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Ep #134: Building Financial Confidence with Leah Hadley | Becoming You Again Podcast

Have you ever wondered how to rebuild your life and finances after divorce? We're diving right into the heart of this topic with Leah Hadley, the founder of Great Lakes Investment Management and Great Lakes Divorce Financial Solutions. Leah's personal journey, from adopting a sibling group from foster care, going through a divorce, to launching two successful businesses, is the epitome of resilience and determination. Her story is a testament to the power of financial literacy and the role it plays in achieving peace of mind.

During our discussion, Leah opens up about the challenges she faced while creating her successful business empire and how she turned these obstacles into stepping stones. She shares insights into understanding the value of one's services, acknowledging personal shortcomings, and the importance of receiving the right coaching. With a unique approach to the financial world, Leah has tailored her services to meet people where they are, making finance more accessible and understandable.

Leah shares the common financial mistakes people make during divorce and provides guidance on how to avoid them. Leah emphasizes the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone, expanding your knowledge base, and understanding the financial risks associated with settlement agreements. We wrap up with some valuable tips on building financial confidence after divorce.

Find out more about Leah:

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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.

Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

  2. Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.

  3. Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.

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Full Episode Transcript:

You're listening to episode number 134 of Becoming you Again. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life, so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast today. I am very excited for today's episode because I have a special guest and I am so excited for you to hear our conversation. My guest today is Leah Hadley. She is the founder of Great Lakes Investment Management and Great Lakes Divorce Financial Solutions, where she uses her 15 years of experience to help her clients make intentional financial decisions. Leah is amazing. She is a compassionate financial guidance expert. You are going to hear some of her story where she has had many financial challenges in her adult life, including adopting a sibling group out of foster care, which then made her a parent of three children overnight, then going through a divorce and then building two businesses from the ground up. Leah is going to talk about how she has been able to use knowledge and education to help her create her own financial peace of mind. She is going to be talking about how you can do that too. She is going to be talking about the common money mistakes that many of us make going through a divorce and how to avoid them. Then make sure you stick around to the end of the episode. Leah will be giving some incredibly useful steps to building your own financial confidence as a divorced woman. You do not want to miss those useful tips. I am so excited for you to hear our conversation. Without further ado, let's dive in. Welcome back to the podcast, my lovely ladies. Today I am so excited for my guest who is joining us. Her name is Leah Hadley and she is a financial expert who works with divorced women to help guide them toward financial stability. Leah, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Leah Hadley: 2:19

It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Karin Nelson: 2:21

Yeah, I am so excited to have you here. I know this is a topic that so many probably every single one of my listeners can benefit from, so I am really excited to have this conversation with you. But please go ahead and just kind of share a little bit about yourself, give a little quick intro about who you are, so my listeners have an idea of who Leah Hadley is.

Leah Hadley: 2:41

Sure, I live outside of Cleveland, ohio. I lived here most of my life. I went to college outside of Philly and bounced around a little bit. After college, I lived in Baltimore for a little while, but I've been back here, oh my goodness, probably over 15 years now. I have three children, ages 11 through 16, who I adopted all three of them at the same time as a sibling group at a foster care.

Karin Nelson: 3:08

My ex-husband and I did Amazing yes.

Leah Hadley: 3:11

Amazing A blessing, but also incredibly overwhelming.

Karin Nelson: 3:15

As any parent, as any parent knows right. Any parent can attest to that.

Leah Hadley: 3:20

Yes, but they are definitely in the center of my world and I did go through my own divorce after 10 years of marriage. I am now remarried and I've been remarried now for six years and I really am theory committed and very passionate about empowering women as it relates to money. I actually have my master's degree in education. I was a teacher before I got into the financial world and I always share this story where I remember the first day I walked into an investment bank. Here, I was feeling like an educated individual. My bachelor's degree was in sociology. My master's degree was in education. I had gotten burnt out in the classroom and I just needed a job. I'd taken a temp job as an administrative assistant in this investment bank. When I walked in, I was like a total fish out of water. I felt like everybody was speaking a foreign language around me. I literally did not understand the words coming out of their mouth. The reason why I share that story is because I think that for a lot of people who might be new to managing money or haven't managed their own money for a long time or maybe just never learned to manage money, I get it. There is a whole language around it and you add the words to that equation, which also has its whole vocabulary around it. I just remember how overwhelming that felt. That experience really informs a lot of the work that I do.

