The Biggest Financial Mistakes to Avoid During a Divorce

This week, Maggie is chatting with Pam Krueger, the founder and CEO of Wealthramp. In this episode, they talk about the steps you should take and the financial mistakes to avoid, while you’re going through a divorce.

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Pam Krueger is a recognized investor advocate and award-winning personal finance journalist and author. She is the founder and CEO of Wealthramp, an advisor matching platform that connects consumers with rigorously vetted and qualified fee-only financial advisors. It is the only service that gives people full control over when and how they talk to their referred advisors.

Pam is also the creator & co-host of MoneyTrack and Friends Talk Money podcast for PBS Next Avenue. MoneyTrack aired on 250+ public stations on PBS from 2005-2019.

With more than 25 years in investor advocacy, Pam is one of the leading voices on financial literacy and financial empowerment. She’s been the recipient of two Gracie Awards for educating the public about personal investing and finding the right financial advisor, the Financial Educator of the Year Award from the Financial Literacy Institute, and received the 2021 NAPFA’s Special Achievement Award for her contributions in educating consumers on the benefits of working with a highly qualified fee-only financial advisor.

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


TRANSCRIPTION

Maggie Germano 0:05
Hi, and thanks for listening to the money circle podcast. I’m your host, Maggie Germano, and I’m a feminist and a financial writer, speaker, educator and coach for women. I’m passionate about making personal finance less scary and more approachable so that women can improve their relationship with money and take control of their finances. Every other week, I will interview an amazing, inspiring woman to talk about the issues that impact our money, our health, our independence, and more. We will touch on the societal and structural issues that we need to work together to change and the actions that we each have the power to take in our own lives. If you’d like to learn more about me and the work that I do, visit my website at Maggiegermano.com or follow me on Instagram @MaggieGermano. Thanks again for listening and I hope you enjoy.

Maggie Germano 0:55
Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with Pam Krueger, the founder and CEO of wealthramp. In this episode, we talk about the steps you should take and the financial mistakes to avoid while you’re going through a divorce. If you’re married at all, or going through divorce right now, this episode is for you. Enjoy.

Maggie Germano 1:24
Okay, welcome, Pam, thanks so much for being here today.

Pam Krueger 1:27
Thank you, Maggie, I love being here.

Maggie Germano 1:30
And for folks who haven’t heard your past episode with me, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Pam Krueger 1:38
I started my career without really knowing it, Maggie, without realizing it, I really wound up being an investor advocate or consumer advocate when it comes to all things, money investing. So I have started my career, as a lot of people do. I was recruited into the brokerage industry as a broker when I was 24. And I didn’t like it, because it was a sales model. It was it was like, you know, selling investments versus giving advice. And I wanted to get fired, I didn’t get fired, I did everything I could to get fired. I wanted to go to law school. But I got promoted. And when I got promoted, and I was in charge of 60 brokers, and that’s where I really, really learned the business model for providing advice, financial advice and guidance for people would be not coming from the sales side. And that’s why I left that business. And that’s for the rest of my life. So then I became an investor advocate on television, I created and co hosted a television series that was on 255 PBS stations across the country called Money track. And the whole purpose of our program was to help people make save and invest their money smartly using digital tools. And then something funny happened we were we had three seasons of the show John Bogle was a regular people know that name. Warren Buffett’s been on the show. But something funny happened, where I talked a lot about Do It Yourself investing and you don’t need an advisor. In many cases, people our viewers pushed back and said, but Pam, what if I do need help beyond a robo? Or a digital tool? Where do I go? Who do I turn to? And having had that history myself of, you know, really seeing the good, the bad and the ugly. And knowing what’s going on behind the curtain? It was hard for me to imagine that I could actually help people find advisors, because it was kind of the last thing I wanted to do. But then I realized I had to turn the whole thing upside down and help people by saying, Look, don’t focus on the huge percentage of advisors who are salespeople focus on the small number of advisors, the smaller population of financial advisors, who are actually fiduciaries who are not selling anything that actually are just in the advice business. So that’s what I’m doing now, with having created wealth ramp, which is my way of bridging from the consumer who’s looking for an advisor to the right fiduciary advisor who I have rigorously vetted. So that’s the whole story.

Maggie Germano 4:28
Yeah, no, and I love it. And I used wealth ramp to find my own financial advisor. So I’m a big fan. And I like to recommend it to other people who are looking for one as well.

