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177 - Post Divorce Financial Mistakes To Avoid with Simon Brady, CFP Image

08/25/2020 1:00 pm

Divorce is very costly for so many reasons. Unfortunately, the financial costs can continue long after the divorce without proper planning. In this show, Leh and Todd interview Simon Brady about the most common financial mistakes he sees people make post divorce and what they can do to avoid them.

Transcript

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. We are your cohost for Divorce Team Radio, a show sponsored by the Divorce and Family Law Firm of Meriwether and Tharp. Here you'll learn about divorce, family law, and from time to time, even tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online atlantadivorceteam.com. Welcome back, Todd.

Todd Orston: Welcome back, Leh. Thank you for having me after 170-some odd shows. I thought you would've gotten rid of me already. But like a bad smell, I'm back.

Leh Meriwether: I was thinking it'd be a great idea to talk about today is... Because we talked about we had that show called Post Divorce, things that'll... Gosh, what was the name of the show? Top ways to ruin your post divorce life, and we were focusing on a lot of different things. But I thought it'd be a great idea to focus in on just financial mistakes that people make post divorce because divorce is rough enough on the bank account as it is, and the last thing we want people to do is to make it even worse by doing something not so wise after divorce is granted.

Todd Orston: And we see that because we have clients that we help and do everything we can to make sure that they make good decisions that will put them in a sound financial position post divorce. But then decisions are made afterwards and we see time and again people knocking on our door saying, "I've done some things. Financially, I'm in a difficult spot." And we look at it, and it's like, wow. At that point, it's like had they just gotten some help. Had they just spoken with somebody to make sure that the decisions that they are making, the financial decisions are sound decisions based on their current financial situation, they'd be in a much different spot.

Leh Meriwether: Well, Todd, I decided that we should get some help too. So rather than us talking about it, with us today is Simon Brady. And 2015 after many years working as a currency and equity trader in the financial districts of London and New York as well as at the United Nations as a financial advisor, Simon Brady decided to create a unique personal finance consulting and investment management firm. His vision was to create a fee for service fiduciary personal finance consulting and investment management service specifically aimed at the under served demographic of younger professionals in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s. Simon is a certified financial planner and a speaker on personal finance topics at conferences, universities, libraries, seminars, workshops, and various private events. He's been quoted and published in national, regional, and local news outlets, articles, blogs, and major websites and hosts his own personal finance podcast. He's had directorships and board positions in the past at the Financial Planning Association of New York and at New York Toastmasters. I could go on and on about Simon, but that would take up precious airtime. You can read more about him at angliaadvisors.com. I am butchering it. I sorry, Simon. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Simon Brady: Thank you for having me. Anglia Advisors A-N-G-L-I-A Advisors.

Leh Meriwether: Okay. Thank you for fixing that.

Simon Brady: You're not the first person to have that issue.

Todd Orston: Yeah, but I'm glad we spent 20 minutes beforehand practicing. You see how that worked out.

Leh Meriwether: Well, Simon, I'm glad you came on the show because I know that this is something that's important to you, that you have a personal story that has driven you here. I don't know if you feel like sharing that story, but you have a personal story that's driven you here to help people that have gone through a divorce and particularly under served community. And I agree with you. It's very under served, 20s, 30s, and 40s. They're the ones who often need the most help. We're just glad you're here.

Simon Brady: Yes. Very much so, and the personal story that you referred to was I am a child of divorce back in the UK and not just a regular divorce, a relatively acrimonious one. And one that resulted in pretty substantial financial damage to myself, my brother, and my sister just because of the uninformed and poor handling of finances by both my parents following the divorce. I wish I could say that was relatively unusual situation, but as I work with clients, some of whom make decisions part way into our engagement, they're going to get divorced. I see the same stuff playing out over and over again. So that's really why I wanted to go into the area and help people coming out of divorce.

