Money sure can make things complicated.
Oh boy, can money make life miserable sometimes…
From marital splits, to unexpected health issues to retirement and beyond, it’s all too common for life events to affect plans for your future and to ratchet up the stress and tension in any season of life.
My name is Tracy, and money matters are my forte. I help individuals, couples and families untangle complex financial matters to help all parties peacefully and successfully reach their goals.
Maybe you’re going through a divorce and have no clue how to sort through the sticky mess of splitting finances. Maybe your loved one has been diagnosed with an unexpected serious health condition that threatens to derail your financial future. A CPA can be your best friend and a tremendous asset – and trust me, nobody wants to walk alone through either of those scenarios.
Don’t let money be your downfall. I urge you to browse this website, read through a few articles and then reach out with questions. No matter in what season of life you might find yourself, let’s come up with a strategy to keep you moving toward your goals.
So Tracy, what is it that you do exactly?
It’s my goal to unravel, understand and unpack money’s impact on your life and ambitions when you are facing a serious life transition. Whether you are looking at a divorce or have a sudden serious health issue in your family, I work with you to get a detailed picture of your finances, devise a plan to help you reach your goals and work with you to explain the dollars, cents and decisions involved along the way.
Through every season of life, you’ll find yourself at a financial crossroads – and the cost of a wrong turn could come with a few extra zeros. I can help you traverse financial issues through divorce, retirement, later-life planning and financial forensics.
Regardless of how you feel about it, there are plenty of options open to you when dividing your property. To come up with them, you have to be creative and have seen a wide variety of property division scenarios. That’s me. I do that well because I don’t have a dog in your hunt. You, however, have pre-existing ideas of what you simply must have. The key to getting an agreement (instead of asking the judge to dictate your property division) is to come up with alternative ways to get you what you must have while meeting some of your soon-to-be-ex spouse’s must haves. Everybody gets some of what they want. Nobody gets everything they want.
Cash flow advice
Most people in divorce are so mentally and emotionally stretched that they focus on the short-term cash flow. I’m thinking this is a psychological issue, but the hows and whys of brain function is not in my wheelhouse. So, I focus on your short-term and your long-term financial security so you can take care of today’s needs and tomorrow’s wants.
Financial planning for those with chronic or terminal illness
When people are diagnosed with chronic or terminal illness, their focus moves from long-term to short-term. We need to give careful consideration to the short-term cash needs and the additional costs of care that were not in the financial plan, if there was one. Planning includes making contingency plans in case the well-partner can no longer provide care to the ill-partner. Who will take over that role? How will you find the funds to pay for the unexpected health care costs that are not fully covered fully by your health insurance? Additionally, what plans need to be made for the family’s financial situation going forward? These situations call for revising estate plans quickly. The revisions must be made before the ill-partner has lost the legal capacity to authorize these changes. Financial planners are most effective when working hand-in-hand with an estate planning attorney who is also experienced with elder law issues.
Funds to cover care needs
The family will need to know how all the expenses will be covered. Has the ill-partner been contributing to the cash flow? Will the family income drop due to the new situation? There are numerous possible sources on funds to help with the care costs. A few include Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and various kinds of insurance, not limited to health insurance, that are already in place. The health care professionals and the family members will benefit from understanding the possible source of funds as it relates to covering the cost of care as well as deciding on the kinds of care that are available within the limitations of the available funding.
Elders with dementia are susceptible to financial abuse, which is often accompanied by physical and emotional abuse. Steps should be taken before a person’s cognitive skills are diminished. Prevention is key and there are ways to put this into effect.
Identifying separate property — property
You want this service if one or both of you have or had separate property. The phrase for this is tracing. Like all parts of divorce and estate administration, the state laws apply to the rules of tracing. Therefore, I only do tracing for Texas divorces and estates. Tracing involves intense details and historical documents. That means your homework is usually massive, my work is time consuming and my fees are high. There are no shortcuts. We gather all the old documents you can find before we try to merely apply reasonable-person concepts. Thoroughness rules here. It’s a bummer, but that’s how the law works. It might be easy, but that is rarely the situation. I will not sugar coat this.
Identifying separate property — real-estate and other types of property
Developing a report
This is where I document my findings and conclusions. I need to be sure my report is complete and well written. This takes time and is worth the cost. Clear communication is key. The attorneys and perhaps a judge will read the report. This is the same but different as identifying separate property money. I’ll just talk about real estate here … We still need all those account statements, but we also need real estate and mortgage documents. Maybe you owned the real estate before marriage, refinanced it after marriage and paid monthly mortgage payments with joint account checks. We need to follow the money transaction by transaction. We need to identify if you mixed in community property with the separate property by using community property to pay down the mortgage principal.
Things to know while browsing this website.
Tip #1: You save money by hiring a professional.
Sure, mistakes can be life’s best lessons… but do you really want to have one of those lessons – when it has a price tag with a few zeros after it?
Contrary to popular belief, you’re going to come out ahead when you enlist the support of a professional to help you traverse complicated situations – like financial matters.
Yes, it costs money to work with a financial professional when you’re going through a divorce or accounting for your later years. But isn’t that less expensive than paying to clean up big ouches and uh-ohs if you make a mistake doing it yourself?
Tip #2: Your other professionals don’t know money like I do.
Your inner circle is a sharp one. You have professionals for just about everything – and you get sage advice any time life throws you a curve ball.
But as wise as they all may be, they don’t know money like a CPA does. They can give you their best perspective on money matters for divorce, retirement and your later-life needs, but you need more than guesswork when it comes to your financial assets.
My best advice: Retain the counsel of a savvy CPA who knows how to prepare you for various seasons of life. You’ll be glad to have someone like that in your corner, I promise.
Tip #3: You get what you give.
In my time with clients, I’ve seen the best success when they are invested in the process. “Homework” is a part of the process, and being prepared helps us all save time, energy and money.
If you work with a financial professional, make sure you do the work necessary to get the outcome you desire. Provide the info needed by your professional, locate data pertinent to your situation and be an active participant along the way. Do this, and I promise the process will be smoother and much more effective.
Popular posts from my blog.
- The top 3 money mistakes women make in a divorce (according to a financial planner)
- 3 most common questions about divorce and retirement
- 5 steps to sorting out the financial side of chronic illness
- 5 ideas for paying long-term care bills
- Aging parents and money: 3 ways to strike the right balance
- Your elder care dream team
What others are saying about me.
“I needed intelligent, highly-trained and experienced, rational financial consulting to enable me to make informed decisions about the divorce settlement. Tracy provided perfectly all the above requirements. Yes, she’s personable (she’s delightful!), but more than being a warm person who cares, she’s a thinking person who calculates. The future is inviting where it used to be frightening.” — S.A.
“Tracy is extremely professional in her presentation. She treats me with dignity and respect, never demeaning me because I have minimal knowledge of financial issues. She addresses my concerns and issues with empathy, while remaining impartial.” — L.M.
“Thank you so very much… I couldn’t have done this without you. I will never forget your support…to help me get through this. You and your team are simply the BEST and I am forever grateful.” — S.M.