Pam Krueger 4:39
Thank you. And you know, Maggie, you know, I’m never going to tell anyone that they should have an advisor. I’m the person I always say I’m the girl you come to, when you’ve decided that you’re ready to pay a fee to an advisor for advice and guidance, and I’ll help you then You know, help you find the right advisor, but I don’t I don’t believe everybody needs that advisor.

Maggie Germano 5:04
Yeah, I love that I think it’s really important that it’s not like a one size fits all that no matter who you are and what your circumstance is you need to have a financial advisor, and you’re creating the resource for folks that want that and making sure that when they are looking, they’re finding someone who’s reputable, and fee based and all that. So I love that you you have that resource available to everybody. But you’re not, you’re not saying that it’s for everybody.

Pam Krueger 5:31
Yeah, there’s so much education that wraps around, you know, how do you ask for help when you feel like you need it? Because I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t grow up in an environment where we’re learning personal finance. In high school, we should be taught in middle school, let alone High School, little in college. So, you know, it’s no wonder that so many people, by the time they get to be at a certain stage, and things become complex that they say, I need help. And the question is, what kind of help? How much does that help cost? And the most important is, who are you going to listen to?

Maggie Germano 6:08
Yeah, absolutely. I’m with you there. And I think you know, what you were saying of how many, many of us, if not, almost all of us don’t really get a functional financial education over the course of you know, our youth. And so we kind of have to learn by trial and error or just getting thrown into certain circumstances. You just did an event as of this recording yesterday about financial mistakes to avoid during divorce. And I think divorce is one of those scenarios where maybe you never thought you were gonna have to worry about money again. And maybe your your spouse was the one who was handling money, and now you’re getting divorced. And that’s now you’re in a situation where not only are you going to have to manage things on your own later, but you’re going through a really tricky and expensive situation, and emotionally painful, obviously, situation where money is a big part of it. And so I wanted to have you on to talk about this topic, because I know not every most people are not ever planning on getting divorce, but divorce rates, they’re pretty high. I mean, there is a high likelihood of divorce in many marriages. So what are some of the steps that you think women should take when they’re anticipating that a divorce might take place? Like if things are starting to get to a place where they’re thinking that they might file for divorce, or their spouse might file for divorce? What are some steps that you recommend?

Pam Krueger 7:44
Yeah, I think that it’s important that you, we kind of frame it for yourself that, you know, these are not normal times, you know, they’re not normal at all, it’s going to be to all twist, it’s going to be emotional. And just like you said, you know, there’s a big difference. When someone I’m talking to I talked to I talked to our, our clients all the time, people come to wealth ramp and have these issues. And I talk to them like literally on a daily basis. And there’s a big difference between when you’re the one who kind of sees ahead of the of the road, and you’re the one that’s going to plan it, you know, you want to leave. I mean, I was in that situation where I wasn’t married, but I was in long term relationship for six years. And by year three, I was engaged in the engagement kept going on and on and on. And I knew that I didn’t want to go through with it. So I had to decouple, we were living together for six years like marriage. So I knew for me that I knew ahead of time a year, lots of times women do that lots of times women don’t. So when you’re blindsided, this big difference. And when you’re planning in advance, you can take certain steps. So I’ll go through with you, when you’re not planning and you don’t know when you’re blindsided, those same steps apply. But you need to understand that you’ve got to catch your breath. And it’s not like this, just this little task list of things that need to be done. You’ve got to understand that you have to take a breath and figure out you know, these are not normal times.

