SoloMoms! Talk
March 15, 2022

Empower Yourself Financially When You're Suddenly Single w/Rachael Burns

Rachel Burns is a Certified Financial Planner who helps newly single women achieve financial independence after divorce or death of a spouse. She shares her financial insights as well as the story of her own personal journey navigating my husband’s terminal illness.

Pitfalls for divorced & widowed women:

  • Take a longer view of your financial situation; don't just focus on the here and now.
  • Try to avoid making financial decisions based on your emotions
  • Consider the tax aspects of how assets are split up
  • Take small steps to learn basic financial skills that can help you better manage your money

Connect with Rachael: https://trueworthfp.com

Website: www.solomoms-talk.com

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This podcast is recorded with Riverside.fm


Rachael is passionate about helping women achieve financial independence after the loss of their partner to death or divorce. She is the founder of True Worth Financial Planning, which offers fee-only planning, divorce financial analysis, and investment management tailored to the unique needs of newly single women.

Prior to founding True Worth, Rachael spent 12 years advising affluent families under the top wealth management firms. She is a Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and has an MBA and a masters in personal financial planning.

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Rachael Burns audio

[00:00:00] J. Rosemarie: SoloMoms! Talk was designed to curate the stories of solo moms globally. As a facilitator of this platform, I aim to create a peaceful environment where you can share your heart, feel loved and get the advice you need. So if this sounds like you, why not RSVP for our next virtual meetup? The link is below. Where you can retreat from the chaos of your life.[00:00:26] So you can recharge, connect with other moms. and get answers to your burning questions. Remember you're not alone and you don't have the parents in silence,[00:00:39] My guest today is Rachel Burns and welcome, Rachel. Thank you. [00:00:44] Rachael Burns: Thank you for having[00:00:44] me. [00:00:45] Sure. First, I just want to jump in and say, could you introduce yourself to us and tell us who you are? [00:00:52] Sure. So again, I'm Rachel Burns. I'm a certified financial planner and certified divorce financial analyst. , am [00:01:00] based in Folsom, California, and my firm is called true worth financial planning.[00:01:05] And I work, primarily with, Newly single women who have recently gone through a divorce or the death of a spouse who are looking to regain their financial independence. And so I work with work with women virtually really across the U S I work with people all over the place. [00:01:24] J. Rosemarie: All right. Okay. Thank you.[00:01:26] And is there a personal reason why you started down this road? Is that something you want to share? [00:01:31] Rachael Burns: Yeah. [00:01:31] So, I have been a financial advisor for a long time and I was in kind of the traditional. Wealth management industry, where we really didn't specialize in any particular type of client. But I found that I really enjoyed working with other women.[00:01:47] And I especially enjoyed working with women who were going through some sort of life transition. So I felt like I worked best with women who had just lost their spouse or they were newly divorced. I felt like I [00:02:00] could offer the most help to them. And I felt like it was a more gratifying type of client to work with.[00:02:07] And so I kind of unofficially specialized in women in transition, but, after experiencing some, some things in my personal life, Really identified more with women in transition. So, a few years ago, right. When I found out I was expecting twins, I found out that my husband had brain cancer. And so there was just, it was a really chaotic time trying to prepare for whatever.[00:02:35] We didn't know what was going to happen and trying to prepare financially and all these other things. And so I, at the time I remember feeling. Like, even though we were in this unfortunate situation, I felt fortunate that at least we didn't have to worry about the finances. I obviously. because of my job, I feel very comfortable managing finances.[00:02:55] And also we had done a lot of things to prepare, you know, [00:03:00] we had life insurance, we had disability insurance, we had estate planning documents in place. So we were in a position where finances, weren't something that we had to worry about at that particular time. And I felt like I was really fortunate for that because there were a lot of other people in that situation.[00:03:18] I also had to worry about how is my family going to survive financially through this and how am I going to manage the finances going forward on my own. And so, after that, I, I really, really wanted to work specifically with women in transition. And when I went out on my own as an independent advisor, in 2000, not too bad, 2000 to 2020 2000 was a long time ago.