Financial Pitfalls in Divorce with Beth Gregg, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

One of my goals when working with a divorcing client is to help them create a positive financial future for themselves after divorce. I do that by collaborating with professional Financial Analysts like Beth Gregg. Beth is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst with Fairview Strategic Partners and has been providing financial consulting for more than 20 years in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can connect with Beth at FairviewStrategicPartners.com and 704.247.9494.

Ready to discuss your family law matter now? Call 704.936.0062 to speak with an experienced Touchstone Family Law attorney today.

Key insights from the episode:

[3:20] – Avoiding common financial mistakes during divorce

[5:04] – Why you should always speak with an attorney and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst before you tell your spouse you want a divorce.

[7:09] – Bring this information with you when meeting with your financial analyst

[8:44] – What to do if you can’t get the necessary information from your spouse

[10:11] – Why you need a post-divorce budget

[18:45] – Financial planning to take care of your children AND yourself

[25:24] – How being overly contentious can backfire

[27:26] – Retirement planning and divorce

[31:27] – Free and inexpensive resources and information in Charlotte

Ready to discuss your family law matter now? Call 704-936-0062 to speak with an experienced Touchstone Family Law attorney today.

***

The insights and views presented in “Welcome to Splitsville” are for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Nor does tuning in to this podcast constitute an attorney-client relationship of any kind. If you’re ready for compassionate and reliable legal guidance on your journey through divorce, contact Leigh Sellers and her team (NC & SC) at http://www.TouchstoneFamilyLaw.com

Read Full Transcript

Announcer:                               [00:01]                       Hello there. Going through a divorce? Considering one? Sorry to hear that, but here you are. Welcome to Splitsville.

Announcer:                               [00:10]                       You’ll find Splitsville to be a pretty unique place, a new world really, with its own rules, its own expectations, and in many ways its own language, but don’t worry. You have a knowledgeable guide along the way, a Family Law Attorney with three decades of experience under her belt. Now, here she is, your host and guide, Leigh Sellers.

Leigh Sellers:                         [00:33]                       Hi, everyone, and thanks for tuning in to another episode of Welcome to Splitsville. I’m your host and guide, Leigh Sellers, Founder of Touchstone Family Law. In this episode, I’ll be answering another question that many newcomers to Splitsville have, financial pitfalls and divorce, so let’s dive in. We’re here today with Beth Gregg, and Beth and I work together often in a related capacity because when I’m doing divorce work and working with my clients’ finances, and trying to help them create a positive financial future for themselves after divorce, I love to call in experts that only deal with finances, not law, and I like for them to work with my clients directly, and I like to collaborate with them, and Beth Gregg is one of my go-tos in Charlotte that I like to refer clients to and that I like to collaborate with for that great financial advice that is so necessary with divorce. Beth, thank you so much for coming.

[Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC]

 

Beth Gregg:                            [01:48]                       Thank you, Leigh. Happy to be here.

Leigh Sellers:                         [01:50]                       Beth, tell the listeners a little bit about what it is that you do.

Beth Gregg:                            [01:53]                       I’m a financial planner and an investment advisor, but in this capacity, I’m a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and that is CDFA, and it’s a little bit unique in that I use my financial background and experience, and help people through their divorces.

Leigh Sellers:                         [02:12]                       I’m familiar with this of course, being a divorce lawyer, but tell the listeners a little bit about what it is that you have to do to get the certification. What makes it special and different than somebody who’s a CPA or a financial advisor and that doesn’t have the certification?

Beth Gregg:                            [02:27]                       This is a special certification. You have to qualify with a certain amount of time in the field, in the financial planning field, and then you take a course and the appropriate tests, and you then get the certification.

Leigh Sellers:                         [02:42]                       You generally have to learn a little bit about divorce, and specifically some of the laws related to and the rules related to money in the divorce arena.

