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. 

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.

Divorce and Pensions: Strategies for Smart Financial Planning

woman performing pension calculations

Dividing assets in a divorce is rarely as easy as adding up the value of everything and dividing by two.  Some assets are more complicated than others.  One asset that definitely lands in the “complicated” category is a pension.  So, if you are considering divorce and either you or your spouse has a pension, you will want to read on to understand some of the considerations you need to address.

Understanding Pensions

Pensions are a kind of retirement account where the employer puts in money for the employee for each year the employee works.  Then at retirement, the employe is entitled to a monthly payment for the rest of their life, or a lump sum of cash that they can use to fund retirement.  Although pensions aren’t as popular as they once were, there are still many professions, like teaching or public service, that offer them.

For people who receive pensions, the money may represent the bulk (or even all) of the retirement savings.  And if any part of the pension was earned during the marriage, then it is considered marital property subject to division during a divorce.  However, if you are still in your working years and not yet collecting the pension, the value is not necessarily known, and it can be challenging to divide.

Assessing the Value of a Pension

Like other retirement accounts, the amount of money in a pension includes both the deposits made by the employer and the investment growth on those deposits.  In the early years of a career, those numbers will be relatively small, but as the account grows, the impact of investing the account grows as well.  This leads to the largest years of growth being in the later years of a career.  If you calculate the split of a pension based on the value on the date of divorce, then you ignore all of the future growth potential on those assets.  Similarly, it is not enough to say the pension will be split fifty-fifty.  What is it that will be split?  The current value? The value at retirement? The payments during retirement?  What about any future cost of living adjustments?

This is where professional guidance can be priceless.  Divorce financial experts like CDFAs have experience in separating pensions and know the issues to look out for.  They also understand something called a coverture fraction which is a specific formula that you can use to calculate which part of a pension is the marital portion and what the future value of that part might be worth so that you can do an accurate forecast of various settlement options.

Another wrinkle to consider is the impact of a pension on social security.  Certain state related pensions are provided in lieu of social security benefits.  If either you or your spouse has such a pension, then you need to be aware of that and calculate the future impact of that reduction/elimination of social security on your retirement.

Pensions and the Law

Similar to other employer retirement benefits, pensions are governed by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).  As such, there are very specific rules in place to protect employees and you will need a QDRO in order to divide a pension (read more about QDROs here).  It is especially important that you have the QDRO drawn up and filed as part of the divorce proceeding.  If this is not done promptly you risk losing your rights if the money is taken out or the record keeper changes.

Pension Negotiation Strategies

As with all assets being split during a divorce, there are a number of ways you and your spouse can choose to divide things.  One possibility is to split the marital portion of the future payments when you receive them in retirement. 

However, you also have the option to calculate what that future value might be and then decide to offset it with other assets now, such as real estate or other retirement accounts.  While this strategy helps you get things settled more quickly, you want to make sure that you understand the tax impacts of these trade-offs and how it will affect your future retirement. 

Your financial planner or CDFA should be able to help you run various scenarios and show you how they will affect you both now and in retirement.  Be sure that you communicate your priorities and needs to your divorce professionals and that you take the time to understand both short and long-term implications of all of your options.

Documentation and Implementation

As you can see from this discussion, pensions are a complex asset.  Not only do you need to understand how they work and how they can be divided, but you also need to ensure that you properly document any agreement you make.  Your decree should very specifically address what is being divided (current value or future value) and when it will be divided (now or at retirement).  One other point to address is what will happen to any survivor benefits if you or your spouse should pass away early.  And don’t forget to have the QDRO drafted and filed with the record keeper as part of the divorce filing process.

Pensions can be valuable retirement assets to those who earn them.  But they are also complex and need to be handled with care during a divorce.  If either your or your spouse has a pension, and that pension was earned (at least in part) during your marriage, make sure you have the right professionals involved in helping you understand and divide it.  Your lawyer or mediator can handle part of that puzzle.  You will also want a financial expert, like a CDFA, who is skilled at pension calculations and financial forecasting to help you make the best decisions for your situation.

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.

