure you have found the right person before committing to something that is harder to get out of.

Recognizing Red Flags

As you are interviewing advisors, or starting to work with someone, there are definitely red flags to look out for.  One of the biggest is high-pressure sales tactics.  These usually indicate that the advisor is paid on commission, and they don’t get paid until you sign on the dotted line.  Unfortunately, they may also be trying to get you to buy something that is more in their best interest than yours. 

Also be wary of anyone who is not responsive to your questions.  If they are evasive or just not organized in addressing and responding to your questions, it might be time to look elsewhere.  Trust your instincts and seek a second opinion if something feels off.  There are lots of amazing advisors out there who are fiduciaries (meaning they put your best interests first) and who get paid by you for advice rather than for selling you expensive products.  It might take a little time to find one, but in the end, you will be glad you took the time.

Take Aways

Trusting someone to help you with your money after being burned by your ex-spouse is not easy.  However, if you need help, you should seek it.  There are many reputable advisors who can help you move in the right direction.  You just have to know what to look for and where to find them.  Ask for referrals, conduct multiple interviews, and trust your gut.  With patience, diligence, and the right advisor, it’s possible to move forward with confidence.

Sara Zuckerman, CFP®, CDFA® is the founder of Reset Financial Planning located Scottsdale, AZ and serving women across the country with a focus on helping women who find themselves suddenly single in mid-life, align their financial resources with their values to plan for the next chapter of their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Reset Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. 

Updating Your Estate Plan After Divorce or the Loss of a Spouse

Updating estate plan after divorce or loss of spouse

Although not always thought of as a part of financial planning, estate planning is a crucial aspect of financial management, ensuring your wishes are carried out effectively.  Life changes such as divorce or the loss of a spouse necessitate careful review and updates to estate plans.  The term estate plan broadly covers your will, any trusts and beneficiaries on any financial accounts.

The end of your marriage changes many things.  Even if you had a will or trust in place during your marriage, it likely won’t make sense anymore given your change in circumstances.  Although it’s probably not the first thing you want to deal with, it is important to ensure your estate plan aligns with your current needs and wishes just in case something happens to you.

Key Components of Updating an Estate Plan

Your estate plan generally refers to your will, any trusts, and other legal documents that relate to your death or incapacitation.  In many cases, married people tend to set up their wills to leave everything to their surviving spouse and to name their spouse as their power of attorney and healthcare proxy.  Since you no longer have a spouse, you obviously need to change who will receive your assets, but also who can act on your behalf if you are no longer able (this is done in the power of attorney and healthcare proxy).

In addition to updating these documents, be sure to revisit the beneficiaries on any financial accounts you have, like your 401k, IRAs and life insurance policies.  The beneficiaries on these accounts trump anything that is stated in your will and assets move straight to the beneficiary without requiring a probate process.  If you previously listed your ex-husband as the beneficiary on these accounts, be sure to change it or he will get that money if anything happens to you.

You also need to think through guardianship for minor children if necessary, considering suitable guardians.  As a single parent, if something should happen to you, you want to ensure that you have a plan for your children.  This can be one of the most difficult areas to address, but if the worst happens you will be glad that you did.

Finally, if you have a trust in place, be sure to review the beneficiaries and the asset distribution to make sure that it still makes sense.  Depending on your financial situation, a trust may be a strategic tax vehicle so make sure you understand how things change now that you are single.

Communicating Changes Effectively

Since estate planning documents are legal documents, it is always advisable to work with an attorney when drafting and updating them.  A reputable estate planning attorney will not only help you draft the required documents, but also advise you on your options and help you avoid any pitfalls. 

Once you have the updated documents in place, you want to communicate the relevant changes with the important people in your life.  Let your family know of your wishes, to avoid confusion or disputes.  Also be sure to inform the executors and trustees of their roles and responsibilities.

Move Forward with Confidence

There are many things to think about as a newly single woman.  Embrace life changes by proactively updating your estate plan to reflect your current circumstances.  It’s not the most glamorous task, but you can secure your legacy by ensuring your estate plan accurately reflects your wishes.  Taking this step will allow you to move forward with confidence, knowing that your estate plan is up-to-date and aligned with your goals.

Updating your estate plan after divorce or the loss of a spouse is a critical step in ensuring your financial affairs are in order. By understanding the impact of life changes, addressing key components of estate planning, and communicating changes effectively, you can navigate these transitions with confidence and peace of mind.

Sara Zuckerman, CFP®, CDFA® is the founder of Reset Financial Planning located Scottsdale, AZ and serving women across the country with a focus on helping women who find themselves suddenly single in mid-life, align their financial resources with their values to plan for the next chapter of their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Reset Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. 

Litigate, Mediate or Collaborate: Choosing the Right Divorce Process for You

Mediating divorce

Deciding to get a divorce is a difficult decision.  But if it is a path that you are on, you need to know that there is more than one way to handle a divorce.  Once upon a time, divorce meant lawyers, courtrooms, and exorbitant expenses.  Fortunately, things have changed and there are alternatives available.  While it is still possible to litigate a divorce, you now also have the option to choose mediation or collaboration.  In this article, we will review the three different processes, including the advantages and limitations of each, so that you can determine which is the best for you and your situation.

