This week, Jen is joined by Certified Divorce Finance Planner Lili Vasileff of Divorce and Money Matters to discuss how divorce can affect your finances at each decade and what to focus on to make sure you are planning for the long term.
We often talk about divorce in very general terms, but our guest this week says that how we divorce and what we need to focus our attention on is different depending on our age at the time of the divorce. Lili Vasileff is here today to talk to us about how to divorce by the decade – your 30’s, your 40’s, and your 50’s and beyond. You might not realize it, but there are specific areas that need your attention in your 30’s that might not be all that important in your 50’s…and vice versa. Lili is here to break it all down for us so that we can all get clear and focused, knowing where to place our energy and where we can actually let go.
When Lili got divorced 31 years ago, her career was just getting going and she had recently given birth to her second child. Going through the divorce process back then was so much different than it is today, with hardly any resources out there to make sure women were making the right decisions, both financially and legally. Since then, Lili has been a single mom, raising two children, one with special needs, and has spent her career helping people going through a divorce make the right choices for their families in the long term by becoming one of the first divorce financial planners.
According to Lili, people’s biggest regret after divorce is that they were rushed through the process and didn’t know enough to make the right choices. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you can set aside the emotions, this might be the best time in your life to change things, change your goals. But what these decisions are and how they will affect you depends a lot on your age.
In this Episode
Lili discusses with Jennifer what things women should focus their efforts on when divorcing by decade.
Divorce in Your 30s:At this point in life, you are just starting out when it comes to both your family and your career. But just because it’s the beginning doesn’t mean divorce is any less of a challenge. Lili’s advice:
If you are in a bad marriage, get out early, whether you have young children or not. Don’t wait around for things to get better.
Be aware that in the age of social media, everyone can see everything you do and it’s possible your spouse will use it against you. Watch your behavior and what you put out on the internet.
Remember: Be who you are. Don’t be embarrassed if your marriage doesn’t work out.
This is the time to learn what the deal makers and deal breakers when it comes to relationships and learn from your experiences.
When it comes to finances, be aware of the following:
If you are close to being married for 10 years, try to wait until the 10 year mark to move toward divorce. This is important for legal and financial matters, like social security benefits.
If you have money from before your marriage or debts your spouse owes you, those are key financial issues to think about and make sure they are taken care of so you aren’t dealing with or regretting your decisions later.
For people with young children: build felixibility around their needs because you don’t know what they are going to need later on down the line (medical fees, tuition, etc.).
You should be able to readdress specific issues later on down the line since your situation will likely change.
Don’t make a decision unless you are fully informed. Don’t rush. **Unless you are in an untenable situation in which case, the rules are different.
Divorce in Your 40s:For many women, this is almost the midpoint when it comes to careers, child rearing, and you are accumulating and spending. You might be saving money too! When divorcing, emotions are often very high at this age, but don’t let emotions dictate financial decisions. Remember: Your marriage is an economic partnership that is being dissolved. When it comes to finances, Lili’s advice is:
Keep in mind that everything in your marriage is divisible
If you need to make big, necessary purchases (homes, cars, etc.), make sure to take care of these before the divorce and make sure both spouses agree to the purchase so there are no surprises later on.
You will need to get a lot of documents together about your financial life – make copies of everything!
Don’t look into your ex’s documents if you’re not supposed to – this puts you at risk!
Financially, you have a better idea of your lifestyle and the cost of that lifestyle. Generally, people have built up their credit score. These two things give a good idea of what your financial situation has been which will be useful in the divorce process.
BE TRANSPARENT – Don’t try to hide anything because that will make things adversarial.
Often, one spouse is more emotionally ready than the other. That other person will be fearful which will lead to anxiety. This is not where you should be making decisions from.
Now is the time to lay the ground work for a financially secure future.
Divorce in Your 50s: Over the last decade, the rate of over 50 divorce or “Gray Divorce” has risen to make up 25% of all divorces in the US. These are baby boomers who are at the peak of the earning capacity with a lot of big expenses on their list, such as children in college and aging, ailing parents. When they divorce, their income and retirement savings is cut in half, so people divorcing in their 50s need to be very focused on the future.
