In the second panel of our Get Divorce Savvy series, hosts Stacy Francis and Lisa Zeiderman were joined by Gary B. Rosen, CPA, CFE, CFF, CVA, CGMA, partner in Charge of Forensics Valuation and Litigation Service at Marcum LLP for the NY Region, Karen D. Sparks CDFA™, J.D., founder and owner of Divorce Financial Strategists™ and the Financial Clarity Academy™, and Gaetane C. Michaud MD, Professor of Medicine and Cardiothoracic Surgery; Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine and a divorced mom. The discussion focused on the Statement of Net Worth, a crucial step in preparation for divorce that can feel overwhelming to many. Read below the experts’ key takeaways on this topic.
What is a Statement of Net Worth?
In most states, divorcing couples must complete an affidavit where they describe their entire financial picture, including assets, liabilities, and spending. This affidavit is frequently referred to as a Statement of Net Worth. While the name sounds like this document only includes information about your assets and liabilities, a lot more is included. You must also incorporate a complete and accurate listing of your income and expenses.
Many clients share that filling out the Statement of Net Worth can be overwhelming. However, it is understandable because few people have their pulse on every expense and the value of taxable accounts, retirement, real estate, and debts. Therefore, be sure to start filling out this information as soon as possible.
How to fill out a Statement of Net Worth
To accurately picture your expenses, look at your year-end credit card statements, bank statements, and other bills to create accurate averages. Again, it’s essential to be as precise as possible, and guessing will most likely show the cost of living far below your actual lifestyle expenses.
Also, gather your most recent bank account statements and those for all trusts, brokerage, and retirement accounts. Include any permanent life insurance policies with cash value or employer equity compensation such as stock options, performance stock shares, or restricted stock units. Get copies of all loans, including credit card debt, mortgages, and car loans.
SEE ALSO: Get Divorce Savvy: Creating the Right Checklist
Statement of Net Worth vs. Lifestyle Analysis
A Net Worth Statement which documents your “Net-Worth” is a list of assets and liabilities and ultimate net worth at a particular point in time. Like pictures that go on social media, these can be doctored to make them look better or worse.
A Lifestyle Analysis is like a movie; it shows all the activity which takes place over a period of time. This too can be edited where expenses, similar to scenes, can be altered or cut out entirely.
3 Steps to Thrive Financially After Divorce
The Statement of Net Worth is just one step in your journey towards reorganizing and rebuilding your finances after divorce. Knowledge is everything when it comes to creating your post-divorce financial roadmap. As Karen D. Sparks, CDFA, always says, keep in mind the three P’s:
- Prepare. Gather docs, research and interview professional team members, understand and choose the best divorce approach.
- Plan. Get solid legal and divorce financial analysis advice on what you don’t know and what you think you know. Make sure your team is supporting your objectives and take counsel from them when some of your objectives may not be in your best interests.
- Prosper. Get ready to breathe and live your best life and know that you will receive, earn, invest as you need to become financially secure.
As you embark on your divorce journey you need to have a financial roadmap so you can support yourself financially in your next chapter. If you need guidance or have any financial questions, contact the Savvy Ladies Free Financial Helpline today and get free mentoring from a financial advisor.