Contributed by: Jacki Roessler, CDFA®
Financial errors in divorce are unfortunately as common as the divorce rate in the United States. Several factors contribute to that today including the increase of “grey divorce” (divorce over the age of 50), tax law changes just put into effect by the current Administration, as well as complications in the way we save for retirement and local housing market value fluctuations.
However, none of the above factors are as significant as the real issue for most errors, which is the underlying emotional currents that impact divorce settlements. After all, these aren’t simply business entities breaking up. The break-up of a marital estate is fraught with emotional factors that impact a couple’s ability to make sound financial decisions.
That’s where a divorce financial advisor comes in. CDFA’s, or financial professionals who have received specialized training in the financial and tax aspects of divorce, may be an invaluable member of any team of divorce professionals. Working hand in hand with attorneys, CDFA’s guide clients to make decisions based on black and white numbers, projections and sound financial information - not psychological attachments to the house or the pension.
I’ve been privileged to work as a CDFA for over 24 years, and it’s just as rewarding today as when I first received my designation. Often, clients will come to me with a plan in mind. They’re determined to keep their home. They are on the fence about returning to the job market because they’re not sure how much income they need to target. Most often, they’ve received a settlement from the other side and didn’t know how to evaluate it. “Is this a good deal for me?” is the most common concern I hear. Once we work on their post-divorce budget and review long-term financial projections together, they have clarity. It allows them to make a decision based on a position of knowledge. Even if they can’t afford to keep the house, they feel empowered having that information today. Also, focusing on the “business” side of the divorce is often good therapy to get their mind focused on the positive aspects of the new life ahead of them.
Jacki Roessler, CDFA® is a Divorce Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®