Leh Meriwether: So before we get started, because you're a certified financial planner, and we're going to focus on post divorce. So after divorce is over. But before we came on the show, you had mentioned you had listened to some of our past shows, in particular episode 82 with the certified divorce financial analyst Beau Varnadoe. Now what he does is a little different than what you do, and just so everyone's clear as they're listening, can you explain the difference between the role of a CDFA, that's certified divorce financial analyst, and CFP, certified financial planner.

Simon Brady: Sure. And there's nothing, just to be clear, there's nothing to prevent someone from holding both designations. In fact, I believe Beau did. I briefly didn't hold a CDFA designation, but the difference in the role that the CDFA designation qualifies you to hold is that CDFA's work with clients during the divorce process. To a large degree, they work closely with the divorce attorney of that particular spouse. They are there to help the spouse come up with financial statements. They're there to help look at statements coming from the other side. They're there to help the divorce attorney strategize about potential settlements dealing with the tax implications of a 401K versus just a cash account. They're not equivalent because some have taxes embedded in them. And divorce attorneys are not necessarily personal finance experts. So it's a third party role that comes to an end the day the decree is issued. Now a CDFA can then put his CFP hat back on and continue with that client working with them. In fact, that's probably a very good idea. I don't find that forensic work particularly interesting. It doesn't play to my skillsets. I completely understand if somebody's going to use their CDFA as their CFP after the divorce. But I tend to step in once the decree is signed. In other words, I don't get involved in the divorce process. I'm working with clients immediately afterwards.

Todd Orston: All right. Well, let's jump in then because we want to help some people, and we want people to be able to get some help. Like we were saying earlier, we routinely see people who come back after the fact. They need some additional legal help, and financially, they just made poor decisions. They didn't do what they needed to do and didn't take the steps necessary to take themselves that they should've. So my question to you is what's the biggest financial mistake you have seen divorcees make post divorce?

Simon Brady: I think it's the tendency that I see very, very often to insist on going it alone. Not bringing in qualified outside help. People coming out of divorce like this are very often emotionally quite raw. It's a very, very different world than one they've likely experienced over the proceeding years. And I think they conflate this strength of going it alone emotionally and what they view as strength going it alone financially. And the two things are just not similar at all. People will sometimes turn to well meaning but completely unqualified family and friends for assistance. The preverbal brother-in-law would be investment advice. And sometimes get fooled by the fact that the person works for an accounting firm or is a trader or whatever that they have the personal finance skills that are required. And others just stubbornly fly by the seat of their pants. You're being asked to make life changing decisions about almost every aspect of your finances at a time when you could be at your lowest emotionally or at least not near your peak in terms of focus and judgment. And one other thing I will add to that list is that relatively recently divorced people can be viewed as very much as fresh meat to the predatory type of advisors who are out there who will latch onto them and definitely view them as very, very high commission generation tools as it were.

Todd Orston: Simon, I don't want to say you're wrong, but one time I took advice from my Uncle Carl, and I was able to lose three times my initial investment. So I think sometimes the advice out there... All right. Am I pouring on the sarcasm a little too... Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: When we come back, we'll hear the rest of this story. I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to listen to this show live, you can listen at 1:00 AM on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there as well.

Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep I guess.

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

Todd Orston: You can turn on the show and we'll help you fall asleep.

Leh Meriwether: There you go.

Todd Orston: I'll talk very softly.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome back to Divorce Team Radio. With me is Todd. I am Leh. And we are talking today with Simon Brady. He is a certified financial planner, and we are talking about the financial mistakes that he has seen people make following a divorce. If you want to read more about us, you can check us out at atlantadivorceteam.com. And by the way, you can see a transcript of this show at divorceteamradio.com. All right, Simon. When we left out, I'm going to just totally ignore Uncle Carl for a minute.

Todd Orston: I do that constantly. So it's fine.

Leh Meriwether: The last question we were talking about, people being, they want to go at it alone. So they don't get the help of a certified financial planner, and then they wind up making some horrible mistakes. What would you say because I know one of the object is or that I've heard is, "Well, I don't have a whole lot," or there's at least a feeling that they don't have a whole lot when they come out of the divorce. I mean, they have assets. They just are scared, and they say, "If I go to a certified financial planner, their fees are going to eat up everything and I'll have even less." So there's that fear going on. What would you say to that person?