Mediate It

One of the most popular options for divorce today is mediation.  Mediation is a structured negotiation led by a trained mediator.  The goal of the process is for the couple to discuss and come to an agreement on an equitable settlement, including the financial split and a parenting plan if applicable. 

Mediation has a number of advantages compared to traditional litigation, chief among which is lower costs.  Not paying lawyers by the hour to handle lengthy court proceedings can save tens of thousands of dollars.  Additionally, many people are happier with the outcomes of mediation because they are based on what the couple wants and needs, not on a judge’s opinion.  Finally, mediation stays private as there are no court records to be made public.  In fact, mediation has been such a game changer in the divorce industry that some states now require going through mediation before moving into the court system.

When considering mediation, there are a number of factors to think about.  The first is who you will hire to mediate.  A number of family law attorneys have been trained in mediation and offer that as a service in addition to more traditional litigation.  There are also non-attorney mediators who are generally well-versed in the laws governing divorce but are not   practicing lawyers.  It is wise to interview several different mediators to understand how they work and find someone who you feel comfortable communicating with.

Another major consideration in choosing mediation is how communicative and cooperative you and your soon to be ex are.  The mediation process requires that you are both willing to communicate your needs and wants and to negotiate a settlement that is reasonable for both of you.  Also keep in mind that you may be able to mediate a majority of the issues and use the court system only where absolutely necessary to settle any issues that you just can’t agree on.  

Let’s Collaborate

Another divorce option for those who wish to avoid court is collaborative divorce.  In a collaborative divorce, you hire a team of specially trained experts to help you work through your divorce settlement.  In this process, each spouse has their own attorney.  The couple also hires a neutral financial expert and a mental health professional to help them through their negotiation.  The collaborative professionals all work together through the process, helping the couple to reach a settlement that makes the most sense for them.

The benefits of a collaborative divorce are very similar to mediation in that the process generally costs less than litigation and the settlement remains private.   Additionally, by having a team of experts guiding the decisions and lawyers advocating for their own clients, each person can feel more confident that they understand all of the implications of their decisions.  The process helps to even the playing field between couples and helps everyone to make more informed decisions.

The main consideration in pursuing a collaborative divorce is the level of each parties’ commitment to the process.  Under the collaborative rules, if the couple cannot reach an agreement and wish to move forward with litigation, then they are required to find new representation and start over from the beginning.  As this would be both costly, and time-consuming, it is best to avoid starting a collaborative process if you don’t think both parties are genuinely interested in resolving the situation out of court.

If You Must, Litigate

And finally, there is always the option to litigate.  Litigation involves each party hiring their own attorney and then working through the court system to come to a settlement.  In addition to being the most costly option, it is also likely to be the most time-consuming.  Most courts are overburdened, and it can take months to be able to schedule even the most basic hearings. 

Additionally, this type of process is generally more adversarial in nature, with each attorney trying to get the best result for their client, regardless of the impact to the other party or any children.  And even worse, the parties have little control over the outcomes, as the judge will make the ultimate decision and may not be able to be creative in problem solving.

On the positive side, litigation ensures that each person as representation and advocacy for their needs.  It is also a more formalized process and the decisions made by the court are binding on both parties.  While it is likely to be the most drawn out and costly option, depending on the issues you are facing it may still be the best option for you.

Litigate, Mediate or Collaborate, You Decide

Ultimately the decision on how to move forward with your divorce will be made by you and your soon-to-be ex.  What worked for a friend or family member may not be the right option for you.  Only you know how well you and your spouse communicate, how willing each of you are to negotiate and what financial resources you are willing to spend on a divorce.

As you start down this path, be open to options.  Interview multiple specialists with different practice models.  Figure out what you are most comfortable with from a process perspective and who you are most comfortable with from a personality/style perspective.  And don’t forget the interests of your children.  If you can avoid a contentious and drawn-out battle, it will ultimately be better for both you and your children.

Divorce is never fun.  But you can make decisions that make the process better for you and your family.  Whether you decide to pursue litigation, collaboration or mediation, make sure you are comfortable with the process and the professionals that you have chosen to help you.  The more you understand your options before you start the process, the better you will be able to choose the right model for you.

Sara Zuckerman, CFP®, CDFA® is the founder of Reset Financial Planning located Scottsdale, AZ and serving women across the country with a focus on helping women who find themselves suddenly single in mid-life, align their financial resources with their values to plan for the next chapter of their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Reset Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. 

If I Had a Billion Dollars

woman with money

If you are a child of the 80s and 90s like I am, you probably remember the Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had a Million Dollars.”  They sang about all the things they would do if they had a million dollars, ending the song by saying “I’d be rich!”  Well fast forward to today and a million dollars is no longer what it once was.  With soaring real estate costs and the crazy inflation of the past few years, most people could easily spend a million dollars and it might not drastically change their lives. 

What Would You Do with a Billion Dollars?

However, thinking about what you would do if you came into a large sum of money can be an illuminating exercise.  When we think about financial goals, most of us think about paying off student loans or saving enough so that we can retire at 65.  But those goals aren’t very exciting.  While they are important and should be done, they aren’t the kind of goals that get most people bounding out of bed in the morning to get started.  Goals that are exciting and get people motivated are things like supporting an organization that they are passionate about or building a business.  When we start to reframe money as a tool to help us achieve our goals, rather than just something we need to have to pay off debt or save for the future, working on our goals can be a lot more exciting.