Alimony in your 50s is focused on retirement – for women who are expecting to receive alimony payments for a long period of time, they may not realize that once their husbands turn 65, they will no longer be receiving that money they expected.
Note: Many states stop alimony payments once one spouse reaches retirement age, even if they are still working.
Financially, you MUST be saving more than your spending. You need to be saving as much as possible. Assess any investments you receive in the divorce so you will be getting investment income in later years.
Converting regular IRAs to Roth IRAs is a good move BEFORE the divorce so you can take out money later, tax free, as long as both sides agre
Stop overspending on adult children because your own savings becomes at risk.
Lili is the founder and president of Divorce and Money Matters, LLC, a fee only private financial planning and wealth amanagement firm. Launching her career over 30 years ago, Lili has worked to corrected perceived injustices in the legal system that have ultimately failed families in the long term. Lili is a nationally recognized expert in divorce financial planning as a practitioner, author, writer and speaker. She has received numerous prestigious awards for her pro bono services to individuals and nonprofits.
Jennifer: Welcome to Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle. A branded podcast from Worthy. I’m Jennifer Butler and I’m your host. We often talk about divorce in very general terms, but our guest today says that how we divorce and what we need to focus our attention on is different depending on our age at the time of the divorce. Lili Vasileff is here today to talk to us about how the divorce by the decade. You might not realize it, but there are specific areas that need your attention in your 30s that might not be all that important in your 50s and vice versa. Lili is here to break it all down for us so that we can all get clear and focused, knowing where to place our energy and where we can actually let go. We’re going to take a quick break and we will be right back with Lilly Vasileff.
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Our guests today, Lili Vasileff is a fee only certified financial planner, master analyst and financial forensics specializing in matrimonial litigation, certified divorce financial analyst and an independent registered investment adviser. She is president of Wealth Protection Management and of Divorce and Money Matters LLC based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Lilly has over 25 years of experience in divorce, financial planning and wealth management. She’s a trained mediator, collaborative financial specialist and qualified litigation expert. She’s a nationally recognized practitioner, author and speaker who is regularly quoted and interviewed across print, radio, TV and online. She is author of three books, Money and Divorce: The Essential Roadmap to Mastering Financial Decisions published by the American Bar Association and The Ultimate Divorce Organizer, the complete interactive guide to achieving the best legal, financial and personal divorce and The Divorce Planner Checklist both by Peter Popper press and are available on Amazon.
Lili has received numerous awards, the Prestigious National 2013 pioneering award for outstanding public advocacy and leadership in the field of divorce, financial planning from the National Association of divorce financial planners. The Women’s Choice Award as a highly recommended advisor by women for women. The CEO Today Business Women of the Year Award, Five Star Wealth Manager Award for the last eight years and Marquis Who’s Who Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. And Lili will also be a part of the all star team of experts at the first best You Ever event, which will be held in LA on May 18th of this year with additional locations in New York and Florida to be added.
Thank you so much Lili, for joining us here today on Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle. I’m really, really happy to have you here.
Lili: Well, thank you so very much. Delighted to join.
Jennifer: Yes, and we today are going to be chatting about divorced by the decade. I’m super excited, but I’d love for you to start by just sharing a little bit about yourself. Why you’re so passionate about the work you do.
Lili: Great. Happy to do so. So many years ago, sort of when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, 31 years ago, I went through a divorce, and it was as significant life changing event. I was career-driven, I had just had my second child. Everything seemed golden and it all hit the wall and I never saw it coming. I never expected it to happen. I knew no one in my immediate family or friends who were divorced. So it was quite a shock. And since then I have been a single parent raising two children, one of whom has special needs. And from the personal experience of feeling so isolated during that process, I really became almost a zealot about how to improve the experience itself. So that one came out of it feeling as if you could be more empowered to take back control of one’s life. Or to come out of it more holistically from a family perspective such that the trauma was left behind and you could move forward.