Simon Brady: I mean, it's a legitimate fear. The traditional reputation of financial advisors is probably not on a par with shall we say nurses and firefighters. But I think this is why it's important to do some research on the financial planner that you do pick. I eluded earlier to predatory commission based advisors, and they should be really avoided at all costs. But even within the more fiduciary financial planning community, some planners will put down a marker of money you need to pay them before they'll start talking to you. I personally work on an hourly basis, but I will sit down with the client in advance and say, "Look, here's what we want to achieve. We'll build in the fact that we're going to find things out along the way together." But they will know in advance and retain control of how much they spend. So it really is an hourly... Actually it's like an old time lawyer. Here's my hourly rate. Here's the amount of hours that I think we're going to work. I'll work with you. I'll send you an invoice at the end of each month. But at some point, we're going to come out of this, and you're going to be exactly where you want to be. But the important thing is to figure out exactly how the financial planner charges, and I think in this particular case hourly is the best way to go where the client can retain control.

Leh Meriwether: I will say I've seen a number of... Going to your point, that there are a lot of certified financial planners out there that are great, but they have a minimum net worth requirement of say a million dollars. And they won't even see you if you don't have that much. So there is a huge under served community that with the right help could easily to get that... Well, not easily. But can get to that over time, the one million dollar asset mark and above.

Simon Brady: Yeah. The people who don't have a million... It's not as if the people who don't have a million dollars don't need help. I mean, goodness sake. They're the ones that need the help as much if not more than anyone else. I do manage assets for clients if they want me to. I don't impose it, and I don't have any minimum.

Todd Orston: Well, let's keep building on getting the help that you need. I mean, you talked earlier about your family's divorce. Your parents divorce being very acrimonious, and we, Leh and I, and every divorce attorney out there, we've experienced that as well. But not all of them are, and there are a lot of cases where everything is done very amicably. And the parties just agree. They don't want to be married anymore. They want to go their separate ways. In some of those cases, sometimes we'll see going into it that one party really controlled the finances. They had a much greater knowledge of what their financial situation was, and sometimes we even see that there's at least some kind of a friendly relationship going on post divorce. So I guess my question to you would be in some cases we see that there is this continuation of relying on the other spouse for advice on their finances. What would you say to that person who's relying on an ex-spouse for financial advice?

Simon Brady: Three words, absolutely do not. I think this is almost nonnegotiable that you cannot do this. If you are unable to maintain enough trust to stay in a marriage, then I think the level of trust that's required for people to remain involved in their finances of somebody you know is even higher than that. So please, please don't do that. And that doesn't just go for the ex-spouse. It goes for the ex-spouse's friends and the accountant that you used to use when you were married and the banker that you used to use when you were married. You need to absolutely nuke it and start again when it comes to the people that you rely on for financial advice and the professionals that surround them. In my view, it cannot lead to anything other than a problem. At the very least, you got conflicts of interest going on. And at the worst, you could have complete manipulation, financial manipulation happening in some cases.

Leh Meriwether: I think that's some great advice. Even assuming, let's say the husband in this... I'm going to give you a hypothetical where the husband... He has a good heart, and he doesn't want to see his ex-wife suffer. So he starts off giving some great advice. But human nature's going to kick in. So while he may have no animosity towards his ex-wife, he also has no motivation to see her succeed. So she may ask him a question, he's like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Here just do this." And he doesn't understand her full situation. Simon, as someone like yourself, that's your job. You're getting paid to make sure she succeeds. So there is a financial motivation for... I mean, there's a personal motivation obviously. Most people want to do a great job for people. But there's also that financial motivation that, "Hey, I want to see you succeed because when my clients succeed, they refer me more work." But that motivation doesn't exist with the ex-spouse. Emotionally, you may want to still talk to that person and engage with them. But going back to what you said earlier, this is not a place, time when you should be making these financial decisions because you are too subject to your emotions. So let's talk about another aspect. So during the course of a divorce, we often have had clients concerned about getting enough cash out of the divorce to buy a new home. As soon as the divorce is over, I'm going to buy a new house. What are your thoughts? Because for many people, that's their largest asset is the equity in their home. What are your thoughts on buying a new home right after the divorce?

