A Guide to 401(k): Learn All the Basics
If you work full-time and aren’t self-employed, there is a good chance that you have access to a 401(k) plan. A 401(k) plan is a powerful tool for building wealth if you know how to use it effectively.Read More
The 3 Essential Elements of Divorce
Most of us think of divorce as a primarily legal process; and it is. But this is a very narrow view of divorce and leaves out key aspects that will have a massive influence on the outcome of any given case.Read More
Saving Money: How much should I be saving? And where?
In the context of a financial plan, this question is the one I hear most often. And I get it: money is finite. You have goals for today, goals for five years from now, and goals for 30 years from now that must all be balanced. So how...Read More
The Divorce Process in Texas
If you are going through or just starting a divorce and because the legal system is complex for non-professionals you may find it helpful to get an overview of what the process looks like.Read More
10 Investing Mistakes to Avoid
My father used to say, “We teach by example, but we learn by experience.” Nowhere is this more true than with investing. Investing mistakes can be costly, not just in dollar terms, but in terms of reaching your goals.Read More
Three Ways to Get Divorced in Texas
A very small number of divorce cases end up in a courtroom. If you are considering asking for a divorce, consider also how you think your case may be best settled. It may be less stressful, less costly, and less painful than you think.Read More
Five Steps to Getting Financially Fit
The New Year often brings thoughts of getting back in shape — getting fit. Yes, I know that usually means physically…but why not financially?Read More
Love & Money: Laying it all on the table before you say “I do”
Before you light the unity candle, say “I do,” jump the broom, or break the glass — make sure you’ve done your financial homework together so you have a better chance to stay together.Read More
When Do My Investments Get Taxed Exactly?
As the famous saying goes, only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Most of us understand how our paycheck drives our taxes — we earn money, and the federal government taxes it.But how do our investments drive our...Read More
Spousal Support in Texas: Myth vs. Fact
Many a family law client has sat in their lawyer’s office and asked, “Will I get alimony?” (or maybe, “Will I have to pay alimony?”). As with most elements of a divorce case, the answer is, “It...Read More
SPECIAL EDITION: The Path to Transformation
Divorce stinks. No one embarks on this journey with joy and enthusiasm.But hidden in the pile of grief, anger, hurt, and fear that divorce brings, there is a gift: The gift of transformation.There are two ways a person can experience...Read More
How Should I Pay Down My Debt?
How much debt is too much? How should you pay your debt down? Is there such a thing as a healthy level of debt? When is it OK to take on more debt? Let's jump in!Read More
3 Steps to Divide Assets in a Divorce
You may be struggling to conceptualize how you'll divide everything once the divorce is final. This article will walk you through the process that I use when guiding clients through dividing their estate.Read More
Making a Will: What’s the Big Deal?
When I sit down with a client to review their overall financial health, I almost always ask if they have a will in place. My Type A's typically do, but the majority of others don't...Read More
Why Your Attorney Shouldn’t Answer Your Financial Questions
You've recently been served notice of a divorce petition filed by your spouse.So far, you've done all the right things: You've interviewed a few attorneys, hired one you feel comfortable with, and you're gathering up the information...Read More
4 College Savings Options for Your Child
College savings is a common goal for parents and grandparents. With college costs continuing to rise faster than inflation, and the value of a post-secondary education undisputed, saving for higher education is key to your child's future.Read More
Health Insurance & Divorce: What Are My Options?
Insurance coverage is often tied to employment, which means that a non-working or part-time employed spouse in a divorce proceeding may have some healthcare challenges ahead of them post-divorce.Read More
Risk Tolerance: What is it? Why does it matter?