To shift from thinking about the financial “shoulds” to the financial “coulds” start by thinking about what you would do if you suddenly (legally and ethically) came into a large sum of money.  For the sake of the exercise, let’s say you woke up tomorrow morning and found your checking account with a billion dollars in it.  Why a billion?  Because while most of us could easily spend a million dollars in today’s economy, it’s pretty hard to spend a billion dollars.  At that level, money is no object.  You and your family will be secure.  How would your life change?

I Would Quit My Job, Of Course!

For many, the first thought might be quitting their job.  Is that what comes to mind for you?  If so, is the cause that you don’t want to work ever again, or just that you don’t want to work at your current job anymore?  Are there things you would like to do if salary and benefits weren’t the main driver?  Maybe you have always dreamed about working for a non-profit or becoming a ski instructor, but those jobs don’t provide the resources you need to maintain your lifestyle.  But if money was no longer a concern, how would you like to fill your time?  While retiring at forty-five might sound like a win, in reality most people need some kind of purpose to build their days around beyond endless golf.  Finding a career that is aligned with your passions is one possibility. 

What about starting that business that you have been secretly thinking about for years?  Maybe its opening a bakery and coffee shop in your neighborhood.  Not only do you have to be comfortable with an unpredictable income, but there is also the huge upfront cost of building out the space.  What seems nearly impossible in your current reality because of the financial risks could be possible if money is no longer a concern.  Would you do it?

Why is Retirement the Goal?

I once met a man who told me he couldn’t work with a financial advisor because every advisor he met immediately started to talk to him about retirement.  He asked why he would ever retire when he had the perfect life.  The man was an author who worked out of his home.    He was able to wake up and write in the morning, and then greet his son when he got off the school bus in the afternoon.  In his view, his life was perfect as it was and there was no need to retire.  This man made me think – why isn’t the goal to build a life you never want to retire from rather than toiling for decades at a job you hate just so you can retire at 65?

What is Possible When Money is No Object

Using the billion-dollar exercise is a way to start opening your mind to what is possible.  Most people never think expansively about what is possible.  In fact, when you ask most people their financial goals, they say things like retire at 65 or travel.  But when you ask why, they don’t know.  They are just regurgitating what they have heard from others or seen in the press.  And those aren’t the kinds of goals that make foregoing spending today for the promise of a different financial tomorrow very exciting.

While it is unlikely that you or I will suddenly wake up to find ourselves billionaires, what is possible is starting to create the life we envision when money is no object.  I am not talking about buying a private jet or a mansion in the French Riveria.   But I am talking about using money as a tool to move your day-to-day activities more in line with your values.  And living the life you want now instead of waiting for some far-off future date.  What if you could figure out a way to start that business or work at that non-profit without winning the lottery?  How different could your life look if you woke up every day with a sense of joy and excitement for what was ahead rather than a feeling of dread?

Step One: Create the Vision

It might seem impossible to reach these goals from where you sit today.  However, I am here to tell you that it is more possible than you think.  The first step is to create the vision.  What can you dream up when you start to think out of the box?  Take off all of the expectations of family and society.  What is it that you want to do with your life in your heart of hearts?

I don’t believe that you can manifest your dream life just by putting it out in the universe.  But I do believe that if you take time to examine what is actually important to you and what you really want your life to look like, then you can start to achieve it.  And your money is a tool that can help you do it. 

The problem most people face is not that they can’t achieve their goals, it’s that they never take the time to really think about what is possible because they are too busy with the day to day of what already is.  Do you want the next twenty years of your life to look like the last or are you ready to start building something that you really love?

Sara Zuckerman, CFP®, CDFA® is the founder of Reset Financial Planning located Scottsdale, AZ and serving women across the country with a focus on helping women who find themselves suddenly single in mid-life, align their financial resources with their values to plan for the next chapter of their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Reset Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. 

Money Stories: Understanding the Roots of Your Financial Behavior

Money Stories

I have heard many financial advisors over the years say they got into this industry because they were good at math and liked the stock market.  But what you quickly learn as a financial planner is that math has very little to do with how people manage their money.  I can run all the calculations I like and explain until I am blue in the face about optimal tax strategies, but it’s mostly a waste of time.  You see, money isn’t a number on a spreadsheet.  It’s a concept and that concept is deeply tied with our emotions whether we realize it or not.

The way we think about and interact with our money has very little to do with the number in an account or the goods and services we can trade it for.  Rather, it is based on our money stories.  And our money stories are shaped by a lifetime of experience and attitudes that have been passed down to us by our parents and their parents before them.  And in fact, if there was money trauma in your past, or your parents past it is likely affecting how you think about and interact with your money now.

Defining Your Money Story

Have you ever thought about your money story?  If not, I suggest spending some time thinking about it.  As a starting point, think about your earliest memory of money.  Or how money was discussed (or not) in your household growing up.  Did you ever experience a sudden influx or unexpected outflow of a large amount of money?  Were you taught that money was dirty?  Or that money was not something to be discussed?  Or did you grow up with “enough” such that you had everything you needed and didn’t think much about it?