And the process at that time was really almost solely litigation, which is by nature adversarial. Since then, there have been many other developments which are really terrific and we’ll talk about them. But that’s where I came from. And my son was little, he was like four years old. And at the time he felt as if he was the only victim, and I call it victim of divorce in the entire universe. And that was pretty upsetting. So looking back on it, and having worked for over 25 years to actually promote this profession and create this profession within the financial planning industry has been a tremendous personal passion. And it drives me today to continue to educate people that this resource exists and is so under recognized and so enormously powerful to provide people with different options during the process so that they understand their options and they make fully informed decisions.
And in fact, the book I wrote last year, which was published by the American Bar Association, actually gives step by step guidance on each part of the process of divorce from a financial perspective. So that you can regain that control feeling as to what to know, expect, learn, and then plan for it.
Jennifer: I love what you’re saying and you’re saying so much. You’re such an advocate for the transformation that’s possible. Like you said, whether it’s coming out more holistic or wholesome or coming out transformed in a more empowered way. But really providing people with the tools and skills so that it can in fact be a positive transformation. I just think that’s so beautiful.
Lili: I am a genuine believer in that as brutal as sometimes it can be from both an emotional or a legal or a financial perspective. There are so many opportunities there to really improve not only your knowledge base, but maybe all of your perspective about how to hold yourself accountable and responsible for your own independence going forward. And that is something that really is transformational. And that’s what continues to drive my passion to help individuals find that small moment of where they can really seize the core of what the issues are to decide whether or not they want to change and how they can change. In 25 years, I will tell you this, the single biggest regret I hear from my clients at the end of the day is that they felt they were rushed through the process. That they didn’t get a fair share because they didn’t know what they didn’t know. And that’s terrible regret to have. I mean, when you’re making lifetime decisions, that is a terrible place to be.
Jennifer: That is so true. I hear the same thing. I know in the community we hear the same thing too. Is like you said, you don’t know what you don’t know and you’re thrust into this world where you’re just kind of guessing in a place where you really do need to have sound knowledge so that you can make empowered decisions and choices. So I love what you’re doing and I love what putting out there.
Lili: Well, thank you. I mean, I honestly think if you could perhaps set aside some of the overlays of what all is happening and the whirlwind that you’re going through, it is a moment in time that could be an opportunity to seize the best you have in yourself to change things. To change the past behaviors, to change forward looking, planning goals. And a lot of that depends on your age and a lot of it will depend on the circumstances and the legal options that you choose for divorce. And so I think our conversation today is really going to help people understand that at different points in life. Of course everyone has different needs and different goals, but it also is important to have little pieces in there of where you recognize wow, if I’m going through a divorce at this age, I better remember X. And that’s what this conversation will be all about because it’s so helpful to know in advance if you’ve sort of given away an entitlement or forfeited an opportunity unwittingly that you could have known about earlier.
Jennifer: Yeah, I agree. And that’s why I was so excited to talk about this because I think that we often just kind of throw everybody in the same pot when it comes to divorce and we talk in very general terms and it’s like this blanket advice. And I love how specific you get about all of this because I think that it really gives people a more informed and more specific way to look at things. So let’s just kind of jump in kind of CS splitting this up. So let’s start with that decade of the 30s. What’s unique about divorcing in your 30s and where should a person’s attention be focused?
Lili: So in your 30s you’re more or less starting out. You’re starting out building a family, you’re starting out raising children, you’re starting out in a career. You’re probably coming out of school. So it’s a lot of aspirational goals, a lot of financial challenges and starting points. And I think what’s unique in this decade is one, first of all, to recognize that it’s no less difficult emotionally than any other age, even though you’re younger versus being older. And secondly, and I’m just kind of going go through list so that people can kind of make notes as we go through this as a tip list. If you’re in a bad marriage, get out early. Whether you have young children or not, generally not going to get a lot better if you’ve made every effort to see if you could remedy it before you make that decision to divorce.
And it’s really important for younger people to realize, especially in this era of social media where everybody knows what you’re doing and where you are not to date and take really compromising pictures of yourself while you are still married. Because no matter where you are, even though it’s a no fault divorce state, people can be influenced by your behaviors. I also think a lot of us go into that first. You know when you’re married young, even though the statistics are showing, people are marrying later in life. I also think when you marry young, you still have that infatuation phase and the fairy tale. And you need to stop being embarrassed that perhaps it’s failed. It is what it is and don’t let others define you by it.