Beth Gregg:                            [02:53]                       Absolutely. We learn about law, basics of taxes, and how that comes into play in a divorce, and then again, the financial planning aspect is a big piece of this, how to look at assets and cash flow. All of that is in my wheelhouse, but it’s specific now to the divorce process with the CDFA.

Leigh Sellers:                         [03:16]                       I certainly know, I find it invaluable and recommend it to my clients often, and so for listeners that maybe haven’t had the opportunity to work with a financial planner such as yourself in these, what are some of the most common pitfalls that you see from your perspective as a financial analyst that divorcing couples are facing when they go through the divorce process? Really, what’s some of the biggest mistakes or potholes that they need to be avoiding?

Beth Gregg:                            [03:47]                       As you know, it’s a pretty long list. I’ll keep it short, but the one thing that’s so important when you go through a divorce, it’s expensive, especially if you have a lot of assets. There’s just a lot to talk about and a lot of legal ramifications, and a lot of paperwork to backstop the information that the attorneys are processing, and you have to have cash to do that. You cannot think that you’re going to get divorced, and it’s going to cost you $10. It just isn’t, and that is a big sticking point with people, so that’s one of the first things that I talk about.

Beth Gregg:                            [04:23]                       “Where is your cash? Do you have access to credit cards? Do you have family members who can support you, particularly if it’s a very contentious divorce and somebody’s hiding money or have moved the money, and you need to get out?” Think about … Interview people, find out, talk to your friends, talk to attorneys, talk to people like me.

Beth Gregg:                            [04:46]                       “How much do they charge? How much time is this going to take?” It’s not a quick process and it’s definitely not inexpensive, but it’s worth the money. This is your one shot to get it right. Once that deal is done, you can’t go back.

Leigh Sellers:                         [05:04]                       It really helps if people sit back and really think about the financial planning before they even get it started, so really, you think they need to be figuring out what money they have, and what resources they have before they actually go to the attorney and bring up this topic with their spouse?

Beth Gregg:                            [05:21]                       Yes. Absolutely. If you’re the person who’s choosing to leave or needs to leave, you need a game plan. You need to think about certain things, and that’s where an attorney or CDFA can really help guide you. Having those initial meetings before the conversation starts at home can be very important.

Beth Gregg:                            [05:42]                       You may want to know that if you had a choice to stay and you were married for almost 10 years, then maybe you stay that extra couple months, and then you get part of Social Security from your spouse. That’s something somebody just wouldn’t know, unless they were in your office, Leigh, and you pointed that out to them.

Leigh Sellers:                         [06:01]                       I know, I always say the worst thing to happen is to start screaming that you want a divorce after you’ve had so much to drink or you’ve had a big fight. If you really can keep your head on it and approach this big life decision with a little bit of forethought, it really makes such a difference.

Beth Gregg:                            [06:17]                       It does, and one part of that is also having records, knowing what you have. “What’s at stake here? Is it just your home? Are there bank accounts and retirement accounts?” You need to see and understand what you have. Some people actually can’t afford to divorce, and they don’t find that out until they’re way down the road, and then they wonder why they didn’t try to work it out, even just for financial reasons.

Beth Gregg:                            [06:47]                       Having said that, not everybody can stay together, so take the time, find records, know what you own and what you owe, and think about how that’s going to look when … Now, two of you are in two separate households, and you don’t have each other’s income to count on.

Leigh Sellers:                         [07:08]                       I know. I have a list of documents that I often ask people to pull together. When you’re saying get the financial records, what’s the simplest or easiest list of assets did you think everybody should have already laid their hands on and their eyes on before they start having a conversation with a financial planner or a divorce attorney?

Beth Gregg:                            [07:28]                       You should be able to access your bank records, number one. You want to know how much you spend. You want to know how much the other person spends. All of that information is very valuable as a basis for a conversation for a divorce. You also want to have access to credit card statements, retirement account statements, investment accounts. “How much is your house worth? Where’s your mortgage held?”