[00:03:44] when I went out on my own, I decided I only wanted to work with women in transition. And so I left my role in the corporate wealth management side, and went independent and I get to choose whoever I work with. And so I only work with [00:04:00] women who are experiencing some sort of. Events. So that's how, that's how I ended up here.[00:04:05] J. Rosemarie: Okay. Well, thanks for sharing that. and I guess there are two things. One is that there are a lot of women who are married or in a relationship and they, they don't pay any attention to the money. Yes. You know, especially those women who are not working outside the home. so I want you to address that.[00:04:27] And, but I also want you to address too, because I worked on wall street and I knew a lot of women who worked in an investment firm and had no clue about money. Yes. And I'm talking about analysts or analyzing people's finances. I knew nothing about personal finance. So if you could address that as well.[00:04:47] So I'm putting a lot on you right now. [00:04:49] Rachael Burns: Sure. [00:04:49] so I'll start, I'll go backwards. So first of all, you can be an expert in investing and economics and all these kinds of big picture [00:05:00] financial concepts, and you can still not have practical, personal financial planning. Experience. Those are two very different things.[00:05:09] So thinking conceptually about the world of finance and then like managing your own day-to-day finances are two very different things. So it's, I do agree with you. There are people who might have some really specialized knowledge in one area, but then they're kind of like clueless in the other area. So, and personal finance is not something that is taught in school.[00:05:31] Generally. It's not something. All families talk to kids about. So personal finance is something that a lot of people really don't have a lot of experience with. They just become adults and they're expected to like, be able to get a credit card and take out loans and save money. And there's no real structured education around that.[00:05:50] So, it's, it's very common that people don't have the type of education that they need in that area. It might. Like it's relatively simple [00:06:00] stuff, but it's not, it's not really easy to learn that stuff. if you're left to your own devices to learn it on your own. so it's not anyone's fault that they weren't taught that, but you do have to go out and find that knowledge yourself.[00:06:13] And then your question before that was about single women who, were not experienced with managing the finances because maybe their spouse did it. So in a relationship it's really common that one person will manage the finances and the other person manages some other part of their life. And that's, that's a normal thing, you know, there's kind of a natural.[00:06:37] Division of labor and relationships. and especially if one person is working and the other person isn't, it's very common that the person that's working might be the one who's saving money or investing it or whatever. And so what happens is the person who's not in charge of the daily finances might get really out of touch with their family's [00:07:00] finances.[00:07:00] And so that might be fine for as long. They have their spouse to do that. But then if something were to ever happen, whether they split up or if someone passed away, or if someone got sick, the person who's not used to being involved in that might be in a really tough spot. When all of a sudden they have no idea where they stand.[00:07:18] They have no idea where things are. They don't know where their accounts are. They don't know what, where they are in terms of savings. And maybe they don't know how to manage finances going forward. And so it's hard. You delegate that responsibility to someone else, but you still, it's still important to have at least a little bit of knowledge of where, where things are just so that you understand your financial situation and that you're able to take over and, you know, understand it well enough to be able to take over in the event that you need to.[00:07:52] Um, cause that's something. It's just, uh, it's, it's not that they're not [00:08:00] capable of doing it. It's just, if you haven't had to do it for so long, then of course you're not going to feel comfortable all of a sudden being in charge of the finances. Yeah. [00:08:11] J. Rosemarie: Um, but, but to the, the advice you would give to someone, you know, currently in a relationship or, you know, have a spouse who are.[00:08:22] You know, the sole manager of the finances. Wouldn't you agree then that the advice would be to get involved in the finances. Let's start discussing. You know, the bank accounts and maybe we do a will together. So we, yeah. What do you, what do you think about that? [00:08:42] Rachael Burns: Yeah, I think, it's important to, it's important to communicate with your partner about the finances.