Jennifer: Yeah. And I think that everything up until this point is something very specific for people in their 30s. Because I know even for myself, some of that wisdom that you’re talking about, that ability to just kind of be who you are. I’m not sure how that came until I was closer to my 40s. So I love that you’re giving that perspective.
Lili: I will tell you I was divorced in my early 30s, and I was completely devastated. I had no idea who I was after that. So it’s really tough when you’re younger and you’re so ambitious or you’re so perhaps unrealistic in many ways about things to really get a grip. And it’s a time of when you have to discover what you really want to do, both professionally and in relationships. And learn kind of what the deal breakers are in relationships as well as what the deal makers are. Because it’s really tough and hopefully you’re going to be remarried at some point in time because the risk of remarriage feeling in divorce is even higher than the first marriage.
So you make sure that you kind of learned from this experience. And I would say when it comes to finances, when you’re early, here’s a timeline and here is the trigger date that you should try for. If you’re close to being married for 10 years, try to be divorced after the 10 year mark. That 10 year mark is important both from a legal perspective as well as from a financial perspective. And it’s a hallmark for social security benefits. It’s a hallmark for when certain states deem a marriage to be intermediate term rather than short. So if you are close to that 10 year mark, I would really say try to hold on. And on a financial side for younger people, you may have issues of where you had some monies coming into the marriage that are premarital or separate or gifts from parents as down payments and homes, et cetera, that you hope will be preserved and carved out of the divorce process.
So and especially if they’re a debt. Like if you have financed your spouse through medical school or something. Those are the issues, the key financial issues when you’re really young to really think about hard because you don’t want to be left with them for a long period of time and have them unresolved to your satisfaction.
Jennifer: So are there specific ways that things like that or dealt with? For instance, student debt or housing to things like that that you’re speaking of?
Lili: Absolutely. Each case is going to be very specific. And while they are generalities, I think it’s helpful to know that there are different options surrounding every one of those choices. And it’s really tough to say here’s a one strategy or whatever. But it’s important that number one, nothing is this way or that way. There are always things in between that you can consider. Two, whether you have parents that have gifted you monies and you have no promissory notes or it was a gift and you didn’t think it was a loan and the other person says “Oh no, it’s alone all of a sudden in divorce.” Those are the nuances that need to be really tweaked and thoughts through while you go through this process. But most importantly, if you have young children, children’s needs and interests and support change over time. And you don’t know when you have a two year old toddler, whether they’re going to be a music prodigy or an ice skating prodigy or God forbid, have a medical illness from an addiction later on. So building flexibility around children’s needs is also important.
Jennifer: Yeah, I think that’s a very important point. Just really thinking about the future and what children actually do and tell. Because same my son was three when his father and I divorced and I wouldn’t have even known to think about all of the extracurricular activities and sports and equipment and tutoring. The list just goes on and on and you don’t think about that when you have a little baby. Right?
Lili: No, you don’t. And, and it’s really hard because you don’t have a crystal ball and you don’t know where you’re going to be and you don’t know where you know your ex is going to be. So the idea of having some fluidity and yet closure in an agreement is walking the tightrope. And often that is the challenge about the legal professional and the financial professional to have some sort of parameters in there that allow you to readdress specific issues in a specific manner that will not give rise to conflict going forward or in the future.
Jennifer: Yeah, that makes sense. And it sounds like the more thoughtful you can be journeying this process and really slowing down, sort of sets the stage for a decision between people that will kind of stand the test of time.
Lili: I hope so. I mean, that’s what I advocate very strongly is that you don’t make it a decision until you are fully informed. If by any chance and here’s the stretch on the other end of the spectrum. Let’s say you’re in an untenable situation because of domestic violence or abuse or someone’s runaway, whatever it be, right. That is an exception to the general rule of not being rushed because sometimes you have to take pretty stringent actions to protect whatever is left. And that’s another sort of tactic that is not part of these conversations but it’s important.
Jennifer: Right. Okay. Yeah. So information, knowledge, education.
Jennifer: Very important. Okay. So we’re going to jump into the 40s next. But first I’m going to take this little opportunity to take a little break here and we’ll be right back with more from Lili Vasileff fast.