Beth Gregg:                            [07:55]                       A lot of times, one person in the family knows all of that, and that’s their job in the family, and the other person has no idea, and that can be very difficult if you’re the one with no idea, and you’re the one who wants a divorce.

Leigh Sellers:                         [08:12]                       What about tax returns? Are those helpful or not so much anymore?

Beth Gregg:                            [08:16]                       Tax returns are very critical. You can actually mine a great deal of information out of a tax return, particularly if one of the spouses owns a business. That gets pretty tricky, and you really need the tax returns to help identify whether the business has any value, whether they’re moving money in and out of there. It can affect the income calculations, so that is a very important piece, and W-2s and pay stubs.

Leigh Sellers:                         [08:43]                       It’s true. Now, sometimes I’ve found that the move towards the paperless invoicing and statements can be problematic. Where is a good place to try to find these resources if you’re not getting mail, getting the statements in the mail anymore more?

Beth Gregg:                            [08:59]                       Some of that is simple sleuthing, just looking around the computer, see if you can find passwords. There are spouses who purposefully block the other spouse from getting access to this information. At times, it’s calling you, Leigh and saying, “Leigh, you’re going to have to ask for that because I just can’t get my hands on it”, and you’ll need to take the legal action.

Leigh Sellers:                         [09:26]                       That’s true. Sometimes, if you can’t find it yourself, you’re just going to need a little legal help or a legal push. Most banks, if you’re on the account will, if you go to the bank, get statements for you if you’re having trouble with them online, or they’re not being mailed, but you do have to be on the account, and so it’s going to be a real problem if you’ve just been made an authorized user or somebody’s just giving you an allowance or not really giving you access to those accounts.

Beth Gregg:                            [09:52]                       Exactly. If it’s a joint account, it’s much easier, but again, if you look around, you might be surprised. I’ve had people bring in boxes of old statements, old whatever, and we just run through them paper by paper and see what we can find.

Leigh Sellers:                         [10:09]                       I know, those shoe boxes. Once a person has sort of gotten their head around what they own, what they have, what they might be dividing, and has a better understanding of how they’re spending their money, what would be the next step?

Beth Gregg:                            [10:25]                       You need to create a budget, and actually, that’s good for all of us to have a budget, but that is going to be the basis of course for any potential alimony conversation. “How much do you need to live on?” It also helps determine whether you should keep the house that you live in or not. “Is it too expensive? Does it fit into the budget post-divorce?” That is the crux of a lot of decisions that are being made.

Leigh Sellers:                         [10:53]                       Do you find that most people really know how they’re spending their money?

Beth Gregg:                            [10:57]                       Not a clue, but some do. I have to say some people are completely aware and down to the penny. Most people are very hopeful. “I get this today, I’m going to spend it. I’m going to make more tomorrow.”

Beth Gregg:                            [11:11]                       That is great, until it comes to a screeching halt, and you have a divorce, and two households, and kids who need things, and it’s not as easy as you hope for.

Leigh Sellers:                         [11:21]                       Have you seen any good programs or applications or worksheets that you think really help people make that analysis in your experience. I know attorneys have tools, some financial planners have tools, but there’s actually a lot of things on the market now. Do you have any experience with clients that have come in with those where you thought, “Wow, that’s really cool, and I like that”?

Beth Gregg:                            [11:42]                       Actually no, which is a shame. I think the younger generation has access to Betterment, and Mint, and all kinds of online tools, and I think it’s very easy to find them. It’s as easy as Googling budget worksheet. I have a very basic budget worksheet that ties into that crazy North Carolina financial affidavit, and which is more the legal perspective, but it’s not hard to do a budget. In fact, it’s really as simple as just writing down the categories, the basic food and housing, and before you know it, you’ve created one all by yourself.

Leigh Sellers:                         [12:21]                       I know. I’ve often told clients to just literally just go old-school and get a notebook, and just think every day like keep your receipts and write everything down that you’re spending every day for several weeks, and start really being aware of those expenditures, quit using your debit card.

