When you are considering how to divide a marital estate, it is important to look at the cost of many assets in addition to their current value. Cost may have an impact on what an asset is worth and could change its appeal or usefulness to your client.Read More
It is not unusual, when splitting assets in a divorce, to divide each account right down the middle. That might be fine to do for most types of investment accounts, but when it comes to annuities you need to be very careful. Because of their unique structure, dividing an annuity can have unexpected tax consequences.Read More
When splitting retirement accounts, we have the choice of dividing an account by shares or by value. The wording is important; if not worded correctly there can be problems down the road. This is primarily because of the time lag between finalizing the terms of the divorce and effectively dividing the accounts. IRAs can be split pretty quickly since the custodian needs only the divorce decree and letter of instruction. But 401(k)s and other company retirement accounts need a QDRO, which can take months to secure. By then the account value may have changed significantly.Read More
Many older couples stay married because they are on a fixed income and it's just not financially feasible for them to split up and have two separate households. But in cases where they do want to get divorced, it can be a struggle to determine how they can afford it. Even if one or both spouses are still working, clients who are close to or at retirement age face some unique issues and challenges.Read More
You are likely aware that the stock market has been down this year. The S&P 500 Index, a broad measure of the overall US market, has lost 20% of its value as of late October. Typically, when stocks are down bonds show positive returns because investors look for safe areas to move their investments and avoid further pain. This year, however, bonds have been down as well, giving investors no place to hide. Thus, most investors are facing significantly lower account values.Read More
It has come to our attention that a recent communication we sent out regarding the sale of Cornerstone Financial Planning has been interpreted to mean that we are retiring. That is not the case – we are still here!Read More
Over the years we have received calls, from time to time, from women who are in the process of a divorce and have been cut off financially by the estranged spouse. These women are left in highly vulnerable positions, unable to pay bills and also unable to hire an attorney to help them resolve this unfair practice.* While they may not have access to the bank account any more there may be some other sources of cash available.Read More
Ensuring a fair and equitable outcome for your client can become more complicated when stock markets are going through a significant downturn, as they are this year. Investors understand (or should understand!) that stock markets are volatile, but the short-term ups and downs lead to long-term gains. We counsel our financial planning clients to ignore the day-to-day gyrations and focus on the long-term outcome. However, in a divorce, significant investment account fluctuations can complicate negotiations.Read More
Louise is working out her divorce from Matt. They have agreed that Louise will keep a small bank account, the equity in the house and a $600,000 IRA.
Louise is 57 and is going to need some money from the assets she is awarded until she is eligible for Social Security. That is a minimum of 5 years (if she chooses to begin Social Security at the earliest age of 62.)Read More
Your client’s living expenses are an important piece
of the divorce process. Behind all of the negotiations
is the underlying question, “Will I be okay?”, and this
can only be answered if you know what your client
needs. Therefore, it is critical to have a good picture
of the day-to-day expenses.