Karin Nelson: 4:51

I love it.

Leah Hadley: 4:51

I think, that's amazing.

Karin Nelson: 4:53

I think you're right. I think when you go through a divorce, it's already overwhelming and scary and all of the things Even you add in this idea of, oh my gosh, now I have to be in charge of my own finances. I think that every person women especially should know about their finances, know what's happening, have, say, and savings and all of the things. Yet it isn't necessarily a thing that goes on. That aspect on top of divorce can seem very scary. Like you said, when you get around something and you maybe don't know that much about it, you aren't very informed. You might feel stupid, you might feel like I don't know what to do. I shouldn't be here because I don't fit in. It's scary, I don't know what questions to ask, I don't know what steps to take. It can be a very off-putting thing, I think, for a lot of women. They stay back from informing themselves because they don't even know where to start, because, as you say, it can be so overwhelming. Which is why I think this conversation, especially, is going to be gold for literally every one of my listeners, because we all have things that we need to learn. You had a master's degree, maybe not in finances, but you had things that you needed to learn and you have this wealth of knowledge that you can really inform to this audience. I think that is a beautiful thing. Again, thank you so much for being here and being willing to share your knowledge. Can you share with us a little bit of your story of divorce and raising kids on your own as a single parent, getting remarried and even building businesses on your own to take you through the life that you're in now, where you are thriving and really in a position where you can help other women who have gone through possibly some of the same things you've gone through?

Leah Hadley: 6:52

Absolutely so. When I went through Mind of Warse, my children were still pretty young. My youngest was still a toddler, I want to say maybe my oldest was something like eight years old somewhere around there and my ex-wife and I actually did a lot of conversation and preparation around letting the children know that this was happening, but what we didn't do well is talking about what happened next. So we really prepared for this conversation and how were we going to answer the questions and all of the things around that initial conversation, and so that actually went really well, thank God. However, the next year was a nightmare. My youngest used to scream and have tantrums when he would go back and forth between our homes. Now, fortunately, we were able to continue to be consistent and you know that has made all the difference over the years, but it was heartbreaking. I mean it just tore me apart to have to be consistent under those circumstances, because all I wanted to do was just hold him and, you know, be with him. So that was really really hard, and my ex and I at the time you know that first year we could barely be in the same space. There was just so much anger and so much hurt, and it just that first year was really difficult. I mean I tell people I'm not going to sugarcoat it Like it was, it was a but it was a season and we kind of found our way. We found our. We are very, very consistent in terms of scheduling and we're also flexible with each other. We do give each other a lot of space and grace and that has been wonderful. We have really figured out this whole co-parent thing thing in a very meaningful way and with teenagers that is so helpful and it's been. I mean, we're much better friends now. You know, however, many years post divorce probably almost 10 years post divorce then we were when we were married, honestly. But it's because we choose to really work on that relationship and communicate consistently about the children. We actually have dinner as a family, you know, both of us with the kids about once a month or at least every other month. So we really try to be a united front. You know we have the difficult conversations with the kids together and so we take the idea of co-parenting very seriously. I love that.

Karin Nelson: 9:17

I'm so glad that you shared that with the audience, because I think that's really important. I think co-parenting in and of itself can just be difficult. Right, we can't control what the other person is doing, but we can control how we want to show up, and often the way we show up can inform to the other person how they are allowed to show up as well. It doesn't always happen that way, but I know for myself. I can relate with so much of what you're saying, and I know that there are other women who have gone through the same thing, who feel that same way. I'm going to show up in this relationship the way I want to be. I'm going to be the person I want to be, and the other person then follows, and I love that you were able to figure that out with your ex. I think that's a beautiful thing, so keep going. It's amazing.