Simon Brady: I think obviously every case is different, but speaking very broadly, I think any kind of knee jerk reaction in the period shortly after a divorce is completed can be dangerous. But something as enormously financially impactful as buying a new home I don't think that decision should be made when there's any kind of either emotional baggage remaining or frankly just a simple lack of knowledge of what the next few years are going to look like. What kind of house are you going to buy? You going to buy one just for you? What if you meet someone two years later or then you have the friction of maybe having that person has kids from a previous marriage or something like that. Then you have all the friction of having to sell that new home and buy another one. Maybe it's not big enough to have that person come in with you. I think the reason people make this mistake is because very often they've been living in an owned property for a period of time leading into the divorce, and they are impacted by the societal pressure that says owning a home is a good idea, renting a home is for losers. I don't know where this comes from. Blame parents for that. But this idea that the American dream, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It just doesn't make sense to make a massive financial decision like that immediately afterwards. Normally there's cash available. Rent for a couple of years. See how your life shapes up professionally. Maybe you get another job and you have to move to a different part of the... Anything can happen and probably will in the years following divorce. So give yourself the flexibility and then work with a financial planner to see what kind of house you can afford down the line when you know what your life looks likes.

Todd Orston: And that's my biggest takeaway from what you just were talking about because if it's a part of a comprehensive plan and you've worked this out with your advisor, purchasing real estate might be part of that plan. But again, it's part of a plan, not a knee jerk reaction.

Simon Brady: Right, right, right.

Leh Meriwether: When we come back, Simon, I want to talk about your thoughts on retail therapy.

Todd Orston: Hey everyone. You're listening to our podcast. But you have alternatives. You have choices. You can listen to us live also at 1:00 AM on Monday morning on WSB.

Leh Meriwether: If you're enjoying the show, we would love it if you could go rate us in iTunes or wherever you maybe listening to it. Give us a five star rating and tell us why you like the show. Welcome back everyone. This is Leh and Todd, and you're listening to Divorce Team Radio Show sponsored by the Divorce and Family Law Firm of Meriwether and Tharp. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online atlantadivorceteam.com. Well, today we're talking about making sure you make wise financial decisions after your divorce, and rather than just relying on us, that may not be the best idea. We brought Simon Brady on. He is a certified financial planner, and if you want to read more about him, you can always check him out online at... Simon, what's your website?

Simon Brady: Angliaadvisors.com. A-N-G-L-I-A Advisors dot com.

Leh Meriwether: Excellent. Thanks for saying that so I didn't mess it up again. If you missed the last segment, we were talking about... You were answering the question of what were your thoughts on buying a new home right after a divorce. And then Todd followed that up. I just wanted to add one more thing to it because I've seen people rush, just like you talked about. There is this pressure to own a home rather than rent, and I've seen two places, two specific areas where it creates a problem when you rush to buy a house as soon as a divorce is over. One, here in Georgia, when someone is considered to be the "primary physical custodian", they can move to another county and that may not justify going back to court for. So you may buy a house in the neighborhood over from your ex-spouse so you can be close to your children. And then your ex-spouse, either they get transferred or they move right away because they're like, "Hey, I got a divorce because I don't want to see you." And then they move to another county that is like 30 miles away, and in traffic, that's one or two hours away. And now you're stuck in this house, and you can't move as well without serious financial hardship of selling that house that you had just moved into. And the other area I see people making mistakes is let's say you have someone who they weren't the ones who were responsible for the upkeep on the house, and they immediately rush out and buy a house. And then they buy it and they're not paying that close attention, then the air conditioner breaks and then the water heater breaks. And they didn't buy a home warranty. Next thing you know their house poor because they have all these repairs on this house. Whereas if they just rented, the landlord would've been responsible for all those repairs. So I just wanted to add that on to what you said because I'm just glad to... It's nice to hear from someone from a different perspective come to the same conclusion that we do that it may not be a wise decision to rush out and buy a house. It should be part of a very calculated plan, and that's the advantage of hiring you, Simon, that you'll help them make that decision to avoid a costly financial mistake.

