Ep 15: Navigating Finances During Divorce – Special Guest Interview with CEO & President of Planning Alternatives Nathan Mersereau


In this episode, Marcy welcomes special guest Nathan Mersereau to discuss the ins and outs of navigating finances and financial planning during divorce. As CEO and President of Planning Alternatives, Nathan offers over 25 years of experience and expertise in the world of financial services and has led the firm to industry recognition by winning the esteemed Schwab Trailblazer award. His firm’s approach to financial management focuses on holistic and objective financial management. Their philosophy is to empower people to live the life they value.


Taking a close, hard look at your financial situation, particularly during a stressful divorce, can be very overwhelming. In this episode, Nathan and Marcy discuss the varying approaches you can take in order to make the smartest and best decisions now in order to keep your financial future on track. Marcy describes Nathan and his team as ‘financial doctors’ helping clients restore the state of their financial health in a way that provides comprehensive wealth management solutions in order to achieve and maintain financial independence. Don’t be a bystander during a time that is critical to your financial future – tune in and take advantage of this free expert advice!

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Navigating Finances During Divorce

Learn more about Nathan Mersereau and the financial services his team provides here: https://www.planningalt.com




Hi, I’m Marcy Hahn. This is Divorce: What to Expect. On today’s episode, we have special guest, Nathan Mersereau. He’s going to provide us with some expert advice from a financial perspective. Nathan is the CEO and president of Planning Alternatives, a wealth management firm. Nathan is a fiduciary fee-only Certified Financial Planner who has led Planning Alternatives to achieve the industry honor of the Schwab Trailblazer Award for his unique approach to financial management. Nathan is a frequent financial expert contributor to USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and other financial news outlet. He is the creator of Day in a Canoe podcast interviewing business leaders. His firm’s approach to financial management focuses on holistic and objective financial management. Their philosophy is to empower people to live the life they value. Originally from Canada, Nathan and his wife live in Birmingham, Michigan; they have two daughters. Welcome, Nathan, and thank you for joining us.



My pleasure, Marcy, good to be with you today.



Thank you. How can someone who’s getting divorced benefit from your approach to financial services?



Well, the process of divorce is intense, as you are well versed in that space, and the area of finances can be unusually burdensome within that process. So the focus that we provide our clients is to build a personal financial plan that is considering your past, but really designed to create an independent future for yourself. And when people think about finances, they can immediately think about money in the bank or money in a 401k. But finances in your financial life is all-encompassing. And that can cover everything from your insurance coverages, life insurance, disability insurance, your estate plan getting updated, looking at your tax situation, now that you’ve gone through a divorce or considering a divorce. And it’s well more than just what’s on a statement and an account value. It really encompasses all the moving parts of your life. And so we help people build a personal and customized plan that’s in their best interest for their future and help them align their financial resources to that.



One of the things I see many clients struggle with going through the divorce process is having a realistic picture of what their finances are going to be after divorce compared to how they were during the marriage. How do you help somebody get realistic about what their financial future looks like? And how do you help educate them so that they can adapt to what the future may bring for them financially?



That’s a great question. A lot of our clients that experienced divorce often don’t have a full understanding before they meet us about what is going on in their financial affairs. They may have delegated to a spouse because their spouse is more interested or equipped to dive into the financial management. So it’s really important to take a personal inventory for yourself. And that first focuses on your cash flow and your cash needs, and making sure that you’re starting to track where money is going. And that can be a tough exercise, especially when you’ve delegated that role to someone else or that you are busy. And now you’re forced to take time to dive into some of these details. But taking a personal inventory is the best first step that I recommend for people that are going through this process. And we provide resources, workbooks online, references to help people start to organize their cash flow, their insurances, their impact to cash flow, their fixed expenses versus the variable expenses. Many times we think about, well here’s what my monthly mortgage payment is. But then we forget about holidays and gift-giving and celebration times that will require more expenditures or a vacation and travel and things like that. So it’s important to map out your cash flow in the short term, intermediate and long term, certainly over a 12-month cycle and consider the things that maybe not are always expected around life stage planning or education cost as an example.


It can really be overwhelming for the person who perhaps chose to be less involved in the finances to have to face this, you know, what probably feels like an overwhelming chapter. So I know that you’ve done a great job of educating the less financially sophisticated party in the context of divorce.



Well, this topic is, sometimes it often has social stigma to it, and people want to believe that they know about their finances, but the reality is that life happens and with multiple obligations and raising a family and following a career track and juggling life-stage issues, like dealing with aging parents, all of these things factor into a compression of time, and we’re limited in time.


I was speaking with a friend of mine last week, who is a CEO of a large corporation, and she is going through the divorce process and said, ‘I hate to admit this, but I don’t know where all my financial affairs stand because I delegated everything to my husband, and he has a background in finance. So he was the gatekeeper.’ And they had been married for a while, so she was starting from ground zero. And we just talked about simple steps to help get organized to help take that inventory and build a list of what the financial buckets are that she needs to be aware of. So it can be from someone who’s a CEO, and you would assume they’ve got everything in order, to all the rest of us that are just navigating life. And we all need to have more attunement to our finances.



Tune in to the episode to hear Nathan’s amazing financial insights.

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