For me, my parents divorced when I was five.  I don’t remember much before that time, but I know that after that money was tight for a number of years as my parents worked to reestablish their own finances.  One of my first real memories of money is standing in a Target with my mom and brother.  My brother wanted something and our mom told him we couldn’t afford it.  My brother lost it.  He did not like being told that he couldn’t afford something he wanted.  Fast forward thirty years and this is still true for him.  He started working as soon as he could as a teenager and hasn’t stopped since.  He likes to be able to afford what he wants, when he wants it, and he doesn’t want anyone to tell him otherwise.

Another early memory I have is of my father sitting at the kitchen table “doing” his bills.  He owned a construction business and did all of the bookkeeping for it in the evenings in our kitchen.  From this I learned about things like balancing a checkbook and keeping your financial records organized.  I don’t remember there being any particular feeling of scarcity or abundance around this process, it was just a very methodical process (done with a handheld calculator and a legal pad because home computers weren’t a thing yet).

Another interesting exercise is to think about what socio-economic class you were in during elementary or middle school.  How did you know?  For those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, we didn’t have social media showing us how the ultra-wealthy live.  If you are like me, you likely had a frame of reference that didn’t extend much beyond your school or town.  While there may have been different levels of wealth in those environments, it was likely not that many degrees of difference.  It wasn’t until college and beyond that I really understood how varied the wealth levels of different people are.

Identifying Patterns and Beliefs

As you start to think about these early experiences, do you see any patterns in your life now that you can connect?  Did you grow up with little money, and now that you earn your own money you can’t stop spending on everything you want?  Or is it just the opposite and you hoard money, fearing to spend any in case it all goes away?  Or maybe you think that finances and investing aren’t something you can understand because you were never taught about them, or you received messaging that women can’t (or shouldn’t) handle the money.

There is no one way that a past experience will express itself in your current behavior.  If you have siblings, you can easily see this.  Although you may have had very similar experiences growing up, I am willing to bet that you and your brothers or sisters interact differently with money now.  The key is to understand what you experienced and what patterns you see in your attitudes and behaviors now that you can connect back to those experiences.

Unpacking Limiting Money Beliefs

As you start to understand your money story, you can also start to see what limiting beliefs might be tied to your story.  Perhaps culturally, you learned that wealth is equal to success and so you feel that you aren’t successful unless you have a high-earning job even if that job is making you miserable.  Alternatively, maybe you grew up hearing negative comments when someone in the neighborhood bought an expensive new car and so you think that external displays of wealth are a bad thing.

Regardless of what beliefs you have, identifying them is the first step.  Then you can decide if they are serving you now or not.  It is not a fact that driving a nice car makes you a bad person if that is what makes you happy (and you are financially able to afford it).  Just as it is not a fact that you can’t be successful unless you earn a lot of money.  You get to define what makes you feel successful and if that is being a partner in a fancy law firm working 80 hours a week then that’s great.  But if it’s working for a non-profit where you get to see the positive impact of your work on the lives of others every day (but aren’t earning oodles of money) then that is success too.

Creating a New Money Narrative

Once you understand more about your money story and the beliefs resulting from that story, you can start to create a new narrative.  What role do you want money to play in your life?  For me, I want to be able to use it as a tool to achieve the life I want including more time with family, good health and the freedom of running my own business.  I don’t need fancy cars or expensive handbags.  I have had those things in the past and have found that they don’t bring me joy.  I am much happier when I am able to use my money in alignment with my values.

And don’t be afraid to get professional guidance if needed.  If you never learned about managing your finances and have been hampered by the belief that you “can’t”, consider investing in a personal finance course.  Or perhaps your money issues run deeper or there was real financial trauma in your past.  Consult with a financial therapist or coach.  They will help you with strategies to move past the issues and into a more positive space.  You have the power to change your relationship with money and do things differently in the future.

Money Stories in Action

Money stories are incredibly powerful in shaping our behavior, but most people aren’t aware of them.  Understanding your money story, and the patterns and beliefs that story has created in your life, is a great first step.  Once you know why you behave in a certain way, you can more easily change that behavior if you desire. 

If you find this topic as interesting as I do, there are a number of ways to learn more.  One is through the 50 Fires podcast with financial planner Carl Richards.  He delves into money memories and money stories with his guests in a very open and honest way.  It’s a great way to understand more about how emotions (many of them subconscious) have so much more to do with your money than numbers do.

Sara Zuckerman, CFP®, CDFA® is the founder of Reset Financial Planning located Scottsdale, AZ and serving women across the country with a focus on helping women who find themselves suddenly single in mid-life, align their financial resources with their values to plan for the next chapter of their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Reset Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. 

Credit & Divorce: Strategic Steps for a Strong Financial Future

divorce and credit

Whether you are just starting to think about a divorce or are in the middle of the process, there are many things you need to think about.  One critical aspect of the divorce process – one that often goes unnoticed but can have lasting effects on your financial well-being – is credit and debt management. Most people don’t spend much time thinking about their credit, but when you need to buy a new house or want a new car, you need good credit so that you can get any financing at a good interest rate.