Simon Brady: Yeah, very much so. And those are two very, very, very valid points that you bring up.

Leh Meriwether: So in a recent show, we discussed the top ways, it was episode 174, the tops ways to ruin your post divorce life. And one of them involved going out and spending a significant amount of money immediately following your divorce and how that can create problems as it relates to your ex-spouse, like pulling you back in court. What are your thoughts on when someone is... Like I said, they've gotten the divorce. Maybe they got a large sum of money from the sale of something. So they have a lump sum of money, and they just want to go out and spend it. What are your thoughts on that? What would you tell that person?

Simon Brady: I mean, I approach it obviously not being a legal professional. I approach this less from what it might do to an ex-spouse or calling stuff back into court and everything else. I look at this more purely as a personal finance, cashflow issue. Very often in divorces, even in divorces among people who are not particularly high net worth individuals or anything else, a significant lump sum arrives on one side or other of the ledger following the divorce decree. It can be in the form of cash. It can be shares. It can be the quadro from a qualified plan. But what people tend to forget is that this lump sum is not being deposited for you to spend to make yourself feel better. The retail therapy that you mentioned earlier. There's a very specific reason, and this is people who've used professionals like Beau have worked together, come up with a number, and this lump sum that has arrived to you is a number that is calculated to help you through the rest of your life and help you adjust to life without your spouse. And particularly dealing with people in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s. I mean, these people have decades and decades and decades of life ahead of them. And that lump sum is a calculated amount. If you go and stop blowing it to make yourself feel better, which I have seen, and I guess you have too, there's a tendency to overspend. There's also a tendency to not really understand the consequences of spending. Maybe withdrawing money from a 401K or an IRA and incurring unnecessary taxes and penalties. Selling shares when perhaps you shouldn't do. Not just viewing a share asset same as a cashed asset. It can be related to the snap real estate decision. Once you've bought the house, you need to get some furniture. You need to get a nice 50 inch TV and the grill for the deck. All that stuff, and low and behold there's a few hundred thousand dollars sitting in your bank account and off you go. But that few hundred thousand dollars is very specifically calculated to get you through the rest of your life. So again, this is a self serving reason why a dispassionate yet empathetic financial planner specializing in this area can help. And one of the first things I do with a client is produce what I call an asset map, which would create on a one piece of paper a very visual map of all your assets and what each account is worth and all your liabilities and everything else. And that's our starting point. We sit down and stare at that for a long time and start moving forward from there.

Leh Meriwether: One of the things years ago, so this is probably 15 years ago, was eye opening for me was when someone put together a spreadsheet breaking down just highlighting... Oh my gosh, it may have been longer than 15 years ago. But highlighting compound interest and how it works. And just showing how you could have someone contribute to a retirement account like starting when they're really young, like maybe 15 and go to 30, and a certain amount every month. And then not touch it. And they still have the potential to make more money than someone who started at 30 and put the same money in over the course of even a longer time just because compound interest is so powerful. You quickly lose sight of that. But that's where the nonemotional component comes in. You have to slow down. You have to, "Okay. If I don't touch this money, if I properly invest it, it will grow over time. And this $200,000 could easily be worth," depending on your age, could be worth $400,000, $600,000 or more in the future when it's time for you to retire.

Simon Brady: And one thing I'll add to that is that I think the assumption of the decree is that you will handle it like that. Meaning that if you don't, then you're going to run into significant problems later on. I mean, the size of that lump sum, what I'm trying to get across. Say that lump sum assumes that you treat it well. If you fail to do so, you're absolutely making problems with yourself in the future.

Todd Orston: I mean, a reality is though people come out of a divorce, they have expenses. Even if they're not being completely irresponsible, even if they're not running down, getting a house or some other big expenditure. Expenses come up. They have to spend money. But I'm assuming part of your job also is to sit there and say, "Not all assets are created equal." It is smarter to take from this asset rather than that asset. The penalties might be different over here than there. And all of that is designed to hopefully make sure that down the road, whether down the road means a year or five years or 20 years, that you've got a deeper pot of assets that you can use in your retirement.