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Jennifer: We’re back with Lili Vasileff and we’re discussing divorce by the decade. And we talked about divorcing in your 30s and what is unique about that decade and where your focus needs to be. And now we’re going to talk about divorce in your 40s. So what do we need to know there?
Lili: So when you’re in your 40s it’s really the time of a sort of a midpoint of where you should be approaching your peak earning capacity. Not very yet. That’s usually in the 50s but you’re really on target, so to speak, with a career profession. You’ve got children who may be early teens, anywhere to college age, and you’re accumulating and spending. So in your 40s this is sort of the point of where you are either living well beyond your means, like a lot of debt or you’re pretty good in your budgeting and your saving. And I love that as a financial planner, but I don’t see many people doing that. So when you’re in your 40s what do you need to know when you’re going through the divorce? Well, okay it’s probably a time of where you have pretty high emotions because a lot of the things that you thought would happen are either not happening or they happened in a very different fashion.
And the sense of entitlement or the sense of being severely disappointed or the sense of things not working is at an all time high. And so I would say don’t let emotions dictate financial decisions. Courts do not care about your emotions. It is a business transaction. Your marriage is an economic partnership and is being dissolved. That needs to be first and foremost upfront when you go to advocate for what your needs will be. Secondly, everything is fair game. Everything in that marriage will be divisible if it’s been accumulated during the marriage and your marriage has lasted longer than that 10 year hallmark period. And then I would say often when you are in this situation in the 40s you’re possibly looking at buying new cars. Possibly looking at contributions to 529 plans, possibly looking at a new home. And if you need to make big necessary purchases, you should do it before you file for divorce and before automatic orders are in place. And that these are necessary purchases agreed to by the two of you, that will not come as a surprise to either one, but we’ll be accomplished and set in place before you divorce-
Jennifer: What are automatic orders? Sorry I just want to.
Lili: Oh, thank you. I forgot.
Lili: Sometimes I talk legally.
Jennifer: No worries.
Lili: Okay. Automatic orders when you file for divorce, if you’re in a litigation, meaning you’ve hired your attorney and your ex or soon to be ex spouse has hired their own attorney that is called the litigation. They are litigating attorneys and usually the very first legal motions put into play are to freeze everything in place financially. To make sure that everything gets paid as it always has been paid, that nobody takes money out of accounts without the other party acknowledging and approving it. That no new debts are incurred. So automatic orders essentially say, stop in time, continue exactly how you’re doing but don’t do anything else but that.
Jennifer: That makes sense. Okay. Thank you for that clarification.
Lili: Absolutely. And then the other just key point on this in your 40s is you need to accumulate a lot of documents about your financial life. And the more that you can get and the more copies you can make all the better because it saves time and then you’re sort of organizing it yourself. I would suggest not going after any financial information if it puts you at risk. Like opening up your other spouses mail is not a great idea. Or looking into their own bank accounts online. Not a great idea if you know you’re not supposed to. But for as much as you can do on your own, its great preparation. And this is when you need to prepare a lot going into divorce. As you get older the more you have to prepare.
Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. I remember personally how overwhelming all those papers were. All those folders and numbers.
Lili: And they come by the boat load.
Jennifer: Yes, exactly. So financially there’s differences too, right? In your 40s.
Lili: Well, in your 40s you generally have a pretty fair lay of the land. How you’ve lived your lifestyle, what it costs you to live that lifestyle. You generally have a pre robust, if not I would say moderate credit rating and report on yourself and your spouse. And so these are great resources to use in order to identify and really give color to what your financial life has been as a married person. There’s no guarantee it continues at the same level. However, it’s a starting point from which all other financial decisions are made. So I suggest tracking spending, getting a copy of your credit report. Probably stashing some cash because you’re going to have now to use that cash for professionals and their retainers for odd bits of lifestyle expenses if your spouse decides not to support you going to the hair salon every other day. Things like that. You may need to get appraisals on certain assets.
