#119: Frankness with Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Victoria Lowell

In 2018, UBS Financial Service published a report which shows that millennial women abdicate their money more than the previous generation, potentially having a negative effect on their retirement funds and future life plans.

To Vicky Lowell, this problem is merely a symptom of a prevailing narrative… that men are better than women when it comes to financial matters. This does not only negatively impact a woman’s personal finances, but where finances are involved, it also affects a woman’s career choice, relationships, confidence, and life decisions. 

This is why Vicky began Empowered Worth, a platform that empowers women to take charge of their finances and be more proactive in financial planning. And in this episode, Vicky enlightens us on how we can better plan for our personal finances and how we can become financially secure during our marriage, cohabitation, and even after a divorce.

Vicky also talks about the importance of transparency between couples when it comes to finances and how your financial situation can affect your relationship in the long run.

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Highlights:

  • Vicky’s money story began during childhood. Her mom was a great budgeter, she was also uninvolved in the long-term financial planning process while Vicky’s dad was a great provider, however, his alcoholism caused them to have financial difficulties.
  • Eventually, Vicky married a great guy who was also a great provider and she quit her work because she felt guilty for working. Vicky realized that she was repeating her childhood pattern where the woman was largely uninvolved with financial planning, and all the financial responsibilities land on the husband.
  • The 2008 Financial Crisis was the wake-up call Vicky needed, prompting her to re-enter the workforce as a financial adviser so she could contribute to their household income.
  • As an adviser, Vicky discovered that many women step back and avoid or fear their power in finances and in their careers, prompting her to write the book, Empower Your Worth.
  • Vicky shares an interesting report from UBS Financial Service which shows that millennial women are actually abdicating their wealth more than their mothers. This is due to the fact that millennials have become more bank-averse since they went through the 2008 market crash, and so they save money and use it to live life now as part of the Financially Independent, Retire Early (F.I.R.E.) mindset prevalent among millennial which she says could negatively affect their retirement funds if they don’t plan it carefully.
  • Women are often financially disadvantaged after a divorce due to being stay-at-home moms for some or all of their married life.  Women are most likely to take the career setback of the unpaid familial work.  Vicky shares some steps on how you can be financially secure and independent even after going through a divorce.
  • Vicky also talks about the benefits of getting a prenup for those who are planning to get married, and why cohabitation may be a better option than marriage.
  • For Vicky, transparency and honesty are two of the most important things in marriage. She believes that if your partner cannot be honest about his or her financial situation, then you have to think twice before marrying that person and/or commingling your assets.
  • Lastly, Vicky shares her tips on how to financially thrive during the COVID-19 crisis.

Life Lessons:

  1. Problems and lies are like pregnancies — you can hide it for a little while but eventually, you’re going to have to give birth.
  2. No one is responsible for your happiness but you.
  3. Don’t let anybody write your narrative.

Quotes:

“Why don’t women get involved [in their family’s finances]? It's a lack of confidence.” (Vicky)

“Before getting married talk about what you’re coming in with; be clear about how you want to handle it if and when you have kids, what you’re going to do if the marriage doesn’t work out, and put it in the form of a prenup. Or don’t get married! Keep your finances separate, and have agreement about how you’re going to share the expenses.” (Lisa, reiterating Vicky’s point)

“If you’re in a situation where your partner says, “I don’t believe in prenups,” — which happens quite a bit — then don’t get married. Keep it all separate.” (Vicky)

“Financial infidelity hurts more than if you were to go find a one-night stand.” (Vicky)

“I’ve learned as a child of an alcoholic that you have to be very true. You can’t live in a world of lies.” (Vicky)

Also mentioned in this Episode:

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