Pam Krueger 9:09
So first of all, you know, when the anxiety is really high, and you know that stepping into this decoupling of your money, that you’re going to have this brand new burden on you to be able to navigate, and then negotiate. So what I think is important is as it just a basic step to do mentally envision the font, the actual financial life that you and your spouse have built together. Okay, because when you get married, and you’ve been married for any amount of time, I mean, they’ve been living together beforehand. Your financial life takes on a life of its own. And we fall into our own roles and our own habits, which I’ll touch on in a second, but the very first thing is just envision your whole financial life together, what have you built together, and then when you see it in totality, holistically, start to then separate out, what is yours, in my mind, what is ours in my mind, and what is Yours, Mine and Ours, Yours, Mine and Ours together. So then you’re taking basically a full inventory of what each of you has, and what you have brought, you know, to the marriage separate could be separate property. But again, you know, really looking at holistically and saying, first of all, we’ve got real estate. And that means probably mortgage we’re both on, we’ve got 401k IRAs, we’ve got cash in the bank, there’s no judgment here, it’s just the bare facts as best you can, because in order to take the steps to work through your next steps, you first have to know what you have. And that means getting up to date on all of your debts, some people who have fallen into the role of caretaker at home for children, or maybe for aging parents, or both. Sometimes that role has forced you to sort of relinquish all of that, that you might have normally done, but you turned everything over. So maybe it’s been a few years, I talked to people all the time, especially women who say, God, Pam, I signed my tax return. But my husband is the one because he’s he’s kind of more of the breadwinner, I’m at home, I’ve lost sight of our investment accounts. I’m not exactly sure what the balance is on our mortgage. So getting these documents together is the very first step, because you’ve got to know where you stand. And that means taking an inventory. So getting a step of I’ve been ordering your copy of your full credit report, not just your credit score. But your full credit report, this is a document that doesn’t lie, it’s going to just be just the facts of what you have borrowed. And you want to be able to see all of that, you want to take the time to look back and gather, find the last three years of tax returns, you want to get your investment statements together. And yes, you do want to find out credit score on your own as well, you want to see how you look. Because the next step is to start to think of yourself, on your own financially. And so at this point, if your credit score is high enough, and you don’t have a lot of other outstanding debt, then you can consider applying for some credit in your own name. So have you have your own credit card to fall back on and start to think about things separately, you might also do something as practical, as you know, opening a peel box at the post office separate mail. Because if you’re still living at the same address, then it’s really easy for someone you know, for your spouse to pick up your mail, and you don’t want to you don’t want anyone to see that. So get out, get a post office box. I mean, I’m not saying you’re going to set up secret squirrel accounts, and start you know, being undercover about it. But you might want to consider also a safe deposit box to put other things into that are valuable. These are things that are just for you, private, and they’re only for you. So those are a couple of practical steps about how to get started thinking about how to go about this.

Maggie Germano 13:40
Yeah, that’s really good advice. I think I mean, and I hear this kind of thing a lot of it’s it’s like a data gathering exercise of pulling that information, especially if you were not working or you’re not the one kind of managing the money in the household just really understanding the finances of things because the money piece it’s a big part of it in divorce, right of like knowing what there is and, and who has what and who’s entitled to what if you don’t know what’s there and what you’re entitled to, you’re not gonna be able to actually asked for it in a divorce.

Pam Krueger 14:14
Exactly, you have to, it’s just going to strengthen you and also it does something else, Maggie, it sets you up for success, to work with your attorney, and to figure out if you need anybody else involved on your team, if you will, as an advocate, because you can’t speak to them clearly. It’s gonna cost you a lot more money. If you make them go have to find all this stuff. You’re paying them hundreds of dollars by the hour to go do it. And plus, it’s just there’s something very empowering about you going and finding all this out yourself, especially if you’ve been away from it for a long time and you step back in and then that puts you in a better negotiating position because you’re stronger because it’s not just somebody feeding you. It’s you going out and actually pulling it all together yourself.

Maggie Germano 15:02
Yeah, no, that’s a really, really good point. So you mentioned that obviously, not everyone is aware that a divorce is coming, you might think that things are fine. And your spouse has other ideas. And so there are people that are going to be kind of blindsided when it comes to divorce. So in that circumstance, or in just kind of trying to protect yourselves in that kind of potential circumstance, is there anything that women can be doing while they’re still within their marriage in order to protect themselves in the event of a divorce in the future?