Beth Gregg:                            [12:40]                       Yes. Yes, but having said that, if you can look at your bank account for a year and export the data to an Excel spreadsheet if you’re that able, and it’s pretty easy to categorize it from there. Also, your credit cards often will have an annual statement, and they actually break down the categories for you. That’s very helpful.

Leigh Sellers:                         13:02                       It really is important if you’re contemplating divorce to really start thinking about this in advance so that you make sure, “Wow. Before I go running out the door, I really need to sit back and think, ‘How are we spending our money, and what do we have?'”

Beth Gregg:                            [13:16]                       Yes, because you will have to make some choices. The money is limited. In most families’ cases, it only goes so far, and the lifestyle that you used to live could dramatically change, again two households, other obligations.

Leigh Sellers:                         [13:32]                       What do you think the biggest mistakes or misperceptions people that are coming to see you that are going through divorces have?

Beth Gregg:                            [13:40]                       They think it’s going to be finished tomorrow, and they think that it’s very easy because they don’t understand the law and what the law requires, and the backstopping of information that has to be in place for any lawyer to do their job, so they’re not very happy when it … They want it to be finished, and it’s six months later, and we’re finally getting there.

Leigh Sellers:                         [14:06]                       So patience?

Beth Gregg:                            [14:08]                       Patience is definitely required. Finding a good counselor is really important, finding a good lawyer who talks to you and talks you through it. That’s actually a big part of my job, is to coach people through the process, to explain that they’re lawyers in court, and that’s why they can’t talk to them six times a day, and not to talk to their lawyer six times a day because they’re going to be billed for it.

Leigh Sellers:                         [14:34]                       Okay. I think that’s good advice. I would actually agree with that. What would be one of the most shortsighted mindsets that you see sometimes when people come in? I noticed that sometimes people are very economics, at least savvy, and have been the whole marriage, but I noticed sometimes people come in, and I have trouble making them think about the long game of their life, but I’m thinking about it from a legal perspective. From a financial perspective, do you see any particular element of shortsightedness that you wish people would back up and approach it a little differently?

Beth Gregg:                            [15:10]                       Yeah, absolutely. Most of that is thinking about how they are going to survive financially in the future. Again, people are hopeful. They love the financial situation they’re in perhaps. They just want to move on from the person, or that other person wants to move on from them, and they try to stay in an expensive house, they try to maintain a lifestyle that they really can’t afford.

Beth Gregg:                            [15:40]                       Also, people receiving alimony forget they have to pay taxes on that alimony, at least until the end of this year. That’s a huge bite and a very unexpected, unwelcomed piece of information that they get, and so not hiding your head in the sand is important, which goes back to one of our first points in this conversation, talking with an attorney before you get started, talking with a financial person before you get started, and really listen to their advice. You are not telling people that isn’t things that are completely true and legally sound, and neither am I, but often, they want to pretend that, “No, that’s okay. We’ll just do it my way, and it’ll be fine.” No. It’s not, so you need to listen to your professionals and you need to think about the future.

Beth Gregg:                            [16:34]                       Also, another thing, don’t be afraid to try something different. You love your neighborhood. Look at some neighborhoods close to that. Move out of your comfort zone. You’d be surprised how easy and how happy you can be.

Beth Gregg:                            [16:48]                       Think about spending your money in a different way. You may love eating out, but you might find you love learning how to cook at home, going to the grocery store, save some money. This is really an opportunity. Divorce is a bad time, but the years after are huge opportunities to learn more about yourself. Distract yourself, do things differently, and most of all, be happy.

Leigh Sellers:                         [17:13]                       That’s such a good point to make. I often tell people, “It’s so hard when you’re very mired down and really focusing on what you’re losing”, and sometimes, people do forget to focus on what they can gain from the process, and you’re right. When you really think about that, “I don’t want to lose this home”, maybe focus on what it is about the home you love and see if you can replicate that somewhere else in a more cost-efficient manner, but it is really hard when people are just really watching things fall away from them, to think about taking those pieces and building them back up.