Simon Brady: Yes. Again, when I build the client's financial savings investment environment or ecosystem or however you want to call it, I will create pockets. I'll make it very easy for them to understand. If you need to draw money, this is the first place you draw from. You do not draw from this place. Number two is this one. Number three is this one. And the client will look at all these in a way that makes sense to them. People are very visual about these kinds of things, and I will create, as I say, pockets that will serve different purposes. So almost every dollar that-

Leh Meriwether: Simon, I got to interrupt you real quick. We're up on a break. But when we come back, we'll continue to go through the mistakes that you've seen divorcees make. I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to listen to this show live, you can listen at 1:00 AM on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there as well.

Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep I guess.

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

Todd Orston: You can turn on the show and we'll help you fall asleep.

Leh Meriwether: There you go.

Todd Orston: I'll talk very softly.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome back everyone. This is Leh and Todd, and you're listening to the Divorce Team Radio Show sponsored by the Divorce and Family Law Firm of Meriwether and Tharp. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online atlantadivorceteam.com. And if you want to hear more about this show, if you want to read transcripts from this show, you can always go back to divorceteamradio.com. Well, today we have Simon Brady on the line with us, and we are talking about some top financial mistakes that people make when they get out of their divorce. And we're going over this because if you've just gone through a divorce, we don't want you to make these mistakes. We touched on or Simon just touched on retail therapy. There's this tendency if you've gone through a very emotional trying divorce, you get out, and next thing you know you find yourself spending all kinds of money. I don't know if there's a psychological designation for it, but I have just seen people go on spending sprees after their divorce. And I was going to share this one story. I represented a gentleman, and as a result of the divorce, his wife received about a half a million dollars. And subsequent to that, she received another half a million dollars roughly from an inheritance. So I'm rounding right now. But she received over the course of a year or two years about a million dollars, and I think it was either four years later, may have been four years later, she was bringing him back to court for a modification of alimony. By the way, the alimony had already expired, and a modification of child support because she had spent it all gone. One million dollars gone. Needless to say the judge didn't have too much sympathy for her. But it is if you allow emotion to run away, you can go through all that money. Simon, I bet you would love to have had a million dollars to work with for that client.

Simon Brady: A million dollars. You didn't mention how old she is. But basically you could set someone up for a life with that money, put it to good use, and really, really make a big difference in someone's life. But there's an example of somebody who didn't bring in a third party and-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. It was so sad on so many levels. And unfortunately, like your story, their son was caught in the middle of all that.

Simon Brady: Yeah. It goes way beyond just the two individuals. Yeah, you're right.

Todd Orston: Well, I mean, I think we could all probably talk about the many mistakes that we have seen people make unfortunately because usually they don't have the advice they need to avoid those mistakes. But let me pose this as a question. What are some other mistakes that you see recent divorcees make following the granting of a divorce?

Simon Brady: I mean, obviously coming out of a divorce can be a very important time for somebody. They are going to have a sense of relief. The road block they seen ahead of them is no longer there, and there's a temptation to sort of just relax and take it all in and not be stressed anymore. But what that can lead to is a failure to deal with or to delay by far more is advisable changes that need to be made quickly to items like estate planning, life insurance, education funding. A decree may mandate some certain levels of compliance. One may impose on one party the requirement to get some level of life insurance, some adjustments to a will. But these are all going to be relatively bare bones. What people tend to fail to do when they're left to their own devices is let things like changing that will, not just changing it, completely starting it again fall through the cracks. Life insurance is the amount now correct given this complete change in your life? Are the beneficiary names correct? I'm sure we've all heard horror stories about people who have failed to change life insurance beneficiaries following a divorce and the old spouse gets all the money, not the new on. Education funding for children and everything else. There's a temptation to leave these things, and if you're working with a financial professional, he or she will shall we say nudge you at the appropriate times to say, "Okay. We need to get this will dealt with. We need to do a new life insurance analysis," et cetera, et cetera. So I would say the big mistake is just not dealing with these things because you just came out of something so stressful and so difficult that you want to take a breath. But that breath can sometimes go on for too long. These changes need to be made pretty rapidly afterwards.