[00:08:48] I mean, it's, both should be on the same page in terms of where they are and what they're trying to achieve with their finances. And if you don't. Feel comfortable or knowledgeable about it. I [00:09:00] would expect, you know, express, Hey, I want to, I want to know what's going on. It's really important that I know what's going on because in the event that I needed to step in and help, I need to know what's going on.[00:09:09] And it's just something that I'm interested in. I mean, really, that should be the family's finances should be an open book and it's important that you know, how things stand because there, you don't want there to be some sort of surprises that you're not aware of, you know? Find out, oh, we actually are in a bunch of debt or, you know, we don't have as much saved as I thought we did.[00:09:29] Those are things that you need to, you need to keep an eye out for and make sure that you stay informed. That's a really important thing to stay on top of. [00:09:37] J. Rosemarie: Yes. Thank you. And what kind of advice do you have for someone who Whether or not, they took care of, you know, they communicated and got involved.[00:09:46] They now find themselves mom, single mom find themselves on their own, whether they're widowed or divorced or just kicked out. [00:09:54] Rachael Burns: Yeah. So if, if they're in this situation where they're unexpectedly single, [00:10:00] and the first thing is to. Really kind of assess the situation. you need to, you need to gather all of your details and figure out what are you working with?[00:10:11] What do you have in terms of assets? What, what types of accounts do you have? What do you have in terms of debt? Do you have credit cards? Do you have a mortgage student loans? Just really figure out what your net worth looks like? You know, your assets minus your. And then to also get a really good idea of what your income looks like. [00:10:28] So if you're working, what your income from your job is, if you have any type of support coming in, you'll want to figure out how much that's going to be. Any other income that you have. You need to know exactly what that's gonna look like, because you're gonna need to make sure that your expenses fit within your new budget because your, your new income.[00:10:49] And your new expenses might look quite a bit different now that you're single than it was when you were married. So you totally have to reassess your budget and, and see if there's anything that needs to be [00:11:00] adjusted, because maybe there's some expenses you might need to cut out, or maybe you're actually in a really good financial situation and you don't need to change your lifestyle, but either way.[00:11:09] To review it and see kind of what things look like. [00:11:13] J. Rosemarie: Right. I mean, whether you have millions are pennies, you need, you need to know how much you know. Right. Okay. Thank you. So shifting gears a little bit, what is Rachel grateful [00:11:25] for today? [00:11:26] I am grateful for my two little boys. I have three and a half year old twin boys and they are.[00:11:33] The happiest, silliest little people and they just make me so happy and so entertained all day long. [00:11:42] That's sweet. All right. And what are some of the pitfalls that divorced and we don't, moms, women should avoid, I would [00:11:51] Rachael Burns: say, with divorce, there's some specific pitfalls. because there's this massive [00:12:00] financial transaction that's happening when you're splitting things.[00:12:03] So that's kind of a separate thing, but the pitfalls that I see with that are. You know, when they're, when they're working on splitting up assets, they might not consider the long-term. They might be thinking about the short term and I want to have access to cash, or I want to keep the family home, or I want to do this.[00:12:20] And they're not thinking about how that looks in the long run with their financial situation, because sometimes what seems like the right thing to do in the long run might not be the best thing for you. And so I think having. Too much of a short-term perspective is it is a pitfall that I see. And also see people make decisions based on emotion, and that happens with widows too.[00:12:42] So, um, there are a lot of major decisions to make when you are newly single, and it's a very emotional time whether you're getting divorced or whether you're you're widowed. And, you still have to make a lot of those decisions, even though it's a really stressful time, [00:13:00] but. It's important to make sure that you're not making decisions based on emotion and not based on the facts because, it can lead you in the wrong direction sometimes.