Leah Hadley: 10:07

So that first year, also, the financial was very difficult. So I was on my ex's health insurance at the time and my income wasn't such that I was in the financial space to be able to take on that expense and be at the same level of income that I was at. I had to take a job change to be able to increase my income and have health insurance. I took on a much more stressful, time, intensive job in order to have better benefits and all of that. That didn't work. I was sick that year. I mean I had all kinds of issues that first year and I'm sure it was like the stress of the divorce and all the things right, and so ultimately I got let go almost a year later from the new job and was applying for other jobs, looking at other opportunities. My kids because we did adopt a lot of foster care. They have a lot of challenges and we have a lot of support in place different therapies, lots of appointments and we needed to be able to get them to place to place and finding a new employer that was going to give me the flexibility that I needed in order to be able to make that happen was just it wasn't working. I mean I interviewed the place. I will say I have an amazing network. I have been in the investment world financial services for a long time even at that point, and so it was. I did have a lot of opportunities to consider, but they weren't going to work for my life and ultimately I decided the only way I was going to be able to truly commit to my priorities, which are my children, really, and even myself like having the flexibility of what I wanted and, you know, to be there for what I valued. I wanted to start my own thing and so I started Great Lakes divorce financial solutions. Initially I was already a certified divorce financial analyst. At that time I became a mediator and I was working with people and supporting them through the financial decisions that they needed to make through the divorce process. And then we had people who would come through their divorce with us and really want ongoing financial planning and investment management support and I had been a financial advisor previously for several years and so I opened up my own investment management company and that way if people did want to come on long term, we could provide that support, and then that one just kind of grew on its own. So under that umbrella we work with all kinds of books. You know people refer their brothers and their sisters and their you know parents and kids and that's been. It's been wonderful because you know the divorce work which I absolutely love doing. It's very personally rewarding and people are so grateful for the support. But it's hard. It's a tough space to work in and under that umbrella we get to celebrate life with people. You know new babies and first homes and retirements and you know all of those things and so it was scary at first. No, I'm not going to like pretend Karen, it was. I was starting from ground zero and you know figuring out how am I going to fund this thing, you know, and how am I going to get clients. And I was never into marketing. I didn't know anything about marketing. I was always in the financial world for all of those years and have these great analytical skills and had a lot of missteps. Initially I took on all kinds of financial analysis projects just to, you know, pay the bills and have money coming to the door. But when you're distracted by doing all these different things, you're like not focused in growing the business, of the business or slower at first. But then, once I started to really get focused and targeted. I have a wonderful team that provides great support for our clients now and it's just been an amazing. I mean, if you asked me 10 years ago if this is where I would be, especially in the middle of my divorce, I think I literally would have just asked like yeah you got to be kidding me Never.

Karin Nelson: 13:58

I love that. I love that you share the idea of like really taking a look at you're looking for jobs and you're thinking what am I going to do in this situation? I need to have income. I need to be able to provide insurance for myself, for my kids. I need to be able to be there for my kids. I want to be a parent who is available to my children. That was a priority to you and I think really taking a step back and going what's out there is not necessarily what is right or good for me, and I think a lot of times, like even faced with that kind of scary decision, we will say no to ourselves because what we think we want is the security that might come with a paycheck from someone else. Right, and I'm not saying that security is a bad thing, it's not. It's that can feel very good and feel very safe. But I also think sometimes we know inside that what we truly need is something else and we need to figure out how to create that for ourselves. And I love that you were able to recognize that and allow it like, give yourself permission to go after that, because that can be a very scary thing. And yet look at you now, like, look where you are now. Like you say, 10 years ago, if you would have asked, you never would have like envisioned this, imagined that you would be here. And yet you have built these businesses for yourself. You've created probably whatever kind of schedule you need or want for yourself, for your kids, and that really adds to the richness of creating an amazing life outside of divorce. I love that. I love that you've been able to create that for yourself. So tell me more. What kind of challenges did you face as you're starting this business and as you're trying to figure out, like what my next steps are going into this financial world for yourself?