Pam Krueger 15:39
Yeah, let’s draw a scenario where you’re the stay at home mom, and you’ve been checked out from the investment decisions from all of the financial big money, decisions, everything, and you, you haven’t had your head in that game. Let’s say that your spouse, your husband, your partner, you know, you don’t even realize that he has a pension and valuable benefits, you’re finding out that you are on the road suddenly, to breaking up. And the very first thing I would suggest in that particular scenario, is figure out who’s going to be on your team, depending upon your budget. But also, don’t assume that having a financial advocate, in addition to your attorney is going to break your budget, it actually might help your budget, because that person is there to save you time and money. Here’s Maggie, where I would call for help, I’d hit the call for help button. And this is where I would consider bringing in what I call, you know, a financial advisor, specialist in divorce. Now, it’s really important to understand, you can’t just Google that and go find just anybody. Because there are advisors out there who have a credential, the certified divorce financial analyst. And that sounds like oh, great, that’s what I need. But let me tell you, there are so many differences between them. So what you would want to consider is looking for, you know, an advisor, or planner, who can come in and be your advocate your hand on your shoulder, as you’ve gathered all your information, and you’re dealing with, with the stress and anxiety of shock, to help you really uncouple and really figure out where the valuable assets are. Because the attorney is not going to do this. Depending upon your attorney, they’re going to be great. And you know, hopefully you have a really good one who’s very caring, but they’re not going to they’re not going to be able to have the time to do this because they’re focused on the proceedings. They’re focused on the other side, they’re focused on on the the advocate you have on the financial side, a planner is someone you come in and you pay a fee, and they walk you through the steps so that you don’t miss anything. And so if you’re really truly blindsided, then I do think that you know, reaching out for that kind of help, because you don’t want to miss the bit. You don’t want to make the biggest money mistakes when it comes to getting divorced, because there are some big ones.

Maggie Germano 18:15
Yeah, and what are some of those big money mistakes that should be avoided during divorce,

Pam Krueger 18:20
there’s three really huge, expensive mistakes. I take it back, there’s probably 100. But there’s three that are like to me, the most expensive, the biggest ones that could really take the wind out of your sails. And that is number one, believe it or not being so emotionally attached to your home. And wanting that house because you want to stay there, your kids are there you are there, damn it, I’m going to fight for the house no matter what. And all the while you’re fighting for the house, you’ve missed the fact that your husband’s stock options, employee stock options at work are worth twice that of what the value of the house because they downplay it. And unless you have a financial advocate or unless you yourself are capable of really looking at that and understanding that you you’re going to miss that. And so this is when you have to step back from the home and see it as a house. It’s an asset. And if you really truly pulling everything apart, you’re going to have to look at it on emotionally as best you can and say what’s going to be best for the next 2530 years of my life. I love this house, but is that going to take care of me for the rest of my life? Versus if I cash out and I get half of the this instead. And then I could buy another house and I have money in my savings account that can carry me through. So the biggest biggest biggest mistake I see is getting so attached to what we build LEED is our biggest asset, when it turns out, it’s really not.

Maggie Germano 20:04
That’s a really good point. Because I think I mean, I have not been divorced. And I’ve only kind of witnessed divorce like from the outside. But I can see how, especially if maybe you are a stay at home parent, and you want your kids to have that same normal space, and you want to keep that home and, you know, you’ve you’ve probably put a lot of heart and soul into the home, I could see how that would be so emotional, and how you would just be like that, I just want to make sure that I get this in the divorce. But a house doesn’t pay the bills on its own a house, you know, still has many, many expenses, whether it’s taxes and home improvement, and whatever else might happen with that. And like you said, if you just get the house and you don’t have cash in the bank, you’re gonna end up in a precarious situation. So I think that’s a really good thing to remember.

Pam Krueger 20:56
Yeah, so this the second mistake, that’s, that’s pretty much equal to that, depending upon your situation is, remember, we talked about knowing what the debts are, right? Knowing you know, how much credit card debt and getting a credit card in your name, perhaps and understanding what you owe together, and what’s in your name, and what isn’t, and all those legal things, you’ve got to make sure that you close all of your credit accounts and all of your debt accounts. You know, once everything is finalized, the mortgage is all of all of the car loans, everything. Because during that time, let’s say for example, your ex spouse goes into bankruptcy, if you haven’t separated all of that, you’re on the hook. And I’ll tell you a story that I have with a friend who talked about the fact that her divorce was so friendly, and really collaborative, and you know, they used mediator, and at the end of it, you know, they liked each other so much. They’re still friends, they co parent. And he said to her, you know, can we just keep this one credit card open? Because we’re going to, you know, establish, you know, keep just keep this one open? And she said yes, sure. You know, I’ve been with you for years, you know, I know is your, so she trusted him. And what happened next is that over the next couple of years, he tried to start a business, and then tried to start another one. And guess where he was borrowing the money from super high credit limit on the on the credit card that she didn’t close. And now she looks back on it. Now they’re not even speaking to each other. And it could have all been avoided just by closing it out. So it doesn’t mean you’re being mean. And it doesn’t mean you’re being stingy. You’re just you got to be real. You got to say if we’re not married, and we’re not together, then then we have no business having joint credit.

