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4 Tips to Help Women Prepare for and Survive the Financial Impact of a Divorce by Kathleen Marteney, CRPC

Posted on April 13, 2017

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA), women are more likely than men to exhibit “positive financial behaviors” following a divorce, despite a similar deterioration in spending habits post-divorce among both sexes.


After a marriage is dissolved, women were found to be twice as likely as men to seek out employment and increase retirement savings, and 14 times more likely to seek out financial advice.  While this is good news, it does not necessarily mean that women are prepared in advance for the impact a potential divorce could have on their financial lives. Many do not have an accurate picture of their families’ pre-divorce finances nor do they have a monetary safety net to help them move on or start over. This may be true regardless of whether or not there is a prenuptial agreement in place at the time of divorce.


While couples should expect a likely change in their individual financial circumstances following a divorce, there is no reason that women should be left in dire financial straits. Following are four tips for women to consider, whether they are planning to get married or are already betrothed.


  1. Get to Know Your Family’s Finances.  Do you know about every source of your family’s income and all of the accounts that hold family assets, such as bank accounts, brokerage and investment accounts, trusts, retirement savings accounts and life insurance policies?  Does your spouse have any debt for which you may be personally liable? Women should regularly inventory family assets, assess monthly income and expenses and maintain up-to-date financial records.
  2. Establish a Personal Emergency Fund. Many families understand the importance of having a stash of cash saved up to pay for life’s unexpected events, whether it be a car in need of minor repair, an appliance on its last legs or the loss of a job.  This rule applies equally to individual spouses within a marriage, who should aim to have three- to- six-months of living expenses set aside to help them stay afloat in the event of a future separation.
  3. Save for Retirement. Working women who have access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement should consider maxing out their annual pre-tax contributions. When a 401(k) is not available, women may open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that can allow them to set aside money to help provide them with a potential income stream during retirement.
  4. Get Professional Help. Financial advisors are well-equipped to help individuals assess their short- and long-term goals and put into place appropriate strategies to preserve assets and children’s interests before a potential divorce. This may include establishing an estate plan with wills and/or trusts, maximizing retirement savings opportunities and even helping to budget for an uncertain future.


About the Author: Kathleen Marteney, CRPC®, is a financial planner with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an independent firm affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. She can be reached at 800-737-8804 or via email at


Provenance Wealth Advisors, 200 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami FL 33131 (305) 379-8888.

Kathleen Marteney is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.


Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants. This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. You should discuss any tax and legal matters with the appropriate professionals. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors.

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