When I sit down to talk with new clients and prospective clients who are considering the decision to hire me, I often ask them about their "risk tolerance" or "risk appetite." "Have you ever completed a Risk Tolerance questionnaire?" I askRead More
3 Factors that Impact Child Support in Texas
Depending on what side of your divorce case you're on, you may be wondering: “How much will I pay in child support?” or “How much will I get in child support?” These are key questions if you are trying to figure out post-divorce finances...Read More
Just Eat the Treat Already
I advocate for a “pay yourself first” mentality when it comes to planning, saving, and investing. But if you have clear savings goals that you’re meeting and are still hesitant to spend your excess dollars, are you really enjoying them?Read More
Negotiation Techniques in Divorce: Arriving at “Yes”
If you are getting divorced, you’re likely in the middle of one of the biggest negotiations of your life. If you find yourself curious about the nuts and bolts of negotiating, then this article is for you.Read More
In Praise of Simplicity: Tips for a Healthy Portfolio
As humans, we are often seduced by complexity, as though the more glamorous or intricate an investment instrument is, the better it must be. Please allow me to make an impassioned argument for the cheap, simple, and boring.Read More
What’s Mine Is Ours: Community Property in Texas Divorce
When a couple resides in a Community Property state, any property acquired by either member of the couple during the marriage is jointly owned regardless of how the asset might be titled or whose labor earned the money.Read More
How Do Taxes Work?
The U.S. tax code is a mystery to the typical individual. But federal taxes (not to mention state and local taxes) are a big expense for most of us — and most of us are interested in paying less in taxes.Read More
Dividing the House: Creative Equity Division Techniques in Divorce
If there is significant equity, dividing it can become tricky – you may need to get creative. This article outlines some of the lesser-known ways to divide the equity in real property.Read More
3 Reasons You Might Need a Financial Advisor
Does everyone need a Financial Advisor? No. Not everyone needs a Financial Advisor. If you are DIY, happy, and getting the results you want, read no further. But, if you are willing to entertain the possibility that you might need me...Read More
Why Hire an Expert?
The period just after your divorce can be a critical time; you need to implement your Divorce Decree and rebuild your financial life. Before you can decide if you'll go it alone or hire an expert, it may help to know what experts are availaRead More
What's an IRA? Do I Need One?
Around this time of year, we get at least one or two incoming phone calls from people wishing to set up and fund IRA accounts right before the tax filing deadline, because their CPA told them they needed one for tax reasons.Read More
7 Things I Learned When I Divorced
In February 2017, I realized I had to leave my marriage. In the 17 months it took for my divorce to be settled, I learned a lot. I’d like to help you avoid some of my mistakes and make your divorce process as smooth as possible.Read More
Want To Be Wealthy? Then Plan On It
Originally published June 2020Updated February 2022Add this to the long list of things I hear that drive me crazy: “Financial Planning is just for rich people.”Let me say it louder for the people in the back: In general,...Read More
Taking a Team Approach to Divorce
Few professionals are equipped to effectively answer every need that a client may have through the divorce process. This article aims to outline the various professionals who might make up your team, and help you decide when to call on themRead More
Starting Your Divorce: A Short Guide to Leaving
If you’ve decided to end your marriage but haven’t figured out how to start the process, you aren’t alone. With a little thought and consideration, you can find a way to break the news and get yourself on the path to getting out.Read More
Why Financial Advisors Charge Fees, and Why That’s OK
Why would a Financial Advisor who clearly charges for her services be praising the democratization of these same services? Why would I laud the very thing that leads to “fee compression?” Why would I cheer on my competition?Read More
Mistakes Were Made: Common Divorce Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Divorce is by nature a messy process, and if you are wrapping up a divorce, you may find that mistakes were made. Below I’ll outline the most common mistakes I see and guide you in how to address them.Read More
Harvest Time: Making the Most of Your Losses
This fall, as thoughts turn to wrapping up for the year’s end, consider the idea of Tax Loss Harvesting. Put simply, if you have investments that have lost value, you might be able to use them to avoid taxes on investments that did better.Read More
Having a Happy (Single) Holiday Season
The holidays can be painful for someone whose family has radically changed due to a divorce. While learning to be unmatched during this festive season may not be easy, it’s doable. Here are some tips on getting through and finding some joy.Read More
What Is Asset Allocation & Why Does It Matter?
