Divorce Financial Advice for Women: Expert Q&A With Jeff Landers, CDFA
Concerned about your financial future after divorce? As part of our Family Law Jersey Style series, Bari Weinberger spoke with Jeff Landers, founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, a divorce financial advisory firm that works exclusively with women throughout the United States. Jeff is also the author of many Amazon best-selling books including Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally. In their discussion, Bari and Jeff discuss what a divorce financial advisor does, common financial concerns during divorce, and more.
Watch the video for the full interview or read the transcript. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing such important information with our audience!
Bari Weinberger: Welcome back to Family Law: Jersey Style. I’m here with our special guest, Jeffrey Landers who is a divorce financial advisor. And you just have handed me a present so, thank you very much.
Jeffery Landers: It is my pleasure.
Bari Weinberger: It is Jeffrey’s book which is: Divorce Think Financially, Not Emotionally! I really appreciate it, thank you.
Jeffery Landers: My pleasure.
Bari Weinberger: It’s nice to have you here.
Jeffery Landers: Thanks for having me.
Bari Weinberger: So, for our viewers; what is a divorce financial advisor?
Jeffery Landers: Well, what we do, we work exclusively with women and what we do is help them figure out how their assets should be divided, how to work on their financial affidavit, figuring out what their expenses are, what their assets are, liabilities, income and we work hand in hand with their attorney to come up with the most advantageous way to divide those assets. One of the important solutions that we bring to the table is figuring out how they are going to be in the future not just right now but by five, ten, fifteen even twenty years down the road so we do future projections. We do a lot of what if scenarios; should they keep the house, should they wait two or three years until the youngest child goes off to college, should they keep the retirement as opposed to cash in the bank and when you look at these things you know on a piece of paper you may not know how things are going to be five or ten years. And of course you have to take an account on tax implications.
Bari Weinberger: A number of clients who come to see me, are oftentimes fearful to move forward toward the divorce even if they really want it, because the other financial unknown.
Jeffery Landers: Right!
Bari Weinberger: And having somebody involve much like yourself, financial advisor to give you the support to understand the dynamic of what to expect, from their real financial perspective is tremendously valuable.
Jeffery Landers: And it’s very interesting that you mention it because we have numerous clients that come: She’s thinking about possibly getting a divorce but as you said, a big concern is “Am i gonna be okay?” you know, “Can I take care of myself?” “Can I take care of the kids?”. So, even before they bring a lawyer into the mix they’ll come directly to us and say: “Can you work out the numbers? And just give me a sense of where I might be”
Bari Weinberger: A woman who is for instance, in your situation coming to you with these potential alimony scenarios can learn the tax implications and ultimately be able to find how it is in fact projected into the future and what will be available as a net dollar in the pocket and for how long?
Jeffery Landers: Well, absolutely and typically what you’ll find is in most cases, not all cases because we have more and more clients with woman is the majority wage earner, so things are changing but in many many instances, either the woman hasn’t been working or there is a huge disparity between her husband’s income and her own but they have a certain marital lifestyle. Which means, post-divorce, if she’s going to live a somewhat comparable lifestyle her expenses are going to exceed her income.
Bari Weinberger: One party might be intent on keeping the house.
Jeffery Landers: Right.
Bari Weinberger: …for stability perhaps of an easy transition for the children but not necessarily be able to afford to continue to maintain the house because now the money of the family is divided. Do you see that a number of times?
Jeffery Landers: That’s exactly right. All the time. I mean invariably most women …because of the children and friends you know. …divorce is disruptive enough to the kids so the last thing you want to have to do is start moving and take them away from their school and their friends but the reality is and I tell my clients all the time, It’s a very illiquid investment, your house. You know, you can’t go to the grocery store and say don’t worry about the payment for this I have a hundred thousand dollars of equity in my house, you can’t put food in the table with that and of course a house is a black hole. Okay, you’ve got to pay your real estate taxes, you have to pay mortgage, you have to pay upkeep, repairs, I mean if you have to replace the roof that could be ten to fifteen thousand dollars right there. So, you don’t want to be you know, house rich and cash poor. You still have to be able to pay your bills.
Bari Weinberger: I find that a lot of clients tend to overlook the anticipated capital gains aspect.
Jeffery Landers: Yes.
Bari Weinberger: … especially of the house. So if the house had been maintained for some twenty five years and they’re maintaining the house or retaining the house but expect that they might sell it in a couple years after one child graduates and then they can move on, they have to be mindful of that particular capital gains aspect.
Jeffery Landers: Absolutely, in fact every aspect of the financial part of the divorce you have to take into account all the tax implications. If you are dividing a stock portfolio in half what’s the cost basis of the stock you’re getting. You know, if your husband‘s a little wily and he keeps all these stock you know that was recently purchased and he sells it, he might have zero or no capital gains but if you end up with all the stocks from, you know ten years ago that’s appreciated you may think you’re getting X dollars but you’re going to get you know twenty or twenty-five percent less than what you thought after you pay taxes on it, same deal with the house.
Bari Weinberger: Do you find that everybody going through a divorce from your perspective could benefit from a financial advisor at one point or another?
Jeffery Landers: Maybe. And the reason why really depends on your situation, I mean, if you have limited assets and you have not a very complex situation, I mean we charge a minimum fee of four thousand dollars. Okay, if your assets are a hundred thousand dollars I don’t want to take a four percent of your assets. I mean, it’s just doesn’t make sense to do that. But, in cases where there is closely held business, maybe stock options, restricted stock, you have multiple pieces of real estate not only a home, a vacation home, commercial property, the more complicated and convoluted the situation, the more valuable our services come into play.
Bari Weinberger: Jeffrey, thank you. I really genuinely appreciate you being here.
Jeffery Landers: My pleasure.
Bari Weinberger: Thank you for taking the time and providing all these really useful information to our viewers.
Jeffery Landers: Thanks for having me Bari.
What financial questions do you have about your divorce? Our highly skilled family law attorneys are here to protect your assets and secure your financial future. Please contact us today to schedule your confidential consultation.
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