Leah Hadley: 15:55

So when I had started at the investment bank, I was in the equity research department. That's where I worked as an administrative assistant and I didn't know anything about equity research. I know anything about stocks when I got into that department. But I was able to learn a tremendous amount from the analysts and ultimately became a publishing senior equity research analyst. So along the way I had taken a ton of accounting classes on the side. I had gotten all my licensing exams. I read probably every book that was published at the time although there's so many more nowadays, but anyway and so I had just done a tremendous amount of understanding how businesses work, how businesses become profitable, right, and understanding investing within a business and how to grow. And so, looking at it, you know big companies right, like not. You know my little teeny, tiny company. But I think having that background was so valuable. And so, you know, initially, you know, I created that business plan. I wrote it out, I applied for funding to help me get started and had a plan to really execute on. I have gotten coaching every step of the way. Karen, like I said, I was not a marketer. I've never had that. You know. Marketing, advertising like none of that. Sales. You know I was never. I was an analyst, you know, and I analyze everything to a ridiculous yeah. You know that saying like what did they say? Paralysis by analysis, like that's a real thing. Yes, and knowing your own shortcomings is really important, and I think that's where that coaching along the way of like getting out of your own way and helping to understand you, the worth, the value that you're providing. When I first started, I way underpriced my services and I had a business coach that really pushed me hard. I'm like no, you are working providing so much more value than that, and so all of that was very, very important in my journey, even, you know, learning how to think about creating roles within the company and what kinds of support I needed, and all of that. I've never done anything in a silo. I've always been a member of different organizations, professional organizations. I am very active in the National Association of Women Business Owners, NABO, and so really having all of those people who I can lean on and have a cup of coffee with and be like this is my challenge. What do you recommend? Like, do you have any resources, or have you ever dealt with this? Or? You know, all of that has been so incredibly beneficial for me, and also being open to not doing things the way everybody else does them. How? I love that. So, especially in the financial world. You know, the financial world has a way of doing things. They have a way of doing business and when I first started I kind of felt like I had to. I had to do it their way because I didn't necessarily know that there were like you could do it. And there are compliance reasons. There are reasons why you actually have to do things. Certainly, you know, there's laws in place. But, understanding and working with a compliance consultant to see, well, where can I be creative and what opportunities and how I can really serve people. And I think that was one of the things that frustrated me so much, even when I worked as a financial advisor for a broker dealer, was that like I would see these people coming in and needing help, but the way the services were offered it wasn't what they needed, you know. So where were they going to get the help that they needed? And so what I looked at was like what are people asking for? What kind of support do they really need, and what kind of support do they need that they don't even know to ask for? And how can I structure services in order to really meet them where they're at?

Karin Nelson: 19:40

Yeah, and I love okay. I'm hearing a couple of different things, like number one your willingness to really step out of your comfort zone and learn about things that you didn't know anything about. I think a lot of times when we don't know what we don't know, we are very afraid of that idea and it's safer inside, emotionally right, and it feels more comfortable to say I don't need to know about that, it's okay if I don't learn this. Like learning can be hard, especially when we're adults and we're out of school and it's not a thing that we do on a regular basis. It can feel very uncomfortable and much easier to just say I don't really need to know that. So I love that you recognized like I'm surrounded by these people who know more than me there's coaches out there or whoever right or that I can hire who know these things, that I don't necessarily have the the intelligence of yet, but I can learn from them and I can put in the work and take these classes and do these courses and whatever else goes into this and do my own part to learn and grow, which I think will serve anyone in any capacity, whether or not you're starting your own business, or maybe you're going to just learn about what it takes to communicate better with your ex, or you're going to learn how to be better, more informed, emotionally adult parent to your children, or, like there's so many, those are just two that have to do with divorce specifically. There's like a million more options, of ideas that we can do for ourselves to create learning and understanding and know more about being a human in this crazy world. Right, absolutely. And then I also love this idea that you're taking a look at something that is like this is the way it's always been done, right. And of course, yes, like you say, there are things, there are regulations that you have to follow. But outside of that, even just looking at it from a divorce perspective, I have so many clients who come to me and who are like I'm trying to redefine what my life looks like now. I'm trying to redefine what it means to be a family or what it means to be a mother, and society doesn't really jive with this idea of being someone who's divorced, like, yes, it happens, but we're labeled broken families or our family is ruined or there's something wrong with me or any of those labels, and so when we can take a look at something from a different perspective, whether it's from financial perspective, you're looking at things and going what are these people, what are these women really need, what are the services that are really going to serve them? And how can I do that differently than what is being offered right now? Because what's being offered is not necessarily serving them. We can do the same thing as we are divorced people. We can look at our lives and decide what it is that we actually need. We don't have to define that by this box that society has said this is what we have to stay inside. So I love that that you've been able to step out of that and define it for yourself, define your own business for yourself and really add that value to the women and the other customers who are clients I guess maybe is a better word who are coming to you for help. Can you walk us through some of the common mistakes that you're seeing as people who are coming through divorce, that they're making as they're going through the divorce from a financial perspective, and warn us so that we can avoid those pitfalls as we step into and go through divorce?

