Why are women in America so uneducated on their personal household finances? Why are statistics showing – even today – that when it comes to divorce or widowhood, women are not educated as to what their personal finances are? With so many women in top executive positions in various industries (even economic ones), the gap on education in this area is still broad.
Michelle Smith divorce expert is CEO and founder of NYC’s Source Financial Advisors, an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) and a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst). She has been working in the field, advising women on this issue for the last 15 years. Source Financial Advisors currently manages $420 million in assets and works with divorcing couples, 85% who are women.
Over the years Smith has found that many women who file for divorce or who are suddenly widowed have had no control over the money in the marriage and assets the couple own are completely foreign to them. In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the amount of what has been coined the “gray divorce” (people over 50 filing for divorce) that is adding to the financial burden and stress, again primarily of women. Smith echoed this when she reported that she had been “seeing more and more older people divorcing [given the increase in life expectancy, these people are] unwilling to stay unhappy” for longer.
The financial side for women who survive their husbands or are divorcing is terrible – no matter what age or stage. There is so much to do (irrespective of the emotional side) with finances when one gets divorced. Smith has found that the transitional process requires the suddenly-single woman to “become a CFO.” As such she formulated a process for these individuals. “Wife2CFO” is a system she developed to aide women in the divorce process. “About two years ago, I literally woke up in the middle of the night and I saw the letter ‘F’ connecting the word ‘wife’ to CFO and so I immediately trademarked it,” she said.
Ultimately given that the rate of divorce after age 50 has doubled in the U.S. since 1990, and one out of two couples will end up divorced (which doesn’t even take into account the amount left widowed), it is time for women to get a full education on where they stand.