Beth Gregg:                            [17:47]                       That’s true. That leads me to actually another pitfall, and that is for people not fighting for what they legally deserve, and whether they’re just so sad that they can’t function. I mean, that’s one of my roles to coach them into asking for what they actually need based on what they legitimately should get, and I know you do that too. Sometimes, they just think it’s easier, “Let’s just walk away. Let’s just do it and just walk away”, but you really need to fight for what you need, and you need to take control of that too.

Beth Gregg:                            [18:24]                       You can’t let your emotions get the better of you. You have to do the work whether it’s finding those bank statements or looking at credit cards and figuring out your budget. You just have to do that, and again, this is your one shot.

Leigh Sellers:                         [18:41]                       I don’t know if it falls upon the list, but when you’re talking about fighting for what you need, do you ever find that sometimes clients in divorcing situations that have children are almost too focused on the children’s needs, and not enough on their own needs?

Beth Gregg:                            [18:55]                       Absolutely. We have that conversation a lot. We all want our children to have the best, whether it’s clothes, or activities, when they’re older. “Can they get a car? Who’s going to pay for the car? What are we going to do about college?”

Beth Gregg:                            [19:10]                       There’s some legal input there as you know about, you can’t sacrifice money to keep the house running just because the child wants a car, so again, I try to put it into big picture perspective. I can actually run financial plans for people that can show the consequences. If you make these decisions for your children and you’re taking that amount of money out of your own pocket, then this is how it could impact you when you’re 80, and you need healthcare dollars, or a place to live, or food to eat even, so that is important that you put it in perspective in that regard.

Leigh Sellers:                         [19:51]                       I know, that can be a really hard conversation to have with people who are going through these divorces to say, “No. You’re not going to be able to maybe do everything that you want to for everyone and still be okay yourself because it is a choice.”

Beth Gregg:                            [20:05]                       The bottom line is kids are very resilient. I’ve been divorced. I have three children. They have done a terrific job, and I’ve said no plenty, but they’re smart. I spent money when I needed to, and got them going where they needed to go.

Beth Gregg:                            [20:23]                       Kids are fine. We need to not worry about them, and they need to be safe, and healthy, and fed, and in a decent place to live if we can do that.

Leigh Sellers:                         [20:32]                       I often try to remind my clients that one of the best things they probably can do for their children just to make sure their children aren’t taking care of them when they’re 70, because they didn’t put aside enough, because that’s not really going to make them popular at that point anyway.

Beth Gregg:                            [20:46]                       Exactly.

Leigh Sellers:                         [20:46]                       They’re going to be less popular asking for money when they’re 70 than they are telling them no to a car now. They really think about it, but it’s a hard lesson.

Beth Gregg:                            [20:55]                       That’s exactly right. The one good thing about having a longer term financial plan run, you can put in all the what ifs. “What if we do this for the kids? What if I live in this house versus that house? What if I have this job making this much money, or maybe I go back to school, and that cost me this, but I’m going to get more income from it?”

Beth Gregg:                            [21:16]                       Those are the conversations that I have with people, and it’s good to have that before they sign on the dotted line. You sign on the dotted line because you’re not fighting for yourself or taking control, and it could backfire on you.

Leigh Sellers:                         [21:29]                       One of the things you were talking about earlier I think plays into that. You were talking about being patient and understanding that it takes time, and I’ve often found that the clients that are really rushing me, they’re just insistent on getting it done. They’re really doing themselves a disservice because when you do it fast, you make mistakes, and sometimes you’re not far enough along in the thought process to know what you need and know what you want, and so that part that you talked about, fighting for what you want, if you don’t give yourself time, you don’t know what that is.