Leah Hadley: 23:34

I love this question because there are so many, karen, and people just don't know what they don't know, and it's so important. And I tell people and it's a weird way to think about a divorce, but for most people, a divorce will be the largest financial transaction of your life, and most people are not getting financial advice on the largest financial transaction of their life, right, the first thought that most people have is I'm going to call on attorney An attorney absolutely lean on for legal advice every day of the week. That is so important, but there's a reason that we get hired by attorneys all the time, right, and so it's so important to really fully understand the both short and long-term implications of the financial decisions that you are making and, right now, in particular, the economy that we are in, different market conditions that we're in. Right now, the decisions around the marital home are very, very challenging, right, so we have seen the values of houses go up significantly over the last several years, but also mortgage rates have risen two, three times what some people have on their existing mortgage, and so, as people are negotiating, there are people who are coming to agreements that, in reality, cannot be executed upon, and so it is so critical that you don't come to those agreements, that you don't finalize an agreement that you cannot actually implement, that you do the research and understand what goes into actually executing upon that agreement. Making sure that if you say that you're going to be able to refinance within 90 days, that you actually have the income to support it and that you're going to be able to afford that new payment based on whatever terms that you're looking at in the current market conditions Right If you are saying that you're doing something down the road, and this I see a lot with market. people are getting creative and I get it. Like these mortgages are a big deal, I get these interest rates. It is yes, they're amazing, right, but people are coming to these agreements where they're planning to do something down the road. Well, first of all, it's important to know, in terms of the IRS code, that you have basically six years to settle financial assets related to a divorce. People are coming up with these agreements like down the road, this is what's going to happen, but they're not putting language in place that really protects the agreement. One of the things that I do is I will review settlement agreements, for, essentially, what I'm looking for is risk. I may also be considering is this a fair division or is there something else that might be missing or you should be considering? But a lot of what I'm looking for is risk. I'm looking for financial risk, specifically, and so I will see these agreements and I'm like, oh my God, I can think of like a thousand different things that can go wrong under this agreement. And no, this language does not protect you in any way, shape or form. Right, and so really understanding those agreements that you're making, what are you actually agreeing to? But one of the things that surprised me the most in doing this work is that people get so tired from the door process, right, you're like, yes, it's a lot, it is a lot. Especially if you go the litigation route. It could be years. I mean it's all a lot right, but even if you have a shorter process, it's a huge life change, and big life changes are tiring for people. It's the emotional, it's the mental. I mean you're just so much you're going through that and that's how I get where it comes from that people don't actually execute on the agreements that they make, and so we will have people contact us two, three and 15 years down the road where they haven't actually settled their financial assets post-divorce. So I highly, highly encourage people to go through when your divorce is final, go through that settlement agreement and make yourself a to-do list, go to read it word for word. make a to-do list what assets need to be retitled. Give yourself a deadline. If you need support on a particular change, write down who's going to help you with that. What resource do you need? What information do you need in order to make that happen? But stay on top of these things. I just did an analysis for my divorce that finalized 20 years ago and I get it Like the other thing that comes up. People are definitely tired, but a lot of these things that are being divided are retirement assets and they're like oh, am I going to retire for another 20 years?

Karin Nelson: 28:15

We'll think about it when that time comes.

Leah Hadley: 28:17

Yes, well, now, here we are 20 years later, 20 years later, doing this financial analysis project costly financial analysis project and there was a lot of legal documentation. Illegal expense associated with this had to get filed with the court because they just didn't take care of it 20 years ago. Like this is all going to be avoided, and so it's really, really important to follow up on all of those loose ends. And I always tell people, even if you're one of those people listening and you were divorced five years ago, please still reach out as soon as possible, because we absolutely do help people untangle the mess and we have done it plenty of times but if you can do it right after your divorce is final that is so much better.

Karin Nelson: 29:00

I love that advice. And I, just before you, continue with these amazing, by the way, common mistakes that we need to watch out for. I just think that idea of creating a list it's like you're creating your little map of what do I need to be paying attention to, Because I think you're right. I think the tendency is like after the divorce decree is signed, we want to just take a breath and be like I don't have to think about this anymore. But you kind of need to think about this a little bit more. And it doesn't have to be from a heavy like scared, terrorized place where oh no, I've got to get all this stuff done. But create the list of like step one, Get this title name changed. Step two, like whatever. You don't even have to put them in order, you could just pick and choose which one seemed the easiest and go from there. But having that roadmap of the things that need to get done can be so useful and then it's not just running around in your head. Write it down and then it's out on paper and you can free up some head space for some much needed, maybe breathing room and, you know, room to think about some other things once that divorce is finalized.