Thriving through Divorce: Choosing the Right Professionals for Support

If you are starting the divorce process, or even thinking about it, that decision alone is overwhelming.  If you then go online to look for resources, you will likely become even more overwhelmed as you find dozens of different types of professionals advertising divorce expertise.  Who do you hire?  Do you need to hire everybody?  That seems like an army.  But will just one person be able to do everything?  This post will discuss the role of various professionals you may be considering so that you can understand the roles these people play, and which ones might be most impactful for you.

Financial Planners – To CDFA or Not to CDFA?

The world of financial planning and advice can be confusing.  There is no regulation over the title “Financial Advisor” so anyone from an insurance salesperson to a fiduciary fee-only planner looks pretty much the same to the consumer.  However, these professionals vary widely in their skillsets and focus so it’s worth the time to look a little deeper and really understand who you might be working with.

As a first step, I recommend that any financial advisor that you hire be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).  This credential demonstrates a minimum level of education and experience in financial planning, above and beyond just being a stockbroker or insurance salesperson.  Keep in mind though, that not every CFP actually practices planning, some still just sell products, so you need to ask questions on how they are compensated and what kinds of services they offer.  Also keep in mind that the CFP is not a divorce specific credential.

For a divorce specific financial professional, you should look for a Certified Divorce Financial Planner (CDFA).  This credential demonstrates additional study in financial planning around divorce related issues.  In many cases, CDFAs are also CFPs so in that scenario you are getting the best of both worlds.  In my professional network, I have a number of colleagues who were CFPs and then became CDFAs after their own divorces when they realized how little their CFP prepared them to handle divorce financial issues.  That’s a great indication of just how much more complicated divorce planning is than more common financial issues like retirement planning.

Finding the right financial professional to help you is key.  A CDFA will be helpful to you prior to and during your divorce in preparing your financial statements, understanding various settlement options, and working with your legal team to help you avoid unintended financial consequences.  Then after your divorce your CFP can help you create a new financial plan and make sure you are on track with your new budget and retirement planning.  If you can find one person to handle all of this, you will be set.

Lawyers and Mediators and Collaborators, Oh My!

Gone are the days when divorce meant each person hired a lawyer and then spent months (and thousands of dollars) in court.  In divorce today, there are a number of options available in terms of process.  You can choose to go the litigation route and hire lawyers, or you can choose mediation or collaboration.  The type of process you choose will dictate the kind of professionals that you hire. 

In recent years, mediation has become a much more popular option because it’s less expensive and less contentious.  Many lawyers have become divorce mediators but there are also non-lawyer mediators.  Mediation tends to be a good option when both parties are willing to work together to negotiate something that works for everyone involved, including the children.  If you or your spouse is unwilling to negotiate, then this option probably won’t work for you.

Collaborative divorce is another option that is becoming more popular with both divorcing couples and the professionals that work in the divorce world.  In this type of divorce, you are working with a team of people including mediators, financial neutrals, and mental health specialists.  The team works together to help the couple reach the best possible outcome.  The collaborative process has very specific requirements.  If it falls apart, you have to start all over again with new professionals.  You will want to make sure both you and your spouse understand how it works, and that you are comfortable with the requirements before you go down this path.

Of course, the litigation option is still available as well.  In this case, each party will hire their own attorney and those attorneys will work to get the best settlement for their client, in or out of court.  Understanding the type of process, you want to go through will dictate which type of legal specialist you hire.  It is worth interviewing specialists in each of these areas before deciding so that you understand all of the options and pick the right people based on your desired process.

Buying, Selling or Refinancing the House

With the home being the largest asset most people own, it only makes sense that there are real estate professionals that focus on divorce as well.  In real estate, there are two areas of focus for divorce specialists: real estate agents and mortgage brokers.

A Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) is a real estate agent who has additional training and skills in the divorce area.  There are many agents who don’t want to sell houses during a divorce because of the additional conflict and stress that can be involved.  These experts know how to deal with conflict and can help you negotiate a sale that will work for you.