Financial experts like to use jargon - it's a character flaw, I must admit. And one piece of jargon you hear often is "asset allocation." While this can sound intimidating, it's actually a very simple concept.Read More
Understanding Taxes After Divorce
Most married couples I know choose to burden only one member of the couple with tax return preparation. So, if you are divorcing after a long marriage, you may be doing your own taxes for the first time (or the first in a long time).Read More
Building Wealth With an HSA
Open enrollment season for is upon us. As you try to predict your needs over the next 12 months, allow me to put a bug in your ear about a highly valuable wealth-building tool that you may want to include in your upcoming benefit elections.Read More
Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Divorce
If you are lucky, you’ll only have to get divorced once in your life. In the spirit of making divorce less terrible for everyone, here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid in your divorce.Read More
Understanding Credit: Your Score vs. Your Report
Credit: Most of us will need it at some point, but few of us really understand how it works. In fact, we may get our initial rude awaking when trying to make our first-ever big, meaningful purchase.If you have large financial goals...Read More
Are You "Bad With Money?"
For every woman I work with who claims to be bad with money, I can find another who confidently runs the money for her household. So, what gives?Read More
Pre-Nup, Post-Nup: Which is Right for Me?
More and more people are marrying at a time in their lives when they have meaningful assets like homes, retirement accounts, or businesses that they built up before the date of marriage.Read More
Social Security Divorce
The Federal government already has rules in place for how a divorced person can claim Social Security Benefits, and very little that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse does will affect your benefit.Read More
Dealing With Firsts: Grieving Your Divorce Through Important Dates
The year of and the year after your divorce will bring many firsts in your new life. This edition of Graceful Exits will outline some of the things you can do to help prepare for and cope with these important days.Read More
What Is Diversification? And How Do I Do It?
If you've read almost any book, article, or blog on investing, you've seen the word "diversification." But experience has taught me that most investors - even educated ones - still don't understand what diversification is, how it works...Read More
Romance, Money, and the Business of Marriage
Before you light the unity candle, say “I do,” jump the broom, or break the glass — make sure you’ve done your financial homework together.Read More
How to Hire a Divorce Lawyer
The time between late January and early April is sometimes referred to as "divorce season" by those who work in Family Law. If you are one of the people looking to leave their marriage, you may be wondering how to hire a divorce lawyer.Read More
Why We Do Stupid Things With Money: A Three-Part Crash Course in Behavioral Finance - Part III
By being aware of our own potentially flawed thinking & vulnerability to emotional biases, we can check ourselves in real time to see if we might be on the verge of a poor decision. I suggest some legwork to set yourself up for success.Read More
Behavioral Finance Part Two
Let’s agree that humans are flawed and our thinking is flawed. Let’s further agree that we are rarely completely rational. Now, let’s discuss the nature of these frailties and how they can cause us to make poor decisions.Read More
Why We Do Stupid Things With Money: A Three-Part Crash Course in Behavioral Finance - Part I
We've all done it - made a poor decision about money. Maybe it was because we didn't know any better. Maybe it was because we got some bad advice. Or maybe it was because we fell prey to a cognitive error or emotional bias. The...Read More
Can Divorce Be a Good Thing?
Almost no one who has gone through a divorce enjoyed it. But it is also possible that your divorce can be the best thing that ever happens to you. In reality, there are plenty of benefits from divorce that you may not yet see...Read More
New Year, New You: Setting Financial Goals for 2021
This year, more than most, many of us are looking to the New Year for a fresh start. If New Years Resolutions are on your mind, one of them might be to finally get your financial house in order. If so, good for you!Read More
HENRYs and Why I Love Them
The first time I heard the term "HENRYs," I cocked my head to the side and gave my colleague Steve a look of utter confusion. What is a HENRY? He kindly explained to me that HENRY stands for High Earner, Not Rich Yet.Read More
Investment Basics for Your Post-Divorce Life
It is common in divorce cases for one spouse to be more financially- or investment-savvy than the other. If you’re newly divorced with a settlement to administer and you’re the less-savvy spouse, you’ve got a learning curve to navigate.Read More
How Should I Invest My 401(k)?
Back in August, I wrote all about saving and where to put those savings. One of the first places I advised you to save was in your employer-sponsored retirement plan. For most people, that plan is a 401(k). However, you can apply...Read More
Managing Your Clients as They Experience Their Crisis
By Sarah Cuddy, Financial Advisor at Robert W. Baird & Co. and Angela Oaks, Family Law Attorney at The Oaks Law FirmSome months ago we were privileged to give a talk by this name for the Houston Young Lawyers Association. With the...Read More
If you have decided to pursue divorce, there are lots of things to be done. Some are vital; others are less so. This checklist is designed to help you get organized before you start the process.Read More
What Is a QDRO?