Leah Hadley: 30:16

And I will tell you that this advice is coming from somebody who, many years post divorce, filed her quick claim deed on the house. So it was like you know what did they say? Like the shoemaker shoes, You're like you know. So I've been there, I understand. Like it's just one of those things. I'm not sure who to call or where to go or what. Anyway, we'll help you. We'll help you figure it out. But the other thing to keep in mind as far as settling the assets go is some of these agreements, the way they are written. You may be losing out on 10s of thousands, if not more, because of not not taking care of it. If there are specific dollar amounts that are getting distributed, you're missing out on the investment opportunity of that money, and in some cases the retirement plans will not calculate gains on the distributions, and so it'll be as of whatever that date of the division is. And so if that was even 10 years ago, you know money could have doubled and you would lose all of that game. So it is really important to jump on it. Yeah, so many other risks to what that. That's an important one, but another, really big one and this is very, very common when I'm reviewing people's potential proposals that they're looking at is not fully understanding the taxes associated with the various accounts. It's really interesting a lot of cases when people are working with their attorneys, there are these spreadsheets that get passed back and forth, karen, and they may have like account one, account two, whatever the accounts are listed along the one side and there's a value of that account. But don't always say what the account type is and in some cases it may see like fidelity and there may be four accounts of fidelity. One might be a traditional IRA which is pre tax and growing tax. Deferred will be taxes. Ordinary income if withdrawn after 59 and a half could be subject to early withdrawal penalty. If withdrawn prior to 59 and a half, part of it could be in a Roth IRA which is going in after tax but growing tax free and will be able to be withdrawn tax free in retirement. One could be a brokerage account. There could be very low cost basis on some of those assets within that brokerage account. So there are all different kinds of taxation on these assets and within those brokerage accounts. A lot of times and people do this for us to will send us like a screenshot of just the value of the account, not even necessarily the underlying investments, and we need more information because it's a big deal. If you have, you know, the same stock, you're saying like, each of you are going to get half of that stock, but one of you is getting it at a very low cost basis and the other is getting it at a very high cost basis. Well, the after tax value of that stock is very different, right? And sometimes you have assets in that account that cannot be divided and so you're coming again to agreements that can actually be executed upon and, especially if you're in a a contentious situation, there you are post divorce trying to get the stuff filed and it's like, oh, we're running into some issues here and now we have to figure out what to do with these things. Another really common one that people just don't think about it all these annuities. A lot of times people have different annuities in different places. Some of them have writers on them. A lot of times, if you are dividing an annuity with a divorce agreement, you're losing out on a huge amount of that benefit associated with like an income writer, for example and so the person who maybe originally owned it might be able to retain a portion of that benefit, but the person getting the distribution might be not getting any of it, so that 5050 what looks like 5050 on paper is not actually equally value. Yeah, so really understanding the value of these things and it's not just that value that's showing up on that screenshot or on that statement it's so important to make sure accounts are titled correctly in your paperwork. I just had a case where we were working and in the paperwork it said there was a 401k. This employer doesn't even have a 401k, so that actually did require some additional legal fees in order to get that modified with the court, which so much easier to get it done ahead of time.

Karin Nelson: 34:52

If you're able to identify this, If this is so interesting, I was just. I just did an interview with a family law attorney a couple of weeks ago and she kind of reiterated the same thing, not about the finances, but just about this idea of information. Like information is key to everything because it informs all of your decisions moving forward. And so the more informed you are about the finances and what's inside this account and what, what I will get if we split this 5050 and what you will get and what it all looks like, all of that information is only going to help create a better picture for what your life will look like outside of the divorce. The more informed you are, the easier it is for you to decide. Okay, from here, this is what I know I will be getting outside of the divorce. Do I need to get a job? Do I need to start a job? Am I able to stay home with the kids for this many? Do I need to just work part-time? Do I have investments that I can live off of? Maybe I need to move in with my parents for a little while. Maybe I need to lean on whatever. It just gives you a better idea of what that life is going to look like outside of the divorce, which can just in and of itself offer so much peace and emotional stability, knowing a little bit more about what is to come.

Leah Hadley: 36:31

That's right.

Karin Nelson: 36:32

Yes. Is there any other common mistakes that you're noticing that you want to add on?