On the mortgage side, Certified Divorce Lending Professionals (CDLPs) are specialists in helping divorce couples understand their mortgage options post-divorce.  While you may not be thinking about the house you may want to buy after your divorce when you file for divorce, the earlier you get these professionals involved, the better.  There are specific mortgage underwriting rules around income, especially from alimony or child support.  They can make suggestions on how to structure your settlement so that you will be in a position to qualify for the mortgage you want after your divorce is final.  If you wait until after your divorce is complete to start thinking about buying your next home, it may be too late.

And Don’t Forget the Emotional Support

All of the professionals discussed so far can help you with the business of divorce, but what about the emotions?  Well have no fear, there are many types of mental health professionals in the divorce world as well. 

Marriage and family therapists are a good starting place for support before and during your divorce.  There are also a number of therapists that focus only on divorce and the related mental challenges.  This help may be only for you, or for your children as well.  Divorce impacts everyone in the family in different ways and each of you may need different support at different times.

In addition to therapists, there are also coaches.  While therapists tend to be more backward looking and help you work through your feelings about past events, coaches tend to be more forward-looking teaching you strategies to use in the future.  In the world of divorce, you can work with a Certified Divorce Coach (CDC) who is a specialist in coaching strategies related to divorce.  Many therapists are also trained as coaches, but similar to mediators there are non-therapist coaches as well.  As with any professional you are hiring, you will want to understand their education, expertise and service offering so that you can find the right fit.

And don’t think the support ends there.  One of the biggest challenges you may face post-divorce is learning how to co-parent with your ex-spouse.  Given how difficult this is, there are specialists in this area as well.  Whether it’s a co-parenting coach to help you and your ex-spouse or a step-parenting coach should you get remarried and have to blend families, know that there are lots of people out there to help you with these transitions as well.

Divorce Professional Referral Sites

If the thought of finding all of the professionals on your own is overwhelming, there are resources to help.  You can find local resources through any of the associations that issue the divorce credentials discussed above, just search for “CDFA near me” or “CDLP near me.”  There are also divorce specific sites like Hello Divorce or Split.FYI that have directories of divorce professionals by state that you can use.  And you can always ask for referrals from friends and family as well.

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Divorce is a stressful process no matter how you cut it.  But there are lots of resources to help you so that you don’t have to go it alone.  Having the right professionals by your side will give you the confidence to make the best decisions for you.  Depending on the complexity of your situation, you may be working with a mediator and no one else, or you may need a team of four or five people to guide you through the process.  Regardless, know that the right professionals are out there and take your time to find the model that is going to work best for you.

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 QDROs and Avoiding Common Pitfalls

As if divorce is not complicated enough, on top of all of the decisions to make and paperwork to complete, you have to learn a whole new language as well.  You may hear your lawyer or financial adviser throwing around words like “quadro” and think to yourself “what the heck is a ‘quadro’!?!?” In this post, I will discuss what it is, why you care and how to avoid making mistakes that could cost you tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

What is a QDRO?

So, what is a “quadro” anyway.  Well actually, it’s a QDRO which stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order.  Rather than say all of those words, or even all the letters, most divorce practitioners just shorten it to “quadro” which makes it clear as mud, right?

A QDRO is a document that is required in order to divide retirement assets from qualified plans (like 401ks and pensions) related to a divorce.  While you can use your divorce agreements to divide other assets like bank accounts and investment accounts, you need a special document in order to divide these specific retirement accounts.  And the best part?  It’s not always drafted as part of the divorce filing so you need to either specifically ask your lawyer to do it or hire another professional to draft it for you.  And then it is your responsibility to have a judge sign it and to send a certified copy to the Plan Administrator to approve and pay out.

Why is a QDRO Necessary?

Company retirement plans are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which was designed to safeguard the rights of retirement plan beneficiaries.  It is this act that requires a court order to allow an employer-sponsored retirement plan to pay benefits to an alternate payee in lieu of the employee.  While it is meant to protect the rights of the employee, it adds another layer of complexity to your divorce.

A Plan Sponsor (the company that holds the retirement plan for the employee) will not divide retirement accounts related to a divorce without an approved QDRO, regardless of what the divorce decree states in terms of the split of assets.  In order to get what is owed to you, you will have to complete this document and file it, there is no other option.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

The biggest mistake that I see related to QDROs is a failure to file them.  Once the QDRO is drafted and signed by the judge, you will need to get the certified copy and send it to the Plan Administrator.  By this point in the process, you may be exhausted by the whole thing and ready for it to be over.  However, don’t delay or forget this crucial step.

While there isn’t an official time limit in filing the QDRO, if you wait too long you can lose all of your rights.  For example, if your ex-spouse does any of the following, you may lose out on your share of the retirement benefits:

  • Remarries
  • Retires
  • Dies
  • Gets fired or quits
  • Withdraws funds from the plan.

See what I mean about mistakes that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars?  It might be an administrative headache to file the QDRO, but it can also be the biggest step toward financial security after a divorce.

Another common issue to watch out for is filing the QDRO and then taking the money out in cash.  If you take a lump sum from the retirement plan rather than moving the funds over to a retirement account like an IRA, you will end up paying taxes on the entire amount (although you will avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty because it’s related to a divorce).  Make sure you have a plan for the money, and you know the rules so that you don’t end up with an unexpected tax bill.

The Role of Financial Professionals

As is true with many details related to divorce, having the right professionals in your corner can help you understand what needs to be done and avoid costly mistakes. 

There are several financial professionals that you may consider to help you with this process:

  • Certified Financial Planner
  • Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
  • Certified QDRO Professional

All of these professionals understand the importance of the QDRO and all of the considerations you need to keep in mind.  They can also help as an accountability partner in making sure you get everything documented and filed as soon as possible, as well as troubleshooting any issues along the way.

Understanding and remembering all of the things you need to do in order to successfully complete your divorce is no small task.  And for many Americans, their largest assets are their home and their retirement savings.  So, if you want to get your share of the marital retirement savings, you must ensure that you get your QDRO prepared and filed with the Plan Administrator as soon as you can.

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 Equity Compensation During Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide

Equity compensation is a complex topic.  Equity can be an amazing benefit for employees, but the programs are complicated and those who receive it rarely understand exactly what they get and how.  In the context of divorce, it becomes even more complicated as the equity must be valued and divided.  But whether you receive equity compensation or your soon to be ex-spouse does, it can be a major source of wealth.  You will want to make sure you understand what it is and that you have the right professionals involved to help you divide it.

Understanding Equity Compensation

As a first step in understanding how equity compensation might be treated in a divorce, you need to understand the various types of equity compensation and what considerations might apply to you.  In order to understand what you are working with you will want to gather plan documents, award letters with vesting schedules, and account statements.  From these documents you will be able to see what kind of equity compensation has been granted, how it vests, and what has been exercised or cancelled to date.

Stock Options

A stock option represents the right to buy stock at a certain price at a future date.  They can come in the form of Non-qualified Stock Options (NQSO) or Incentive Stock Options (ISO).  These differ in how they are taxed at exercise (or sale).  Stock options typically have a vesting schedule, a strike price, and an expiration date.  Depending on the stock price when the options were granted and the current stock price, the option may be worth nothing (if stock price has fallen) or may represent significant value (if stock price has climbed).  Since the value of the options varies with the stock price, they can be difficult to value prior to exercise.  Tools like Black-Scholes models can be used to determine the value of the options during a divorce proceeding.

Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)

A restricted stock unit (RSU) is the right to a share of stock in the future.  These shares are transferred to the employee on the vesting date and are taxed at that time.  The employee is typically able to sell the shares after vesting with no additional holding period.  Employees that receive this type of award often receive different grants with different vesting schedules over time.  As such, there can be different values and restrictions on various shares.  When the RSUs are being divided, the total number of shares can be divided (along with their specific terms) or shares can be sold and then the proceeds divided.

Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs)

A stock appreciation right (SAR) gives the employee stock or cash in future.  There is generally no specific date, but the value will be tied to the company’s stock performance.  The goal here is to incentivize the employee to stay with the company and help drive up the stock price over time.  Given the undefined benefit of this kind of compensation, it may be something that requires division to be deferred into the future to the actual delivery date, even if that is years after the divorce.  In this case you will want to ensure that your divorce agreement addresses this and requires delivery of year-end paystubs in the future so that the appropriate calculations can be completed, and the assets divided.

Deferred Compensation and Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans

Another commonly used type of incentive compensation is called deferred compensation (or sometimes a Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan or SERP).  While this is not truly equity compensation, as it is paid in cash rather than shares, it carries many of the same characteristics as equity compensation.  This type of program is funded by the employer and may be distributed and taxed in full at termination.  This type of compensation is generally not transferable and lacks transparency.  The employer can restructure it at any time.  Given the difficulty in valuing and transferring deferred compensation, it can be easiest to offset the value with other marital property if available.

Vesting and Tax Implications

One of the reasons employers offer equity compensation is that it helps tie employees to the company.  The way they do this is through a vesting schedule.  Vesting is just another way to say ownership.  The company grants the employee the stock or compensation, but the employee doesn’t get the benefit immediately.  While a paycheck is received every few weeks, equity compensation can be structured to vest over years (typically anywhere from one to five).  If an employee leaves prior to vesting, then they forfeit the compensation, so they are incentivized to stay with the company until vesting.  This becomes important in divorce because you can’t just sell off unvested assets and split the proceeds.

Another key consideration is the tax treatment of the compensation. Some equity compensation is taxed when granted, while other types are taxed when exercised or sold.  Additionally, some types of equity compensation are taxed as ordinary income while others are taxed at the more favorable capital gains rates.  Those types taxed as ordinary income can also be subject to FICA taxes.  You will want to understand all of these nuances before dividing assets as the post-tax value can be very different than the face value.

Equitable Division of Equity Compensation

In addition to understanding the vesting schedule and tax treatment of the equity compensation, you also need to know whether you live in a community property or an equitable distribution state.  In community property states, the stated intent is to split property obtained during the marriage equally. In equitable distribution states, a court will divide marital property in a manner which it considers fair, but not necessarily equal, to each party.  These state specific rules will have a significant impact on how any equity compensation is divided.

The next step is valuing the equity compensation.  Again, the state you live in will have an impact here as there are different valuation dates defined by each state.  Some states will consider the value as of the date of separation while others look at the date the divorce is finalized (or projected to be finalized).  This step can also be complicated if the company granting the equity is not yet a public company and pricing is not readily available.  The valuation of the compensation is important so that you can divide it or so that you can determine what other marital assets you can offset it with if dividing it is not possible or practical.

Identifying and Characterizing Marital vs. Separate Property

Finally, you need to understand what portion of the equity compensation is marital property vs. separate property.  Only marital property is subject to division during a divorce.  Equity granted and vested prior to the marriage is likely separate property, but if it was granted and vested during the marriage it is marital property.  However, given the long vesting timeframes of many types of equity compensation, it is often the case that only a portion of the compensation is considered marital property.  In this case, something called the coverture fraction will be used to determine how much of the asset is considered marital property to be divided.

As you can see, there are a number of complexities with understanding, valuing and dividing equity compensation.  This is where a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can help.  They understand the various types of equity compensation that can be at play, the related tax treatment, and the calculations to determine the marital portion.  If equity compensation represents a significant portion of your net worth, you would be well served to hire an expert in this area to help you avoid potential pitfalls.

Given the nature of equity compensation, including long vesting periods and uncertain or fluctuating values, you may want to consider creative solutions to divide property at the time of divorce rather than deferring division until vesting or delivery dates.  One way to do this is by offsetting the value of the equity compensation with other marital assets such as investments or real estate.  While you will be making decisions based only on the information you know now, and might give up future appreciation on the equity, you also avoid headaches and uncertainty down the road.

Equity compensation can be a great wealth builder for employees.  But it can complicate divorce.  If you are contemplating divorce, please research and understand any equity compensation you or your spouse may have.  Gather as much information about it as you can and ensure that you share it with your divorce team so they can appropriately advise you as you move 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.