Leh Meriwether: I actually talked to someone last year that after the divorce, the life insurance was supposed... It was supposed to name the ex-spouse as the recipient for so long as there was a child support or alimony obligation. Well, that obligation ran out, and the person never changed the life insurance. And then they passed away, and they were in their 50s. They passed away, and the ex-spouse got all the money.

Simon Brady: The courts will, from my experience and you're probably more experienced than me in this, but the courts will never override what's written on the life insurance policy. I know somebody who went to the court and said, "But look, here's my will. It clearly shows that I want everything to go to my new spouse." And the court just basically said, "Well, if that's the case, you should've put your new spouse's name on the insurance policy." And they gave it all to the previous spouse.

Leh Meriwether: They enforced the policies. If you don't change it, that's on you.

Simon Brady: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: The person had been remarried, and the new wife didn't get any of it. So excellent point on sitting down and paying attention to these documents. You also mentioned checking the beneficiaries on retirement accounts too.

Simon Brady: Oh. Yeah, absolutely. And again, horror stories all over the place. Brokerage accounts have carried beneficiaries as well. There are a lot. But someone like myself, a financial planner, will go through document by document and say, "Hey, who's the beneficiary on this? Is this still what you want?" Chances are you're going to want to make major changes to all your beneficiaries. Let's get that done. Let's get it done quick because we all know that we have no idea what happens and when it happens. So let's get that done quickly. I find people [inaudible 00:41:14] don't do that.

Leh Meriwether: You become their accountability partner in a way.

Simon Brady: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: Because I have absolutely seen people procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. And if you've hired a CFP, now you're in that role of let's get this done. Let's make this happen.

Simon Brady: Yup.

Leh Meriwether: Something happened recently that I'm aware of where they didn't change an address on stocks, and the stocks were issuing checks to the old address. And for some reason they never forwarded. So they got returned back to the company. And eventually that company had to forward that money to the state under the state's [inaudible 00:42:06] law, which is a very nuanced area of the law a lot of people don't know about. It also applies to life insurance policies that money, if they can't find... If the person passes away and they can't find the person or whatnot, that money actually goes to the state.

Simon Brady: Yup.

Leh Meriwether: They don't lose that money. That's the advantage in this scenario I was explaining. There was thousands of dollars that were at the state level. But they had to go fill out a form and say, "Hey, I am the owner of the stock. I had moved, and for whatever reason my change of address never forwarded. But they never went to the main company." There was a company managing the stock payouts, and I don't remember the name of the company. But they never updated... They discovered this when they sat down to do some estate planning, and that's when they discovered, "Hey, we haven't gotten these checks." Again, going back to what you do, you sit down and go, "What about this, and what about this? And what about this?" Sometimes it sparks up, "Oh, I completely forgot about that."

Simon Brady: There is a website actually for your listeners, missingmoney.com. It sounds like a scam, but it's actually not. All the states have to essentially aggregate these things, life insurance payouts or Verizon checks that got lost in the mail and all this sort of stuff. You go to missingmoney.com, put your name in and your state, it will actually bring up what is outstanding, and you can make a claim right there and then on the website. It's a horrible looking website. It looks like a complete awful scam but it's actually genuine. I had a client find $10,000 on there last year.

Leh Meriwether: Wow. Hey, Simon. Real quick, we only have a few seconds left.

Simon Brady: Sure.

Leh Meriwether: If people want to, if they're interested in retaining you for your services, what's the best way for them to find you?

Simon Brady: Just to go angliaadvisors.com. A-N-G-L-I-A advisors dot com. Click on the contact page, and then all the different ways to reach me are on there, phone, email, et cetera.

Leh Meriwether: Awesome. Simon, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Simon Brady: Thank you for having me. It's been great.

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