Beth Gregg:                            [22:01]                       Exactly, and you need to see how things are going to play out. Initially, somebody may be insistent that they get one asset or another, and they’re not going to be swayed from that, and funny how a couple months later, they’ve put that into perspective, and it doesn’t matter and the fight is gone.

Leigh Sellers:                         [22:20]                       You can waste a lot of time and money.

Beth Gregg:                            [22:24]                       You can, and you really just need to let it go. The other thing is, not both parties are at the same emotional place, and so their paces are going to be different. Sometimes, you have to let that spouse catch up with you, get through some of the mourning period and the shock time, and just let it settle in, and it’s hard to make good decisions if you’re in a state of shock honestly.

Leigh Sellers:                         [22:51]                       We’ve talked a little bit about the cuts or the changes or the scaling back that people may have to do with their expenditures, or reallocating money that they used to spend one place and replacing that, spending somewhere else, but what about actually looking at opportunities to increase income or increase the inflow? Do people think about that when they’re going through a divorce, like how they can make more money or become more profitable?

Beth Gregg:                            [23:20]                       Some do and some panic. For a person who has stayed at home and raised the children, male or female, hasn’t worked for a while for whatever reason, or maybe they’re disabled, and there are so many different circumstances, it’s a shock because the first question is, “What am I qualified for?” Honestly, most people are qualified for more than they think they are, and it doesn’t have to be qualified to run a big bank in Charlotte, but there are plenty of ways to make money, and the best way to address that is either find a career coach or go online at Central Piedmont Community College and look through their brochure. “What seems interesting to you?” Talk to your friends.

Beth Gregg:                            [24:09]                       “What jobs are you doing? What could I do?” I mean, networking is very critical, and again, it’s all about not being afraid. People are capable. They may not believe it, but they are, and this type of change can be so positive, and that’s how you have to look at it. It’s not a chore to go find a way to make money. It should be a joy.

Leigh Sellers:                         [24:36]                       Fear is one of the biggest barriers, fear of trying something new, fear of the change, fear of the loss, but this can be as you said an opportunity for retooling, and retraining, and redirection, and that can be a positive if you make it a positive, I suppose, but I think it does seem that it could be a pitfall to just be sort of fixated on the past or the status quo.

Beth Gregg:                            [25:02]                       Yes, and some of that again speaks to the amount of time, so if you’re trying to negotiate a deal based on, and you’re trying to think, “If I take this agreement, how am I going to live because I don’t even know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life to make money?”, you might need a little more time before you sign that document.

Leigh Sellers:                         [25:23]                       That’s true. What are some of the other, I don’t know, tips that you have for people of just things that they need to be aware of or things they need to avoid?

Beth Gregg:                            [25:31]                       One is being too contentious. I don’t want to say the word ‘Greedy’ because it’s good that people stand up and try to get what they want, but sometimes, I’ve handled cases where people just do things to spite each other just to be mean. It’s very counterproductive. This is a business deal. You have to take the emotions out of it as much as you can.

Beth Gregg:                            [25:57]                       You need to cry with your therapist and your friends, and when you’re working on this, you focus on it and forget the spite. It doesn’t do anything but bring you down and slow down the process. I’ve seen people do some really crazy things to try to harm the other spouse, and it always backfired.

Leigh Sellers:                         [26:19]                       Do you think people ever just are not realistic about what something is worth or what it’s valued? I mean, is it just … Have you ever run into people that just seems like it doesn’t matter what paperwork you give them or what documentation that they might see, they’re just sort of blind to what the economic realities of a certain asset are?

Beth Gregg:                            [26:37]                       They are, and sometimes they’re just mad and they’re not going to budge. The thing I love the most is to see a list of furniture being valued like a book that’s five years old, and it’s a paperback, and it’s worth $5, and it’s yard sale stuff. That is again really counterproductive, so what I try to do is explain in the scheme of everything that’s being negotiated, “This really isn’t important”, so get hung up on something that matters. Don’t get hung up on the little things, but if somebody insists that this isn’t the right value, then I just tell them to go find someone to appraise it for them, and then it really takes the conversation down to practical level.