Maggie Germano 22:54
Yeah, yeah. So you’re specifically saying any accounts or any debts that are joint where both of you are on it together? Those are the ones that you would make sure you need to close?

Pam Krueger 23:05
Yeah, because unless you want to be on the hook. If you want to be on the hook, and your husband, your ex husband is now off married to somebody else and doing other things. Hey, you know, then you you’re on the hook for whatever he’s doing in his new life.

Maggie Germano 23:19
Yeah, that does not sound pleasant, on an emotional level, but also obviously financially, too, if you are then going to be responsible to be paying off that debt that they’ve accrued, right?

Pam Krueger 23:31
These these are the things that I’m pointing out that are like huge, kind of, you know, warning, don’t do this, because there’s no upside. There’s only downside.

Maggie Germano 23:44
Yeah, now that makes a lot of sense. And so what’s the last the third mistake, you want people to avoid?

Pam Krueger 23:50
The Big Three? Okay, the third one doesn’t cost a thing. The third one will cost you plenty if you don’t do it. Can you imagine you’ve gone through the divorce proceedings, and you’ve gotten your divorce settlement agreement. It’s all been negotiated. And it’s this big document. And it also might have a quadro, which is a court legal document that talks about how your 401 k’s are split and so forth. And in that document, you’re so you’re so elated to be over with you just stored away in your bedroom nightstand drawer, never to be seen again, you never want to think about it again. But your attorney is not going to stay with you. And remind you and call you and say, Maggie, it’s been six months since the divorce Did you remember to fulfill the instructions that you had a deadline to fulfill in the settlement agreement. And you also have the 401k administrator hasn’t yet released the funds. And that’s because you did didn’t comply with some stupid little rule or instruction that you were supposed to follow through on. And you’re saying, I thought my attorney was going to do that? No, your attorney is long gone, you’ve paid the bill, this is on you. So you don’t want to just stick that settlement agreement away, and not review it. And make sure that you’ve yellow highlighted to put on the calendar, your really important deadlines, especially when it comes to division, kids, I mean, you can it all kinds of things can happen where the court could come back and say you missed your deadline, your your ex, your ex is going to say you missed a really important deadline. And you did. And trying to undo that is crazy. So you just want to make sure that you yellow, highlight the important deadlines, do it with your attorney before you say goodbye to your attorney, or if you’re working with a financial advocate, advisor, like that yellow highlight what’s in there. So those are the those are three things that are really clear, and doable, that are game changers, in terms of the trajectory of what happens going forward.

Maggie Germano 26:09
Thank you. Now those and those are super helpful, because it’s, it’s pretty measurable like you can like these are obvious in terms of like how to avoid these kinds of mistakes. And I mean, when there are when there is a lot going on, and a lot of emotion. And just, it’s a lot of stress, I’m sure during a divorce, it can be easy to kind of forget all the nitty gritty. But just like having these top three kind of in mind, I think will be really helpful.

Pam Krueger 26:40
Because you have way too many things swirling around in your head competing for first place. So you know, somehow some way just being able to say, yellow posted on the wall, just make sure you don’t do this and that you do do this to avoid that. And just those three things alone will help.

Maggie Germano 26:59
Thank you. Yeah, agreed. And so you mentioned I mean, we’ve talked a couple times about like, in certain scenarios where there is a potential stay at home parent or a caretaker of you know, of other family members who’s not bringing in their own income, what should stay at home spouses or the non working spouses keep in mind when it comes to divorce?