[00:13:11] And sometimes there will make choices that you can't be. They can't be undone later on and, and they might have wished they had done something different. So that's, that's a major pitfall. I would say. taxes, not considering the taxes of certain ways that you can split assets in a divorce. So sometimes you're splitting things up and you want this, but when you figure taxes in, it might be totally unequal. [00:13:36] The split between the two and that's, that's a kind of complicated thing. And that's why it's really good to work with. Tax professional or, or an advisor when you're going through something like that. so those are, those are kind of the top pitfalls that I see. [00:13:49] J. Rosemarie: Right. Okay. Thank you. So I guess the main point in both situations is as much as it's possible is to keep a level head about the [00:14:00] money.[00:14:00] Rachael Burns: Yes, absolutely. And it's hard because especially in a divorce when there's. There could be some anger. There could be some resentment. It's a, it's a very different dynamic than, than when someone passes away. But, I've seen people make decisions because they're trying to take a jab at the other person or because they're, you know, that that can, that can create all sorts of other issues.[00:14:25] so you just want to make sure that you're considering you're looking at the numbers, you're looking at it. Fairly objective standpoint. [00:14:32] J. Rosemarie: Right. Okay. Thank you very much. And how can we get in touch with you if we want to, you know, talk to you and talk about your services as well?[00:14:41] Rachael Burns: Sure. So a good place to go is my website. [00:14:44] It's trueworthfp.com F as in Frank, P as in Paul, on my website, there's buttons all over the. Where you can schedule a free consult. And I really encourage people take advantage of that. you can get a lot of information about my services on my [00:15:00] site, but I'm always happy to get on a call with someone and, and chat with them. [00:15:04] And even if it's not a good fit, I'm perfectly happy to give you some pointers and kind of send you in the right direction. so that's a good way to get ahold of me. And then also I'm on social media. I'm on Instagram. It's true. Worth FP. I'm on Facebook, LinkedIn. So look me up on, on social media and I'm, I'm very active on, on those as well. [00:15:27] So feel free to read it. Okay. [00:15:29] J. Rosemarie: Cool. Okay. And I'll put the link in the show notes so people can connect with you. All right. Thank you. So, one final question. What one piece of advice would you give to a solo mom? struggling financially. [00:15:41] Rachael Burns: I would, encourage her, even if she's not feeling optimistic about her future in terms of her finances. [00:15:49] finances are not simple. It's not a simple thing to, learn and to take control of, but you can make some small efforts [00:16:00] to, to learn some new things and develop the skills that you need in order to manage your own finances successfully. It's not the. Big huge daunting thing. You don't need to be an expert in macro and micro economics and financial markets. [00:16:15] Like the, basics of personal financial management. If you can pick up a couple of concepts, you're going to be in really good shape. And so I encourage people. Don't be afraid to seek out information, you know, go on Google, look up some podcast. Pick up and tips here and there. And you don't have to learn it all at once, but just make an effort to learn what you need to know. [00:16:39] And you're just going to feel so much more confident going forward about your finances. It'll really change your outlook on your future when you feel like you have the financial part under control. [00:16:49] J. Rosemarie: Yeah. They certainly empower you. When you think that at least if you have the head knowledge, right? [00:16:55] Rachael Burns: Yes. [00:16:56] Yeah. To start. Okay. Thank you. Anything else? [00:16:59] [00:17:00] No, I don't [00:17:00] think so. [00:17:00] Okay. Thank you very much, Rachel, for coming and talking to us today. I really appreciate [00:17:06] you. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. [00:17:09] J. Rosemarie: Are you still setting new year's resolutions? Only halfway through January. Or are you struggling to keep up with life? Because it seems you've lost control, sign up for Successful Goal Setting Strategies for Solo Moms. And let me walk you through setting up a plan for your life based on your birthdays, join the waitlist below and put a plan in place. [00:17:36] So you can have joy in the middle of life's chaos. Remember, you're not alone and you don't have to parent in silence.

Rachael BurnsProfile Photo

Rachael Burns

Certified Financial Planner

Rachael is passionate about helping women achieve financial independence after the loss of their partner to death or divorce. She is the founder of True Worth Financial Planning, which offers fee-only planning, divorce financial analysis, and investment management tailored to the unique needs of newly single women.

Prior to founding True Worth, Rachael spent 12 years advising affluent families under the top wealth management firms. She is a Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and has an MBA and a masters in personal financial planning.