And the most important thing that I can really say about this is always be transparent in what you are doing for this process. If you are not and you hide assets or you’re fearful or you try to get information from a person and you don’t want them to know about, it all gives rise to fear. And that fear only escalates the whole adversarial approach to this. And if you can really temper those feelings down by understanding you need to get financial information so you understand what your needs will be. It’s a different outlook and it’s a different entree into this process.
Jennifer: Yeah, I think that’s a very common theme that comes up even in our conversations on these podcasts is really, really trying to calm down the fear and not make decisions from that space. Because we don’t make effective choices or decisions when we’re doing that from a fear based space. So I like that you’re touching on that too.
Lili: I couldn’t agree more. And many, many times one spouse is way ahead of the other emotionally and in terms of being ready to divorce. And for this spouse who’s lagging, that fear only escalates and then it turns into anxiety and sometimes it turns into really paralyzing fear in the process. And it doesn’t help because you cannot make good decisions when you cannot absorb what your options are or understand them. So when you’re in your 40s, coming back to this sort of list here, you really need to prepare yourself in terms of understanding what it does cost you to live, but also how serious are you going to be about your ability concerning earning capacity? Or are you on track for saving for retirement? Are there insurances in place that give you comfort such as life insurance or longterm care? And now’s the time to scope it out as an adult, so to speak. What do you think are your priorities for how and when you will feel secure knowing that certain items fall into place financially?
Jennifer: Right. So you’re really starting to lay the groundwork for really long term security and comfort.
Lili: Yes. I actually consider 40s and probably early 50s that whole period of knowing yourself. And when divorce hit to either from left field or right field or you’ve initiated it yourself, it’s still a huge moment of transition of where you need to really have a game plan so you can hit the ground running the minute you’re divorced, and that takes a lot of work. I mean you really need to do it, but you should want to do it.
Jennifer: Right. And that makes sense. And so you’ve kind of transitioned into that early 50. So let’s talk about the fifties and beyond and what’s different there.
Lili: So it’s interesting. The statistics show that the fastest growing trend among the population is in 50s plus and it’s called the gray divorce phenomenon. And its doubled in its rate in the last decade. Now when I was younger, it was about 2% of the whole amount of divorces in the US. Now it’s over 25% of all divorces in the US. And it’s usually in first longterm marriages over 20 years. So it’s a curious phenomenon, but not necessarily unexpected. These are the baby boomers who have reached peak accumulating years. They’re at the peak of their earning capacity. They feel as if they have a long life ahead of them. Many of them will want to continue working longer. Many of them will have to continue working longer and they are now on the cusp of retirement. They are probably dealing with children in college. They’re probably taking care of elder care parents. They may have adult children who failed to launch and get out of the house. They’ve got a lot of competing interests.
And a lot of competing challenges before their single dollars. Now take an ax to it and chop it in half. And so if I said, “Wow, guess what, I’ve saved x amount of money for retirement and now I have to have it. And yet I have what? Five years left til I’m 66, how am I going to make it up?” So this is a period that requires enormous focus. One because it’s the growing trend of divorce. Two, because there’s a huge amount of talk about retirement, the lack of retirement savings in our population. And so alimony, which is spousal support, which is pretty standard topic and divorce. So divorces about money and children, and the money part covers both spouses as well as children. Alimony here now bumps its head up against retirement age because most of the time you can’t pay what you don’t earn.
So if you’ve had a long term marriage and you’re expecting a longterm support from that marriage. Because those are the normal factors, and yet your spouse’s almost turning 65 many times you feel, I would say jipped. It’s like, wow, how’d that happen? Right? There’s no payout there. All you’re left with is dividing the assets. That’s a real awakening for many spouses in divorce. And some states actually terminate alimony at normal retirement age. Even if the spouse works past that.
Jennifer: I didn’t know that. I imagine many of our listeners didn’t either.
Lili: Right? So here’s the issue. Are you now, when you are looking at a longterm marriage, limited earning capacity, new kinds of financial challenges entering into retirement or having to work longer when you’ve been out of the workforce? Now the question is how do you downsize? How do you recoup losses from the divorce? What are certain kinds of supports that can be built into an agreement in contingency if your spouse becomes disabled if you have a catastrophic illness, if you can’t secure health insurance, et cetera, et cetera. So there are whole host of new kinds of ideas and having adult children is yet another little prickly thorn there because adult children tend to side with one spouse or another and you don’t want to alienate spouses from the children and how you handle what their surprise factor is, is a whole another difficult conversation.
