FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Louisville, KY—May 24, 2016—Thirty-eight percent of all marriages in 2014 ended in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System. According to Carla Dearing, “While divorce is wrenching for all, women are particularly vulnerable to financial disruption.” Carla is CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service created by women for women.
“Studies reveal that in the first year after divorce, the wife’s standard of living may drop almost 27 percent, while the husband’s may increase by as much as 10 percent. Additionally, divorced women do not fare well as they age, according to the Social Security Administration, which reveals that 20 percent of divorced women aged 65 or older live in poverty, compared with 18 percent of never-married women and 15 percent of widowed women. Quite simply, to escape becoming a depressing divorce statistic, women need to avoid getting screwed in divorce,” concluded Carla.
Following are five pitfalls women need to dodge to avoid getting screwed in divorce:
Pitfall #1: Letting your emotions determine your path. Money is always emotional, but divorce amplifies this reality many times over. This is probably the time when you are least able to sort through the necessary decisions easily, but you need to make careful decisions now—your long-term-financial health depends on it. Do not, for example, be overly anxious to get closure. Rushing into a divorce settlement because you “just want to get it over with” can spell the difference between a secure retirement and a strained one.
What to do: Reach out to a trusted friend for advice. A friend or family member with your best interests at heart can lend you the clarity and energy for the next steps you need to tackle. Share a glass of wine, talk, cry and accept the support you need. If your friend has been through a divorce herself, she may even recommend a great divorce attorney or divorce financial planner. If so, listen up! With your emotions all over the map, you need trusted advisers to guide you toward decisions that honor your priorities and align with your long-term goals. It’s okay to let your support network carry you a little bit just now.
Pitfall #2: Failing to understand your financial picture. Some women get into the habit of letting their spouses handle the family finances, or of compartmentalizing the family finances so that while you may be expert in one area (e.g., your household accounts), you are out of the loop in others (e.g., a family business). You can’t arrive at a fair settlement if you don’t have a clear and comprehensive picture of your financial situation.
What to do: Start getting up to speed on your financial picture right away. First, make sure you have access to all bank and investment account passwords and documents, and your recent tax returns. Check your credit reports for discrepancies. This may feel overwhelming at first. Fortunately, educating yourself about your finances doesn’t have to be something you tackle alone. Once you have gathered all your financial statements, your financial planner can help you organize and interpret this critical data.
Pitfall #3: Accepting your spouse’s word about family assets. You may be tempted to check out mentally, but you will get much closer to a fair settlement by staying attentive, engaged and, above all, skeptical throughout this process.
What to do: Demand financial documentation. Even if the negotiations are proceeding amicably, do not simply believe everything your spouse says about his finances. Verify the facts independently and document, document, document. Pay close attention to your spouse’s lifestyle and spending habits. If you suspect your spouse is being less than forthcoming about his income or assets, ask your lawyer for advice immediately. Your lawyer may recommend consulting a forensic accountant to uncover your spouse’s assets. You may also be able to force your spouse to produce financial documentation in court.
Pitfall #4: Clinging to the family home. Many women feel they need to keep the house—no matter what—because they’ve lived there for years and it represents home for the kids. This impulse is understandable, but now that your financial landscape it about to change (perhaps drastically), it is not necessarily wise.
What to do: Do the math, then be brutally honest with yourself. Will you have enough future income to maintain the house? Remember, maintaining the house means more than paying the mortgage; it means covering utilities, upkeep and repairs, as well. Once you set aside your emotional attachment to the family home, you may realize that moving to a small condo is best for your peace of mind.
Pitfall #5: Focusing on petty property battles rather than the big picture. As you take inventory and divide up assets, it’s easy to get caught up in battles over relatively minor possessions like furniture or memorabilia. This sucks up time and energy you and your lawyer should be spending on bigger items, like alimony, child support or the house.
What to do: Be a savvy negotiator. Be willing to compromise on non-essentials, and save your legal and emotional resources for battles that will make a real difference in your long-term financial wellbeing.
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SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed by women for women. With the goal of making financial planning simple and affordable for women, SUM180 provides a radical alternative to current financial advisory offerings.
Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:
- SUM180 meets women where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help women wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
- SUM180 plans are simple. Clients need only focus on just three of their most important next steps at any given time. This approach is empowering for most, but especially for women who have been “tuned out” of their financial picture for a period of time.
- SUM180 doesn’t try to give clients a degree in finance. SUM180 clients don’t need to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with the details they don’t need.
- SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered. SUM180’s community forum allows users to support one another in their plans.
- SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes money based on the advice provided.
Additional information about SUM180 may be found at https://sum180.com/.
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Robin Schoen Public Relations