Financial problems are one of the most cited causes of divorce and crafting a Divorce Financial Plan can be your best opportunity for a new start. The compounding stresses of money management and home economics can act as an accelerant for the underlying causes of marital strife and ultimately divorce. It should also come as no surprise that divorce often results in a change in financial direction for both parties, who through the process of divorce find they have several financial goals and needs that are not part of the current marital financial plan. So for one of the parties, it’s time for a change in the methods, tools, and priorities addressed in the financial plan.
On the heels of a divorce, here are some of the most commonly shared priorities that went unaddressed in prior relationships with investment professionals and financial advisors:
Hope to pay off debt accrued in or before the divorce
Want to save for a comfortable retirement
Would like to start or have a larger emergency fund
Would like less risky investments
Would like a new home
Want more new streams of reliable income
Are hoping to build their wealth through investments
Want to gain confidence in their insurance
We feel that most of the divergence between the goals of these surveyed divorcees and their financial plans started long before the divorce proceedings. The disconnect between the financial goals of a single party and those established in a marital financial plan likely existed well before the topic of divorce arose and stems from a lack of communication and shared vision.
A staggering majority of recently divorced women comment that their post-divorce financial plan looks nothing like their marital financial plan. Furthermore, an alarming number of women developing a financial plan reveal that they have not yet discussed these priorities with a financial professional which begs the question of how a financial plan that fails to uncover the goals and needs of the woman became enshrined in the first place. As a result, many don’t have a clear path on how to achieve their stated financial goals.
These unheard financial goals compound the already frustrating and stressful situation a divorce brings.
A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® or CDFA® can play a significant role when uncovering the value of shared assets, divining a tax-based strategy for the future value of different investment types, and assisting in dividing marital assets during the divorce process. Additionally, a CFP® professional can assist you in understanding your options, documenting your financial goals, and putting you in the best position possible to help you achieve your financial goals post-divorce.
Generally speaking, women live longer, have different expectations for their money, and prioritize investment returns and strategies. As such, their financial plans should be developed differently. Having a financial advisor by their side during divorce is crucial for combining their long-term financial planning expectations with their current asset make-up. If from the outset, a divorcee lays out a road map for their financial life, the advisor and attorney can better negotiate the terms of the settlement for their shared client.
However, in a 2018 survey by the publication Worthy survey, 56% of women getting a divorce, discussed the marital house and debt as a priority, but only 48% discussed taxes, 34% discussed alimony, and 39% discussed the ongoing cost of child care. All of these have a more impactful weight on the long-term success of retirement and the border financial plan.
This makes working with a CDFA® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ even more crucial when facing a divorce. A financial professional can help you overcome emotional turmoil to bring you the financial vision and stability you deserve after divorce.