Leah Hadley: 36:39

I could go on and on. I will just leave you with one last one. That is to prioritize liquidity. Having cash gives you flexibility. Having cash savings, having liquid assets, gives you flexibility. A lot of times, people spend a tremendous amount of cash savings during the divorce process itself. A lot of times, people are very focused on retaining fixed assets like houses or vehicles or other things that they may have a sentimental attachment to. Just from a financial security standpoint, having access to savings in order to deal with some unplanned things can be really important.

Karin Nelson: 37:19

Yes, I totally agree with that. I think that is a huge part of moving forward. Again, it's this idea of creating security for yourself emotional security to where you trust yourself and your decisions, but also financial security, which is going to help add to your own emotional security, knowing that things are going to be okay when you have that liquidity available to you. That can definitely add to that feeling. How can women who are coming out of divorce really step into building financial confidence for themselves?

Leah Hadley: 37:51

There's a few things that I recommend. If you're somebody who is super stressed and worried about money, the clearer you can get about the specifics of your worries, the more you can create a plan to address them. I'll give you an example. Sometimes people are very worried that they're not going to be able to pay their bills. Very specifically, I'm worried I'm not going to pay their bills. Getting very clear on what are your sources of income and when are you going to receive them, what are your expenses and when are they do, going through that exercise in great detail can give you a tremendous amount of confidence that, yes, I can pay my bills. Or and I know this is scary, but it's good to know, if there is a cash flow issue, that you can make a plan to deal with it, either increasing your income or and I always try to focus on the fixed expenses first reducing your fixed expenses, so that way you make the decision once and they're going to be down every month going forward. But pulling back on expenses can be really important if you need to, and keep in mind it might just be a season, it may not be forever, but if that is a serious worry for you, take the time to take a step back and really figure out if that's a real problem or not and, if it is, take the steps to create a plan to deal with it. Don't just let it be that like worry sitting there and not getting up at night.

Karin Nelson: 39:20

This is 100% like. Awareness is key. You always have to have awareness moving into anything, because there will be no change, there will be no understanding, without that awareness. And so I love the idea of not being afraid to take a look at what are my expenses, because maybe I can actually afford them and I just don't know. And if I truly can't and I've taken a look at everything what can I cut? What is the bottom line here and what has to go? Or can I bring in extra income in a way that will allow me to you know, pay my bills in the way that I want to live the life that I want to? I love that one.

Leah Hadley: 40:01

Yeah. So if your worry is, I don't know if I'm going to be able to make my settlement last, can I make my divorce settlement last, or am I going to run out of money Right here for whatever reason? I always hear people say, like am I going to have to live in, live off a cat food to my old age? Oh, cat food is kind of expensive. Whatever, I hear that one a lot. Create the plan, go through the financial planning process and go through the steps and figure out do you have enough for your settlement to last? Like? There is a lot of analysis that goes into it, but it is an exercise that is doable and you may need to make some adjustments. You may need to ensure better for unexpected expenses. You may not have enough risk management proactive risk management in place, and that may be something that you need to deal with. You might not have your investments handled well. You may need to optimize them and minimize your expenses so that way you are growing your investments and they're going to last you longer. Again, you might need to reduce your fixed expenses. There are a lot of things you can proactively do to make your settlement last longer, but you may also find out that, yeah, this is a real risk and maybe I need to go back to work or work a little bit more, make a little more income now, but have the answer Like, don't just sit there in that worry If that's what's bothering you. But I really think helping to really get clear on knowing what's bothering you is going to help you to take the steps to create the plan that's going to give you the confidence. But the other big thing when it comes to financial confidence is forgiving any past financial mistakes. So many people have tons of shame around financial blunders that they made in the past or maybe just a lack of financial literacy in general, especially some of the very high achieving professional women that I work with who have really excelled in other areas of their life. And here they are. I literally just was talking with a woman. She's like you know, I'm so well educated and I've even like in this particular woman's case, she has worked in financial services before. We get hired by lots of accountants. You know the thing is when you are going through the emotion of divorce, it doesn't matter what your professional background is. Like you're, you're cloudy. You got that like brain fog.

Karin Nelson: 42:32

It's true.

Leah Hadley: 42:33

Everybody needs support in different ways. You know it's not going to be the same for everybody, but it's important to be aware of if you need that support, to really reach out and get it. But if you've made those financial blunders in the past, don't let them stand in your way of asking for help.

Karin Nelson: 42:52

I love that.

Leah Hadley: 42:53

It's OK to say, like you know, this has happened in the past or for a lot of people, they may have had messaging throughout their marriage You're no good with money, or you spend too much, or there's all kinds of things that people hear over the years. Nobody is born knowing how to manage money. Well, it is a skill that gets acquired over time and you know, when we learn like think about learning to ride a bike right, if you're learning to ride a bike, most people don't just get on a bike and start riding. You're going to, like, stumble a little bit, maybe you're going to fall off sometimes. But as long as you keep getting up and trying, at some point you're going to get to the point where you're confidently riding that bike Right. And so if you just stop, that's where you know you don't make the progress and you never develop the skill. But if you can forgive yourself for those stumbles along the way, that's huge. And continuing to take that action and to show yourself, I'm not going to give up. Even you know reaching out to financial professionals. You might have a negative conversation, you might have somebody who's condescending or you know all kinds of things happen, right. That's not a reflection of you. That's a reflection of them.

Karin Nelson: 44:08

Move on to somebody else. Yeah, it's almost like when you go to choose a coach or a therapist and you pick one and you're like they were just so mean, or you know. I came away from that just crying the whole rest of the week and I just didn't feel good about myself and it's like, okay, you don't have to stick with that one person. There's lots of therapists out there, there's lots of coaches, there's lots of financial analysts who can help you and who are going to connect with you in the ways that you need. Don't feel like you have to go with the first one just because they happen to be there in front of you, right? But I love these ideas because it really goes along with, I think, the theme of this whole podcast episode of education Educate yourself. I love this idea of forgiving yourself of your past mistakes. I think so often we carry that shame with us of like, but I made this mistake or I just haven't ever known about this and so I must be so stupid because of that or like. Whatever the story is right that we've got from our past. It doesn't mean that that has to be your future. You have the opportunity to inform yourself of these new things. Have an understanding of where you're at and decide from there what you want your future to look like, and go after someone who can help you create that by knowing the things that you don't know and helping you in the ways that you don't know. I love it. Anything else that you want to leave as a final note for my podcast audience today?

Leah Hadley: 45:43

I will just say that, regardless of where your financial knowledge is, regardless of what your divorce situation is, if you make the decision that you want to improve the outcome, if you make the decision that you want to optimize your finances, that's the first step, right. And so make that decision and then take that next step and as you take each step, your financial confidence will grow, improve. To yourself. That I share with some of my clients. You know your beliefs become actions and your actions lead to results, right. But, sometimes, when we are in the middle of the divorce, trying to get to that belief is feels impossible.

Karin Nelson: 46:28

So you can borrow my belief.

Leah Hadley: 46:31

You can also just start taking those action steps, and that can help you to build that belief within yourself when you start to see those results. And so sometimes, when we're in this messy middle, we can't wait to have that belief. We have to just start taking those little action steps in order to really start to see the results that we need. And when it comes to financial decisions throughout the divorce process, it can actually impact the rest of your life, and so it is really important that you're getting the advice that you need, that you have good guidance and you feel confident in those decisions.

Karin Nelson: 47:04

Beautiful. I love it. I love and I talk about this on the podcast all the time about just make a decision. You have the knowledge that your decisions are going to be right for you. It is inside of you. You just have to learn to tap into it. But I promise you making a decision and the more you make decisions for yourself, just like Leah said, the more confident you become. I love that. Leah, please tell my audience how they can find you, if they are interested in your services or just wanting to know more about you.

Leah Hadley: 47:32

Thank you. So we have an extensive blog on Great Lakes DFScom. I have put a lot of heart and soul into it because I do think it's really important that people have good financial information throughout the process. So many free resources there. We do free workshops almost every month, so check that out and feel free to sign up for free workshops. I am on Instagram as WatchHerThrive and we also have a free WatchHerThrive Facebook group.

Karin Nelson: 48:03

Amazing and I will have all that information in the show notes. So don't worry audience, if you're listening and you're like I didn't get the right down. Don't worry, it's all in the show notes. You can just go there and click all of the information. It will be right there. Leah, thank you so much for coming and sharing your wealth of knowledge. Again, I think this is going to be so impactful for all of the women who are listening to this podcast and who are going through divorce. I really appreciate your time and your experience and you being willing to share it with us, so thank you so much for being here.

Leah Hadley: 48:31

It has been my absolute pleasure, Karin. Thank you so much for having me.

Karin Nelson: 48:35

Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to KarinNelsonCoaching dot com. That's wwwKARINNELSONCoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.



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