Pam Krueger 27:22
Yeah, and I think it’s, it’s unthinkable, you know, to plan for that, what if, when you’re married, you just can’t, your mind just can’t go there. You can’t think about your marriage crumbling, you know, especially when you’re the one at home that’s taking care of everybody’s well being. So again, this is where you are going to put yourself in a much stronger position in your marriage, especially if there’s ever in the event of what if there is a divorce, if you stay involved with your finances, I know that sounds about as much fun as eat your peas and carrots. But staying involved in the finances is power. Knowledge is power, you will not have to play an insane game of catch up and try to figure out and learn where everything is and how everything works later, the more years that pile on, when you’ve settled into that role of deferring decisions, the more it becomes ingrained. You know, you have passwords, your husband has passwords. Everything can become over the years, even more separated during your marriage, because one is assuming one role. And it’s a very dominant role. And the other is relinquishing that role and saying, oh good, you do it. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be burdened with having to do that. Thank God, you’re doing it. But what you’re doing is you’re putting yourself in a completely dependent situation. So what I like to say is picture yourself driving in a car. Okay, maybe it is your spouse, or your partner, your husband who’s driving the car. But are you in the passenger seat watching out the windshield so you can see what’s going on and maybe even be a little bit of a backseat driver? Or are you completely not even in the car. You don’t have to be at the wheel. But you have to be in the passenger seat, because that’s what will cost you a fortune. Because you can’t play catch up if you’re blindsided and a divorce is coming. So that’s why it’s just really good while you’re married, agree that you’re going to let go of, you know, a lot of decisions because let’s say that he works in financial services industry knows a lot more than you think you know. But still, you want to you want to pick up knowledge as you go and you want to learn as you go because knowledge is power when it comes to money.

Maggie Germano 29:57
I agree with you and I love that analogy. used about being in the passenger seat and at least being along for the drive in terms of the finances and being aware of what’s going on, because not everyone takes or has like, their strength related to financial management. And so I think, you know, you don’t have to be equal in terms of how you’re managing the money. But I think being equal in terms of having that information and understanding what’s where, and how everything is kind of working and moving is super important. I think that was a good analogy.

Pam Krueger 30:31
Thanks. Well, yeah, having the having the access. But I’m also going to point out, it’s interesting over the years, something that I’ve learned just through experience, I rarely see couples really successful couples with money where they both know what’s going on, but I rarely see it, where they’re both like the CO CFOs of their life, and they have equal now in real world, you know, it’s like divide and conquer. But the best, best best marriages, financially, are where they do talk about it. And they respect that they have differences in philosophy about their investment strategies, and they handle that, and you do it as you go along. It, don’t wait until one day to have the big money talk, you talk a little have little money talks all along the way, don’t be afraid of the topic. And you know, if you do feel like you’re anxious and afraid of the topic, then you know, address that, you know, and figure out why. Why am I feeling intimidated? Why am I feeling anxious about talking about money? It’s natural.

Maggie Germano 31:35
Yeah, I agree. It’s not always an easy topic. Um, so earlier, you mentioned obviously, if you’re going through divorce, you need an attorney. You mentioned the financial advisor, advocate, are there any other experts that you recommend folks seek out if they’re struggling during this divorce,

Pam Krueger 31:55
you can think of it as a continuum of help, right? So on let’s say, it’s a scale of one to four. On the low end of the scale, you might need as little as you know, just someone to go to, to pay for a few hours of a workshop and counseling, you know, coaching, not even necessarily from a certified or, you know, a designated financial advisor, but just someone who’s been through it, practically speaking, that can help you, then you might look at the different types of financial advisors who do offer these services. And again, it’s a range. So on the lower end, it might be somebody who can help you by the hour, you know, who has worked with divorce and couples before. Or it could be all the way up through someone who is a divorce specialist, who really steps in, and really works with the mediator, the attorneys. And they are, they’re getting close to being very forensic. And then at the number four level of help, you’ve got your attorney, and we’re talking about the financial side of things, you might consider hiring a forensic CPA. If your financial advocate advisor says, Hey, this is really complex, he owns a business. And he’s got accounts in the Cayman Islands. Now, we’re talking Ozark lawful, hiding money. And you’re not going to become a CIA agent overnight. But you might have to hire that number four on the scale, which is the forensic person who comes in and goes, I got this, this is what I specialize in, I find accounts that you don’t know about. So obviously, it depends on you, it depends on your situation depends on your husband and the amount of money you have. But there’s help along the way, she does have your handheld to have somebody step in and guide you, or to have somebody actually take over and come in and, you know, really come in as an investigator.

Maggie Germano 33:56
That’s great. And it’s great to know that people like that exists so that if there is a really complex situation, or you do suspect your spouse is hiding money from you, and you want to have that fair shot at that split, it’s good to know that those people exist to help you through it so that you’re not kind of all on your own and in that. And so is there anything else that we haven’t touched on yet that you want to make sure that folks know and take away from this conversation today?