Leigh Sellers:                         [27:26]                       What about retirement planning and divorce? Does that seem to hit the top of the list or do you find that that’s often overlooked?

Beth Gregg:                            [27:35]                       People are so engrossed in what is tomorrow going to be like, unless they’re close to retirement, that they do miss that point, and that comes into play even when I’m looking at assets and you do the same. “What assets should someone get?” If they need cash now, you don’t want them to have all retirement assets, but you don’t want them not to have any because chances are, they may not save for their own retirement, and they need a nest egg in that category. That’s a big part of what I do in my work every day, so it definitely is a point of conversation in a divorce case.

Leigh Sellers:                         [28:14]                       What about age? How does age play into it? Do you make the same sort of financial plans for everyone regardless of where they are in life, or is it a more tailored process?

Beth Gregg:                            [28:24]                       It is the same. It’s just you’re not working with as much when you’re young, and there’s a lot more uncertainty. Part of that is educating that younger person on what they need to do right to hit their retirement. For somebody who’s already there, then it’s bringing up more important issues to them like, “Will they need nursing home care? What is their health insurance situation?”

Beth Gregg:                            [28:51]                       “Do they have expensive diseases, for example, that cost them a lot of money? Where are their children? What do their children need?” Some of it is kind of estate planning type conversation that you just wouldn’t have with a younger person.

Leigh Sellers:                         [29:06]                       What do you think is most helpful when somebody’s never actually been the person managing the money? I find that they’re the most vulnerable because they’re the most overwhelmed, because they’re not only dealing with having to change their whole life, they’re really in many ways having to go back and study and understand their life. Do you have tips for the person who’s not been taking care of finances on just how to tackle that task?

Beth Gregg:                            [29:40]                       That is when you really need a good professional in your corner. If you don’t understand the money situation at home, you are going to agree to something that probably isn’t going to be good for you in the long run, or you sign it, and you’re never quite sure of what you just signed. As much as you would explain it to them, if people have what I call a ‘Financial freeze’ in their brain, then you can say everything you want to them, explaining the legal, and, “Here’s your document”, and they’re just not going to get it. I worked with many people like that, and it’s a slow education process, and it’s also offering them encouragement that they can learn and they can take control. There are some people however who always have somebody, maybe it’s a child or a friend who actually help them with that on an ongoing basis, and that’s a great idea.

Leigh Sellers:                         [30:36]                       Yeah, and the money managers, and the funds.

Beth Gregg:                            [30:37]                       Yes. Yup.

Leigh Sellers:                         [30:40]                       I know that I did once work with a person who was having a late in life divorce, and I know that they were very distraught and were suggesting that they had never had to write a check, and they were going to have to learn how to write a check, and I was having to tease them a little bit to try to make them a little bit more lighthearted and go, “That came and went, and people don’t write checks anymore, so we’re good. We’re going to move you on to the new thing, which is your debit card.” I know that it was just that whole idea that literally, the process of how to fill out a check was overwhelming to this person at that moment because they hadn’t done it. There’s definitely so many people out there that are willing to, and so many resources that most people don’t think about, but what are some resources that you can turn somebody to besides, that doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on this because we’ve talked about the fact that it costs some money, but you are also figuring out where to spend it?

Beth Gregg:                            [31:39]                       Correct.

Leigh Sellers:                         [31:39]                       What are some resources in town to really help?

Beth Gregg:                            [31:44]                       We have … I participate in an organization called ‘Second Saturday’, and you can find it online. Just Google Second Saturday, and it is basically a two-hour what you need to do to get divorced. You can also do something as simple as go to your banker. A lot of the local branch bankers are so happy to help you, whether it’s figure out where the money is, what accounts are there, or, “Okay. Now, I’m going to have to start writing checks, so how do I do this, or maybe what could I do instead of that?”

Beth Gregg:                            [32:23]                       There are plenty of resources, but you have to network. You have to talk to people. You have to be willing to say, “I need the help”, number one.

Leigh Sellers:                         [32:31]                       Right. I think that’s one of the biggest things is they really need to not be too proud and to say, “Hey, I know this maybe sounds strange to you, but I don’t know how to do this.”

Beth Gregg:                            [32:44]                       Yes. The divorce community in Charlotte is very strong. The attorneys know. The financial people know the … Like me, I know accountants, and we all know the therapists, and we all know mortgage brokers, and so we have a good network, and that’s why you really need to engage with at least a professional, because they can send you out in the right direction.

Leigh Sellers:                         [33:10]                       What are some … If we missed anything in the conversation, we don’t want to overwhelm people, but it’s important information, and so often, people are really too deep in the weeds before they get the opportunity to even start thinking about this or having this conversation.

Beth Gregg:                            [33:26]                       No. I really feel like we’ve covered everything. One is know what resources you have and be prepared to spend those to get a good deal for yourself, and that goes back to fighting for what’s yours, taking control, being prepared, having the records, and I think bottom line, just don’t be afraid to hire a good professional and get good advice. Have them help you make the connections that you need to get through this successfully.

Leigh Sellers:                         [33:59]                       It is a big deal. You said something early on that I think is key for people to understand, and that’s that you’re only going to do this one time, at least in this particular relationship. You’re going to divide these assets one time, and if you do it poorly and do it incompletely, you don’t really get a second bite of it, and I think people do sometimes forget that in the pain of wanting to get through the struggle, because the money can become quite emotional, can it?

Beth Gregg:                            [34:25]                       Very emotional, and it becomes a weapon almost. They may think that they want to get through it fast, but it’s funny when push comes to shove, you put a document in front of somebody, and they’re just all of a sudden realize the impact of these, however many pieces of paper that are going to make on their lives, so you have to be thoughtful, you have to be patient, you have to take good advice, and just go with the flow and know that next year will be better, and my last piece of financial advice, get a prenup in case you ever get married again.

Leigh Sellers:                         [35:04]                       I would agree, and we’ll have to have you come back and go through a whole another episode of that because that’s definitely an important financial planning tool for people going into second marriages or first marriages. Beth, thank you so much for coming. If people want to look for you and find you so they can get more advice than what we were able to do now, where would they find you?

Beth Gregg:                            [35:26]                       My name is Beth Gregg, G-R-E-G-G, and I’m with the company called ‘Fairview Strategic Partners’. We are located in South Park, and we have a website with the same name. Fairviewstrategicpartners.com, and my phone number is 704-247-9494.

Leigh Sellers:                         [35:46]                       Beth, we really appreciate it. I think people really need to understand that having the right tools and having the right planning is very important, and that it is out there, that you can find it, you’re going to get what you need, and you’re going to be better for it, and the main thing to remember is ask for help.

Beth Gregg:                            [36:05]                       Absolutely. Thank you.

Leigh Sellers:                         [36:06]                       I hope you’ll come back.

Beth Gregg:                            [36:07]                       Thank you. I’d love to.

Leigh Sellers:                         [36:08]                       We have plenty more things we could talk about.

Beth Gregg:                            [36:10]                       Definitely.

Leigh Sellers:                         [36:10]                       There you have it, another neighborhood of Splitsville explored. There’s still so much to learn here, so I hope you’ll tune in to the next episode. While Splitsville is not a fun place to be, thankfully, it is full of helpful people, valuable resources and sound advice if you know where to look. See you next time.

[Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC]

 

Announcer:                               [36:36]                       The insights and views presented in Welcome to Splitsville are for general information purposes only, and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation, nor does tuning into this podcast constitute an attorney-client relationship of any kind. If you’re ready for compassionate and reliable legal guidance on your journey, contact Leigh Sellers and her team at www.Touchstonefamilylaw.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *