Do you know someone who is facing, or has gone through, a significant financial life event? Often, these events can be very unexpected, such as the sudden death of a spouse, an unexpected divorce, or maybe even a lottery win. The one thing that is certain about life is its unpredictability. My guest here today is Joelle Hinds. She’s going to talk with us about how people can prepare for some of the unexpected events in life. Joelle is a certified financial planner, and she’s also a certified divorce financial analyst.
She works with people who are considering divorce or in the middle of a divorce and, oftentimes, she will work as a financial neutral in a collaborative divorce. Joelle’s here today to talk with us about her own life experiences when things turned upside down for her and how she overcame those and how she’s committed to helping others every day overcome those types of events.
What was your significant financial life event?
Joelle, I just want to first say thank you for coming and being here today, and I’m really excited to talk with you.
I am too, Jennifer.
All right. You haven’t always been a financial planner.
I want to just start off by asking you, how did you enter into this role?
I am an engineer by training and I truly fell into the role. I was working on a project, a technology implementation project, for a wirehouse. That gave me an opportunity to interact with financial professionals. When I was going through my own life event of a divorce, I had to make a decision of working in a different environment that wouldn’t have travel involved. Transitioning to the financial side just seemed opportunistic at that time. That’s what I did. I did not always start with the desire for a financial profession, but that’s where I am now.
I want to go back and just talk a little bit, because you mentioned your own divorce, and so how has that inspired you in the work that you’re doing as a financial planner these days?
That is my motivation. I had experiences that I felt were avoidable that I want to now help others avoid. The work I do now is truly from that experience.
Did you have a financial planner that you were working with in your divorce?
I did not. That is someone who I wish I’d had interaction. I feel that if you are an educated person, people make assumptions that you know things and you really may not. Also, I’ve never been through a divorce before, so it’s a new experience. If someone had told me, my legal advocate, if they had expressed the desire, encouraged me to interact with a financial professional, it would’ve been such a big difference. One, for financial education, just understanding what assets are in the classification, and with regard to property division and ownership. If I had known certain things, I would’ve made different decisions, or been a better advocate for myself. A financial professional, interacting with one in my process, would’ve been so valuable.
I think for some people, you’re talking about not knowing, it can be really intimidating. What I see is that people enter the divorce process almost feeling a lot of shame around the fact that they don’t know what they don’t know. How does it work if somebody wants to connect with a financial professional in their early stages? Is there maybe thinking about what would divorce look like? How am I going to survive this? What does it look like when they engage your services?
I often interact with potential clients through lawyers like you, who recognize that they have a client who needs some financial education, so that when they get to a point in that process, they are empowered. That, to me, is a big thing, is empowering, especially, women. I have had people just reach out to me from social media, my exposure, recognizing what I do, helping them through just understanding if they split households, what may it look like? I mean, the financial part of a divorce is a big concern for many people. If I get divorced, can I afford to live? Can I afford my kids? Can I afford to stay in this home? Having someone like me help them through that analysis gives them a sense of comfort, relieve some anxiety, so that when they’re interacting with their lawyer, they can come in at least saying what they’d like to see.
I think often people go into the process saying, “Okay, you tell me. You, lawyer, tell me what is this going to look like?” That puts you in a different position, in a different seat and a different hat-wearing. With a financial professional like myself, if you engage me beforehand or, again, through the process, I can help you look and see. “Okay, this is what you’re working with, and these are options that might be considered for division. Does that work for you? Can you prepare for that? Do you feel like you want to save a little more in anticipation of something?” I love when I get a chance to do that with someone.
The times where I’ve had clients who’ve taken advantage of working with a financial professional, it is so great because they can forecast for them. “Okay, you know what? If you leave the marriage with this and that’s all, we can expect your life to look X, Y, and Z,” because you have great forecasting tools lawyers don’t have.