Any joint debt you have with your spouse will remain both of your responsibility, even after divorce.  Your divorce decree doesn’t absolve you of financial responsibilities, and creditors may not adhere to the court’s orders. While credit isn’t something you think about every day, you want to make sure that you do everything that you can to protect it during your divorce so that you are able to leverage it in the future to buy a new home or get a loan to start a business.  If you aren’t aware of and monitoring your credit, it can be destroyed during divorce.  Let’s delve into six key steps to safeguard your credit during and after divorce.

Get Your Credit Organized

Before filing for divorce, start by organizing a folder for all credit-related documents. This includes credit card bills, mortgage statements, insurance bills, and statements from other recurring accounts.  This is helpful for understanding your credit situation but will also be important as a first step in starting to understand your overall financial situation.  If possible, encourage your spouse to do the same. This organized approach lays the foundation for a clear financial picture.

Run a Credit Report Before Divorce

Accessing your credit report is crucial. By law, you’re entitled to a free copy annually from each major credit reporting agency. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for this information. It’s essential to request reports from all three credit bureaus, which include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to ensure a comprehensive overview as different agencies may report different accounts. 

These reports will show your credit score.  Credit scores are based on your credit history and range from 300 to 850.  Scores below 669 will make it harder for you to get credit or make it more expensive when you do.  Scores above 740 are considered very good and mean you should have an easier time getting credit in the future.  If you have a higher score, you want to protect it and if you have a lower score you will want to research things that you can do to improve it so that it doesn’t hold you back in the future.

While your score is important to know, more importantly the credit report will show all of your open lines of credit.  What you don’t want is for your spouse to get ahold of some old credit card that you forgot about and start making charges that you will be liable for.

Clean Up Your Credit

To avoid your spouse charging up bills that you will have to pay off, prior to divorce proceedings, close existing accounts to new charges. It is a bit of work to contact each creditor, but it will be well worth it. This step prevents incurring additional charges on joint accounts after the divorce process begins. Be persistent in closing these accounts in writing and keep a copy of each letter for your records.

Payoff Joint Debts

For any joint credit cards shared with your ex-spouse, use marital assets to pay them off and close them. This ensures a clean financial break. If refinancing options are available, consider them to facilitate a smooth transition to individual financial responsibility.  Ideally, you don’t want any joint debts outstanding after the divorce.  And if joint debts will exist, there needs to be a clear and documented plan for who will be paying them.

Monitor Your Credit After Divorce

After the divorce, vigilantly monitor your credit reports, especially jointly held accounts. This proactive approach helps you address any issues promptly. Additionally, you can freeze your credit which prevents anyone from applying for credit in your name.  Remember, your ex-spouse probably knows your social security number and enough personal information to successfully complete a credit application in your name. 

You can freeze your credit online through each of the three credit bureaus.  This means that a password is required to unfreeze it before any new creditor can run a credit application.  It will add an extra step for you when you need to apply for credit, but it’s worth the extra three minutes of work to avoid someone applying for credit in your name (not only does it stop ex-spouses but identity thieves as well, so it’s a good practice in general).

Take Charge to Avoid Delinquency

Finally, if there are any remaining joint accounts and your ex-spouse is not meeting obligations to pay them, consider taking responsibility to avoid negative impacts on your credit. While the divorce agreement may state that your ex-spouse is responsible for payment, again creditors don’t care.  If your name is on it, you are responsible regardless of what was agreed in divorce. 

A derogatory mark can affect your credit for seven years, potentially costing you thousands in additional interest or preventing you from being able to make major purchases.  It is in your best interest to ensure that all accounts are paid timely even if it was agreed that your ex would pay (and again, if possible, pay off all debts with marital assets as part of the divorce so that you don’t have this problem down the road).

Navigating the complexities of credit during divorce requires diligence and strategic planning.  While your credit is probably not the first thing on your mind at this time, there are some steps you need to take to protect yourself.  By following these steps, you will go a long way towards ensuring that you have the credit you will need to reestablish yourself after your divorce.

Sara Zuckerman, CFP®, CDFA® is the founder of Reset Financial Planning located Scottsdale, AZ and serving women across the country with a focus on helping women who find themselves suddenly single in mid-life, align their financial resources with their values to plan for the next chapter of their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Reset Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. 

Don’t Just Hire Your Dad’s Financial Advisor for Your Divorce

woman working with divorce financial advisor

While divorce is obviously an emotional process, it is also likely the largest financial transaction of your life. It is only logical that you seek financial guidance during your divorce, maybe for the first time in your life. For most women, this means asking friends and family for referrals to financial advisors they have worked with and liked. However, this may not be the time to use an advisor just because someone you know had an enjoyable experience with them. Instead, look for three key skills in any advisor you may be considering.

Real Financial Planning Skills

Many people call themselves financial advisors, but that title is not regulated and so the skills and services provided can differ greatly. There are a number of investment and insurance sales professionals who call themselves financial advisors but really don’t offer any guidance beyond the products they are trying to sell.

Divorce is not a problem to be solved with a mutual fund or insurance product. You need to work with someone who can help you develop a holistic plan including cash flow, investments, insurance, retirement, and estate planning. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is trained in all of these areas and can be a good place to start. Ensure that any professional that you are considering holds this credential and offers true financial planning, not just investment management, as part of their service model.