Pam Krueger 34:24
The one thing that I will leave you with is with respect to what I do and what I’ve come to really specialize in, is helping people identify the right type of advisor because we just talked about the continuum of help that you can go and read and reach for, you know, unfortunately, Maggie, Financial Services and Financial advices in industry, it’s not a profession. And it’s really hard for people who don’t know the lay of the land to screen through the different types of advisors who are out there. And first off eliminate, you know, the ones who are selling things because That’s not advice. And then what’s left is figuring out what who is the right type of expert, and who can help me for what I want. So, you know, when I built wealth ramp.com, it was to build a bridge between the consumer looking for the type of help with their money they need, and the right type of financial planner, or the right type of expert. And in this particular case, when you’re talking about couples and money, or you’re talking about divorce, it’s a real specialization, it’s not general. So therefore, you really need to have a vetted professional, who, you know, has the right credentials, right experience, you know, and really is the right fit for you. And that’s what’s important to me, because people are relying on me to help them meet, you know, at least two or three, that they can choose from an interview. And then I like to help people with the interview questions so that they can feel competent, because the whole point of this is to have peace of mind.

Maggie Germano 35:59
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we need peace of mind when it comes to money, generally. But then when you’re going through a divorce, or some other difficult scenario, where you really need someone to help support you and you’re paying, you’re hiring someone to support you, you want to make sure that you can trust them, and that they actually have the expertise and have your best interests at heart.

Pam Krueger 36:22
Precisely, I mean, you can hear many advisors who want to one of the many vetting questions that I want to know about that advisor is how many clients you’re comfortable with at any one time balancing, you know, when you go to a brokerage firm or insurance company, you’re an account, that’s fine, they just want to bring in more accounts, when you’re dealing with an individual advisor at it at a independent fiduciary advisory firm, I need to know how many clients do you have per advisor? And for you, in particular, how many do you feel comfortable with, and the best advisors are going to keep the number of clients, you know, at a very reasonable level, and not try to grow too fast, because they know they care deeply about each client. And they need to be available so that you can call them on a weekend, or whatever it might be, and they need to be able to respond.

Maggie Germano 37:17
That’s a really good point. I think that that’s such an important piece of that. And so how can folks find out more about you are find wealth ramp out there? Where can they get in touch with you?

Pam Krueger 37:29
It’s our website is wealthramp.com, like ramp up your wealth, wealthramp.com, you come in, you answer my questions, I will then present you with the advisors. And guess what, I do something that may again, I’ve never even heard of any other words I do, which is I don’t share our users information with the advisors or anybody. And I certainly don’t sell it. So we respect privacy, that means that when you come to me, you have to be the one to initiate the contact with the adviser. And you can do that right on the website by clicking a button. But I’m not going to share your information with anybody. It’s all private.

Maggie Germano 38:08
That’s so good to hear. And because I know that there’s you can go on a website and type your name in for like a downloadable and then suddenly you’re getting 18 emails from them a week and not sure who is getting your information from there. So for a financial, you know, advisor platform where you’re you’re looking for somebody to trust, I think it’s even more important to make sure that your information is not being given away, you’re not going to get inundated by the advisor that you did not choose that you got matched with. I love to hear that.

Pam Krueger 38:42
Yeah, it’s I, you know, I don’t want to sound like I’m painting a negative picture of this industry, but I am. And I will, because it’s true. The there are platforms out there that you’ll see advertised everywhere. That will give you the names of advisors, and all you have to do is give them your phone number and all your info. And what happens is they turn around and they sell it and your your phone starts ringing off the wall. And your email comes in like a clown car have in your inbox. And you look at you even if you took the time to look at them, you’d realize, Wow, this is not a match. This is this is a sales lead.

Maggie Germano 39:21
Yeah, absolutely. And like I said, I found my financial advisor through wealth ramp and they’ve been a great fit. And I’ve really enjoyed my time with them. So I’m always recommending folks who are looking for a financial advisor to use your platform. And I’m happy to have had you on here again to talk about obviously a not super happy topic, but one that a lot of people go through. So thank you for sharing your expertise.

Pam Krueger 39:46
Yeah, absolutely. And I look forward to talking to you again.

Maggie Germano 39:49
Me too. Thank you. Alright, stay well, you too. Thanks again for listening to the money circle podcast. If you want to learn more about my financial goals. matching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit Maggiegermano.com. To get in touch with me directly email me at [email protected] You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye