Divorce can be one of the most difficult and stressful times in a person’s life, and it’s easy to make major money mistakes. Financial professional Mindy McIntosh talks with WSMH FOX66 Profitt Report about how couples can avoid the biggest financial “gotchas” involved in a break up and how to make sure their assets get divided equally.
Take complete inventory – You can’t negotiate a fair settlement if you’re not taking into consideration ALL of your assets as a couple. Look beyond what money you have right now, and take into account future interests like start-up stocks, business interests and pensions.
Taxes matter – Don’t forget to take into account “pre-tax” or “post-tax” dollars. It can make a big difference in the value of a particular asset. Make sure you understand the possible tax penalties associated with splitting up your assets.
Don’t forget to disconnect – Joint accounts can be a big source of trouble once you’ve decided to divorce. Open new individual accounts to keep future income separate. Get a current credit report and see what debts you have together. Change beneficiaries for assets including life insurance policies and retirement accounts.
Don’t raid your retirement – Don’t dip into your retirement accounts to pay divorce bills or pay off joint debt. Only about half of American households are actually ready for retirement. A divorce may set you back even further.
Take an “all business” attitude – It may be easier said than done, but try not to get too emotional about your assets. People love their “stuff” and it’s easy for them to overvalue their property because of sentimental reasons. Hire a professional to appraise “big ticket” items like real estate and jewelry. That way you’ll be negotiating based on fair market value and not on how attached you or your spouse are to that particular asset.
Click here for a Divorce Money Checklist