Divorce Expertise

While a holistic planner is a good place to start, one with divorce expertise is even better. Divorce is a complicated transaction with many nuanced considerations. While most financial planners are skilled in planning for common events like retirement, few have training and experience in the world of divorce. This is where a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can be instrumental. In fact, I know several financial advisors who became CDFAs after going through their own divorces and realizing how little their previous financial planning training and experience prepared them for handling divorce related planning.

Depending on the types of assets you and your husband have, the divorce process can be much more complicated than just adding up the value of your assets and dividing it in half. There are also tax issues and short- and long-term cash flow impacts to be considered. Most divorce attorneys and mediators, while skilled in the law, are not financial experts and do not understand the long-term financial impacts of various asset splits. You want to have someone in your corner who understands all of these nuances and can help you understand them. You also want someone who can illustrate the impact of various settlement options for you and your children, both short-term and long-term.

Bandwidth to Support You Properly

Finally, you will also want to consider how much time the advisor has available to dedicate to you. Many of the large national investment firms have financial planners available for their clients. However, these advisors often work with 200-300 clients each. In this model, they are much like most doctors, they have to get their clients in and out quickly and don’t have the time to really dig into the details. The complexity of divorce requires an advisor who can dedicate time to understanding your situation, forecasting various scenarios and guiding you through the process, both the numbers and the emotions.

Most financial advisors who really specialize in helping divorcing clients work independently or in small firms. This might mean that that they are a little harder to find, but the extra investment of time in finding a true expert will pay dividends for you as you move forward. You can search industry associations such as the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) or the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) for local practitioners. Or you can ask your lawyer or mediator for a recommendation.

Hire the Right Person for the Job

Finding the right financial professional to help with your divorce is an important task. While asking friends and family for recommendations might be a place to start, I recommend you do some more research and find someone who is best qualified to help you during this challenging time. You want to make sure you find someone who offers comprehensive financial planning, understands the complexities of divorce, and has the ability and desire to spend the time with you necessary to help you understand the decisions you are making. Having the right team by your side will help you move into your next chapter with confidence.

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

Follow my YouTube channel for weekly videos covering a range of topics that will be helpful to you as you start to take control of your finances and adjust to your new normal.

Understanding Income Tax Filing as a Divorced Parent: Key Considerations

mother filing income taxes

It’s tax time again.  And whether you are newly divorced, or in the middle of a divorce, there are a few issues that you need to be aware of related to your income taxes going forward.  The primary areas you will need to consider are dependent claims, child support and alimony.  If your settlement is not yet complete, being aware of these issues, and addressing them in the settlement, will make things easier for you in the future. 

Determining Dependent Claims

One of the most important considerations for your tax filing as a divorced parent is which parent will claim the children as dependents on their tax returns.  The child tax credit is $2,000 per child, of which $1,600 is refundable for 2023.  Because this is a credit, and not a deduction, it directly reduces the amount you will owe to the IRS and is very valuable.  However, only one person can claim a child as a dependent, so there needs to be a clear plan between divorcing parents.

The general rule related to child tax credits is that the custodial parent has the right to claim the dependent on their tax return.  However, with shared custody, this can get murky.  Technically, whoever has the child the most (defined as 183/365 days during the year) gets to claim the child.  If neither parent meets that standard (the child is with each parent 182.5 days per year) then the person with the higher Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is entitled to the credit.  While these are the rules the IRS would follow if auditing you, other scenarios can be negotiated between the parents.

While time spent with each parent is a factor the IRS will look at, there may be other issues that you and your ex-spouse want to consider.  For example, it is possible that one parent has the child in their home for more time each year but that the other parent is responsible for more of the expenses related to the child.  In this case, it may make sense for the primary financial provider to take the tax credit.  If this is something you decide to do, the custodial parent can formally release their right to claim a child as a dependent by filling out Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent.

There are also other creative ways you can settle this issue with your ex-spouse in a shared custody arrangement.  One possibility (if you have an even number of children) is to each claim half of the children on your tax return.  Another choice might be to alternate years, for example you claim the children in even years and your ex-spouse in odd years. 

You do have flexibility in how you decide to address this issue, but it is important that the parents communicate and agree because if you both claim the same child your taxes will be rejected, and you will open yourselves up to audit.  As with any agreement related to divorce, I would recommend having it included as part of your settlement agreement so that you have documentation in case there is a question in the future.

Impact of Child Support on Taxes

Another financial element of many divorces is that of child support.  From a tax standpoint, child support is much easier to understand than dependent claims.  Child support is neither income to the recipient nor deductible to the payor.  Because the money is for the expenses of your child, it is treated the same as if you were spending it on your own expenses and it is not deductible for anyone.

Tax Considerations for Alimony

The final financial agreement in divorce that may affect your taxes is that of alimony or spousal maintenance.  With alimony, the tax treatment will depend on when your divorce was finalized.

For divorces finalized in 2018 or earlier, any alimony or spousal maintenance is deductible to the payor and taxed as income to the payee.  For any divorce finalized in 2019 or after, alimony is not tax deductible to the payor or taxable to the payee.  Under the current rules, alimony, spousal maintenance, and child support all receive the same tax treatment.  This rule was changed to eliminate the opportunity to classify child support as alimony for better tax treatment to the payor.  Unless you were divorced prior to 2019, there is no tax impact for any alimony you will pay or receive.

Communication and Planning Are Key

There are a number of financial agreements that can be made as part of your divorce, some of which will affect your tax filing going forward.  The most important item to consider is which parent will claim the children as dependents on their tax return.  If you have a shared custody agreement this isn’t always straight forward.  It is important to communicate openly with your ex-spouse about who plans to claim the dependents.  If possible, it is advisable to agree to and document this decision as part of your divorce settlement.

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

Follow my YouTube channel for weekly videos covering a range of topics that will be helpful to you as you start to take control of your finances and adjust to your new normal.

How ‘The Gap and the Gain’ Can Help You Feel More Positive and Empowered

Woman in transition reading book

Reading is one of my favorite ways to spend time.  I read lots of books about health and nutrition, which is a passion of mine outside of financial planning.  I also love light fiction – think Bridgerton.  And as a business owner and entrepreneur I also read my fair share of business-related books.  One such book that I read recently was “The Gap and the Gain” by Dan Sullivan.  While this book is aimed at helping goal-oriented business owners appreciate their success more, the lessons can apply more broadly and might be helpful for you as you navigate the transition from married woman to single.

The premise of the book is that high achievers don’t find happiness and feelings of success in their achievements because they are always looking forward to the next goal rather than appreciating how far they have already come.  And even worse, the “goal” is often a moving target, so when you get close to a goal, you move the goal posts further away and never feel like you get there.

Understanding the Gap

Let’s say you have a new goal, like losing twenty pounds or growing your business revenue twenty percent this year.  We have all be taught to make our goals SMART or specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time based.  As a first step then, you have to define some specific target that you can measure (weight lost or revenue gained).  This is where the problem starts.  What you now know is the distance between where you are now and where you want to go.  Sullivan calls this “The Gap”.  While it’s important to know where you are going, by focusing on how far away you are from the target, you can feel overwhelmed, unhappy and unsuccessful.

Similarly, if you are at the beginning of a life transition due to divorce or death of a spouse you likely have goals around what you need to do to rebuild your life.  Maybe you need to get your finances in order or buy a new house or shift your career to match your new circumstances.  Whatever the goal, it probably feels distant and difficult to achieve from where you are sitting today.

Anytime you are a long way from where you want to be, it can be emotionally challenging.  Whether your goals are related to growing a business or reorganizing your life after a major transition, the emotional impact is the same.  So how do you work around this?  Well according to Sullivan, you need to shift your focus from “The Gap” over to “The Gain.”

Appreciating the Gain

Since we now understand that “The Gap” is the distance between where you are now and your goal, the Sullivan defines “The Gain” as the distance between where you are now and where you started.  As human beings, we are hardwired to always be looking forward and discounting how far we have already come.

Sullivan’s premise is that in order to be happy and feel successful, you need to look not forward to where you are going but backward to where you started.  By acknowledging where you started and what you have achieved to date, you are more likely to feel happiness and contentment on your journey, rather than feeling as if you have failed to meet your goal (yet).

How does this work in practice?  Let’s look at an example.  Say the goal is to lose twenty pounds.  Every day you get up and weigh yourself.  Maybe you lost a pound or two, or maybe you gained a pound.  Whatever small change you see on the scale is good information, but when the progress is very small, or non-existent, it can be difficult to stay motivated to keep going because the goal seems so far away.

However, what if instead of focusing on the number on the scale every day, you were more focused on how far you have come with the positive changes that you are making in an effort to reach your ultimate goal?  For instance, you have started walking every morning and you haven’t had dessert in three weeks.  While the number on the scale might not be moving as much as you want, you have to admit that you are feeling more energized and healthier.  By focusing on the positive steps, you are already taking you will be more motivated to continue putting in the work, which will eventually lead you to where you want to go.

The Gap and the Gain in Real Life

I have started implementing this in both my business and my personal life.  I have a page on my computer called “The Gain” and I keep a running list of all of the achievements I have already made towards goals that I am currently working towards.  I am definitely one to minimize my achievements when others point them out.  Creating the first version of this list was an eye-opening experience when I could see concrete evidence of how far I have come since I started. 

As it relates to my business, I realized that starting my own business wasn’t something I just did last year.  It was actually six years in the making.  I went back and thought about every step I took that ultimately led to where I am now.  While I am not yet where I want to be with my business, looking at all I have already done definitely helped me shift my perspective.  Adding to this list as I achieve milestones brings a lot of satisfaction, and looking back over it when I am having a bad day quickly helps me to shift from negative into positive.

What Is Your Gain?

Whether you have goals around your health, your career, your relationships or any other aspect of your life, you might want to consider the gap and the gain.  Using this framework as a lens through which you view your progress can be very empowering.  No matter what your goal is, it won’t happen overnight.  If you focus only on how far you have to go to reach your ultimate goal, you will be frustrated and overwhelmed.  If, however, you can focus on the steps you have already taken and how far you have already come, you will feel more confident and empowered to continue to march forward.

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

Follow my YouTube channel for weekly videos covering a range of topics that will be helpful to you as you start to take control of your finances and adjust to your new normal.

New Year, New Financial Beginning: A Guide to Setting Goals and Taking Control

woman making financial goals for new year

The beginning of the New Year is often a time to set resolutions for the year or to feel like you are starting again with a clean slate.  This is no different with your finances.  Use the New Year as a reminder to check in, review your plan and make sure you know your goals for the year.  Whether you are in the midst of a transition due to divorce or loss of a spouse or are moving forward after experiencing something like this in recent years, working through this process can bring you a sense of control and optimism for the year ahead.

Review Your Goals

As you start to think about your financial objectives for the coming year, it’s a good idea to revisit your goals.  Are there any major life changes on the horizon like a move or a job change?  Are your kids heading off to college or turning twenty-six and therefore no longer eligible to be covered by your health insurance?  Or maybe there are circumstances beyond your control that you are worried about, like potential layoffs at your company.  Start by listing out all of these items.  Have you included them in your financial plan or are there updates that need to be made?

It’s also a good time to reconsider your priorities.  Maybe you have been working to aggressively pay down debt, but now it’s at more manageable levels so you want to consider reallocating a portion of those funds to something else.  Or maybe your kids are starting school full-time and so you can use money you were previously paying for daycare to start to build college savings for them.  Life changes every year, especially when you are raising kids, and so things that might have been top priority last year aren’t as important as you look into the new year.

Update Your Cash Flow

Once you have a good understanding of your goals and priorities you can then consider the changes you need to make to your budget.  Start by comparing your actual expenses last year to your plan.  Were they in line or were there items that were much higher or lower than anticipated?  Make sure you have a good handle on the necessities like food and utilities before making changes to discretionary items.

Does your updated budget allow for more retirement savings?  Are you maximizing your retirement contributions at work?  If not, consider increasing it even a percentage point or two.  Little increments over long periods of time can make a significant impact on your future life and you won’t even notice the difference in your paycheck.  If you are already maximizing your work plan, are you able to make an IRA contribution?  Depending on your income level, you can consider either a Roth or Traditional IRA contribution in addition to what you are saving at work.  These contributions may or may not be tax deductible, but they do allow you to get a little more tucked away for retirement.  And don’t forget, you have up until the tax deadline of April 15th this year to make IRA contributions for 2023.

Finally, check in on any Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) that you have through work.  Make sure you request reimbursement for any related spending in 2023.  And if your employer allows it, take advantage of any grace period (usually up until March 15th) to use up any unused funds or roll them to this year before they are lost forever.

Consider Your Assets & Debt

The new year is also a good reminder to check in on your assets and debt to see if there are any changes that need to be made.  To start, do you have your emergency fund set up and funded with at least three to six months’ worth of expenses? If not, this is a good time to replenish it.  If you are concerned about anything specific, like a water heater that is on its last legs or a downturn in your business, consider putting even more than the recommended amount aside to handle what may come. 

On the investment side, it’s a good opportunity to rebalance your accounts.  Is your portfolio still in line with the target asset allocation you set?  Last year was a good year for the stock market, so it might be time to take some of those gains off the table and reinvest in bonds so that you aren’t taking on more risk than you intended.

In terms of debt, what objectives do you have for the year?  If you took out a new mortgage in the past year, you likely have a 6 or 7% interest rate.  Based on the Fed’s plans, rates should come down in 2024 so it’s worth keeping your eye out for refinancing opportunities.  If you have nonmortgage debt that you would like to eliminate, create a plan for that.  Start with debt that has the highest interest rates first and then work down the list paying them off one at a time.

Don’t Forget Tax Issues

Finally, it’s also a good time to start thinking about your taxes.  Tax documents will start coming in any day so create a folder to keep everything organized and accessible.  Again, this is a good time to consider any additional retirement savings that might be available for 2023.  If you are a business owner, work with your accountant to determine how much you might be able to contribute to a solo 401k or a SEP IRA.  And as discussed above, make sure you complete any Traditional or Roth IRA contributions prior to the tax deadline.

In terms of your investments, review your unrealized gains and losses and create a harvesting strategy.  If you have carried forward losses from prior years, is there any rebalancing that you need to do from a risk standpoint that you can strategically offset with those losses.  And you if get stock as part of your compensation at work, consider your plan for diversification this year.  What will be vesting when and what is your plan for it?  Do you have any stock options expiring during the year that you need to plan for?  While these events can create large taxable gains, having a plan will allow you to prepare in advance and ensure that you are managing your risk appropriately.

Like anything else that you want to improve in your life, good fiscal management and planning takes some work.  Use the turn of the calendar year as an opportunity to check in with yourself and your goals.  Make any adjustments you need to based on what you anticipate in the year ahead.  Financial planning is not a point-in-time exercise.  It’s an ongoing process, using the best information you have and then adjusting to reality as it happens.  Your financial life is like a road trip.  When you start out, your map may tell you that it’s a six-hour drive, but as you go along, it continuously updates for traffic conditions and detours.  Make the best plan you can as you start the year, and then be prepared to adjust and react as the year unfolds.

If you are interested in learning about how I can help you take charge of your finances as a newly single woman, please contact me at  or schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

Sign up for Reset FP’s Monthly Newsletter to effortlessly stay on top of my weekly blog posts and occasional extra goodies and receive my Get Your Finances Organized Checklist for free!

Follow my YouTube channel for weekly videos covering a range of topics that will be helpful to you as you start to take control of your finances and adjust to your new normal.