Jennifer: Right. Yeah, absolutely. So what about finances in this age bracket?
Lili: Clearly, if you’re in this position, I’m going to say you better make sure that you are saving more than you’re spending. I mean if you are at a position of where you’re really bumping up on that ceiling of earning capacity being limited in numbers of years or in dollar amount, you need to reign in spending. You need to reassess and rebalance any kind of investments that you receive as part of the property settlement because now you have different goals. And those assets may have to work really hard for you to generate some investment income if you’re not receiving support in the longer years. There are lots of ideas of making as much as you can towards catching up on retirement savings even though you haven’t been doing it in prior years if you continue to work such because you get that boost as a senior of having to catch up provisions for contributing to an IRA or a 401K plan.
You can also consider converting traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs and doing it while you’re still married in the process so that perhaps the tax burden is shared. And then later on when you have a Roth ORA, you’re taking monies out tax free. Of course that has to be negotiated. And then I always think that if you’ve been the homemaker are you been the stay at home person or you’ve been out of a workforce for a long period of time or you are unable to find satisfying work, so to speak. Then you really need to look at different kinds of ideas for generating cash flow from either your assets or downsizing or different claiming strategies from social security. And by the way, as a divorced spouse, you have better claiming strategies on social security than a married couple. So don’t overlook those benefits.
And lastly, here’s a kicker and this is what’s in every financial planners talk. Stop overspending on adult children. Your own welfare is at risk and you need to make sure you take care of yourself first.
Jennifer: That is great advice. I mean, it sounds like the stage is really about not only just getting knowledgeable. I think every stage really knowledge is key, but really being creative and resourceful and just finding ways to make what you have last and do so in a way that you’re living these years thriving and joyful still.
Lili: Well, we’re trying to make it as positive as possible. I think the key to this is build a professional team. Know when you need to tap into resources so you can be educated and knowledgeable about any opportunity that’s available to you. Once you make these decisions. A lot of them are one time only and they’re lifelong. They will have an impact on both short and longterm. So it’s great to position yourself and say, “You know what, I am worth it. I need to hire a professional to educate me and guide me through this process.” And I just think it’s invaluable.
Jennifer: Yeah. No, I love that. We at Worthy here are always trying to make sure our listeners know you are worth it. You are worth it in every, every, every aspect of whatever life situation you’re in right now. So I love that.
Lili: Exactly right.
Jennifer: Well, thank you so much. I think this was so helpful. I imagine that our listeners really are going to benefit from this because you speak directly to whatever situation they find themselves in and so no, I appreciate that. And they know they will as well. So one of my favorite questions, and I ask everybody this at the end, from your perspective from the life you’ve lived, from the seat you sit in working with women going through divorce today, what is possible for our listeners? What’s possible for them?
Lili: Well, I’m going to give you my own example and then I will say everything is possible. I was a corporate finance professional. I was really on a fast track and when I hit the wall in my divorce and started from zero. And when I mean zero, I was looking at the really dark side. I created this entire new profession, divorce financial planning. I helped support and create it. I was one of the founders close to 25 years ago.
Lili: I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I had to do it. And had I not gone through that experience, I would never have felt the passion, the joy, the reward, and seeing the success of empowering others that I found by doing exactly what I thought was important in life. And so I think everything is possible. You just need to be open to following what your heart tells you.
Jennifer: I love that your story is truly inspiring. Your knowledge is invaluable.
Lili: Wow, thank you.
Jennifer: Yeah, I mean I’m grateful that we had our time together to share you with our community. How can our listeners follow up with you after today?
Lili: Well, thank you. Okay, so my website is divorce and money matters all spelled out, divorceandmoneymatters.com. And you can email me as well at Lili, L-I-L-I @divorceandmoneymatters.com.
Jennifer: Make sure you subscribe so you can catch every new episode of Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle in your weekly feed. If you like what you hear, rate and review us to help other women like you find us. This podcast is for you. So email us at podcast at worthy.com with any questions or ideas that you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.