If you are getting divorced, it's possible that you'll need to use a QDRO (pronounced "quah-droh"). But what is a QDRO, when do you need one, how do you get one, and how do they work? This month I explore the whats, whys, and hows of QDROs.Read More
Should I Keep the House?: Real Property in Divorce
Being awarded real property in a divorce will have implications in terms of ongoing costs, refinancing, and taxes. Before you agree to (or ask to) be awarded the family home, consider these factors.Read More
Natural Disasters During Divorce: What Now?
Divorce is rarely a short process. Here in Texas, it takes no fewer than 61 days for a divorce to become final, and often requires up to a year depending on how complex your case is (and how badly the other party does or does not want...Read More
The Pension: What Is it? Do I Want It?
Pension benefits (sometimes calls Defined Benefits Plans) are largely going the way of the dinosaur. But for those who have them, it’s important to accurately assess their value...Read More
Divorce During COVID-19
Divorce is difficult during normal times. Divorce during a pandemic is another thing all altogether. If you are in the middle of or contemplating beginning the divorce process, you likely have lots of questions.Read More
Mediation: Coming to the Table Ready for Success
Mediating successfully requires that you prepare well. In addition, if you come to the table prepared for success, your mediation may finish more quickly. That means less time, money, and stress for you.Read More
Retirement Accounts in Divorce
Retirement accounts & benefits are inextricably linked with tax law, & complex by nature. Because so much wealth is tied up in retirement accounts & benefits, it’s vital to understand what you are dividing...Read More
What Is a CDFA®?
A CDFA® professional is an expert in the intersection of money and matrimony. They are trained to help clients and their attorneys understand the short- and long-term financial consequences of any given divorce settlement.Read More
Collaborative Divorce: What is it? Is it right for me?
What is the collaborative divorce process, and is it right for you? This article will outline the history and process of Collaborative Divorce in Texas, and give you a guide to determine if it’s a good fit for your case.Read More
Charting a Graceful Exit: The Do's and Do Not's of Getting Ready to Leave
Divorce is not a decision taken lightly, and that there are likely some do’s and do not’s to adhere to. While this article can’t cover every single thing you should do to get ready, it will cover the most vital items.Read More
Am I Going to Be OK?: Financial Planning in Divorce
One of the most common questions I hear in my practice is, “Am I going to be OK?” This article will outline the role that a financial planning expert can play in answering this question with you...Read More
Vital Signs: Checking Your Post-Divorce Financial Health
Though I’m not qualified to address your physical or emotional health, I can help with your financial health. This article will cover the five things every divorcee should put in place to get and stay financially healthy.Read More
Finishing Strong: Wrapping up Your Case and Moving On
Your divorce decree is not an ending; it’s just one more step in the process of disentangling two lives. This article will outline some of the most important, sometimes confusing, and potentially easy-to-overlook tasks you’ll encounter...Read More
Bad Decisions: How Errors in Thinking Can Impact Your Divorce Settlement
I will identify, define, and explore the errors I see crop up most often in divorce cases. I’ll also offer some advice for overcoming these issues once you learn to identify them.Read More
Yours and Mine: Dividing the Community Pie
Aside from child custody and child support issues, dividing assets (and debts) in a divorce can be one of the most controversial elements of a case. What is considered marital or separate property?Read More
The (Almost) Magical Power of Budgeting
Budgeting – just reading that word may have made your eyes glaze over with boredom. It’s rare that clients come to us excited about the topic. But budgeting can be a powerful tool, especially in the context of a divorce.Read More
Divorce and Taxes: Start With Your Status
Taxes are complex even when you aren’t in the middle of a divorce. If you are in the process of divorcing or have recently finalized your divorce, you likely have lots of questions about your taxes — starting with your filing status.Read More
Social Security for the Grey Divorcée
“Grey divorce” describes the phenomenon of older couples choosing to divorce after marriages of 20 years or more. Divorce at this late stage can present some unique challenges not faced by those divorcing earlier in life....Read More
Uncovering Hidden Assets: Detective Work in Divorce
In the early stages of divorce, it is easy for assets to be overlooked — or in some cases hidden. A little detective work can give you and your attorney the tools to start asking the right questions.Read More