Something different this week to finish Series 3! Tamsin speaks to fellow financial planners, Lottie Kent of True Financial Design and Ceri Griffiths of Willowbrook Financial Planning. They discuss why, when and how you might need to work with a divorce specialist financial planner when you’re getting divorced.
Ceri is Founder of Willow Brook Lifestyle Financial Planning, She has been a financial adviser for over 20 years and is both Chartered and Fellow. She gives advice exclusively to women divorcing wealthy and powerful men and her mission is to remove financial vulnerability and disadvantage for these women, but she also stands for much more than this. Her business plan and objectives run along the UN Sustainable development goals, specifically Gender Equality and Quality Education, in recognition of this on International Women’s Day Mo2vate Magazine recognised her as an inspirational woman for 2021, and she is currently a finalist in the nation of women awards, Empowerment category for change makers.
Ceri Griffiths FPFS CeMap Bsc Hons
Chartered Financial Planner
Willow Brook Lifestyle Financial Planning
Lottie Kent is a Chartered Financial Planner, Divorce Specialist and also the owner of True Financial Design Ltd. True is based in North Yorkshire but Lottie works throughout all of the UK. Lottie’s passion is to help people through the divorce process and provide them with the confidence to make informed decisions about their finances for the future. Alongside being a financial planner and business owner, Lottie is always looking for ways to be the best she can be and encourage others on their journey too.
Chartered Financial Planner
True Financial Design Ltd
Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planer with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.
You can contact Tamsin at email@example.com or arrange a free initial meeting using https://calendly.com/tamsin-caine/15min. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK
Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd
(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)
Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello and welcome to the Smart divorce podcast. I’m Tamsin Caine and I will be your host. In series three. We will be speaking to a number of experts and professionals in the divorce arena and answering the questions that we get asked most often. If you’ve got a question and you don’t think we’ve answered it yet, please do get in touch you can email me at Tamsin at smart divorce.co.uk now over to our guests. Hello, and welcome to the smart boss podcast. I’m delighted to be joined today by two wonderful ladies Carrie Griffis and I can’t say that today, Gordon Bennett, Carrie. Lottie, how are you doing ladies
Unknown Speaker 0:54
Amazing. Thank you so much for having me.
Unknown Speaker 0:56
Very, very good. Yeah. Great to be here.
Tamsin Caine 0:59
Excellent. Okay, so before we kick off, I will tell you a bit about these two wonderful ladies. So Carrie is founder of Willow Brook lifestyle financial planning. She has been a financial advisor for over 20 years and not sure how that can possibly
Unknown Speaker 1:17
You said that last time and you would were like How old are you and I was like, I’m in my 40s leave it there .
Tamsin Caine 1:25
Stop saying it stop saying i, she’s both a chartered and fellow. She gives her advice exclusively to women divorcing, wealthy and powerful men and we’ll hear a little bit more about that later on. And her mission is to remove financial vulnerability and disadvantage for these women and also stands for much much more than this. A business plan and objectives for the long the UN Sustainable Development Goals specifically gender quality and quality education in recognition of this. on International Women’s Day motivate magazine recognised her as an inspirational woman for 2021 and is currently a finalist of the nation of women awards empowerment category for changemakers Gordon Bennett Crikey and also the fabulous Lottie Kent who is a Chartered Financial Planning divorce specialist and owner of two financial design limited twos based in North Yorkshire but Lottie works throughout all of the UK, her passion is to help people through divorce process and provide them with the confidence to make informed decisions about their finances picture. Alongside being a financial planner and business owner, Lottie is always looking for ways to be the best she can be and encouraged others on their journey to I think probably all three of us are a bit in that category, which is probably why we’ve ended up joining forces little bit, yeah, having met on Instagram. And so I thought it’d be really interesting to have the three of us together, because we all will work in a kind of similar area of, of divorce, where bill do go all financial planners, and I thought it’d be great to have some different viewpoints today. So I want to start off by asking you, I’ll start with you, Carrie, why, why divorce work? Why did you pick that particular area?
Unknown Speaker 3:24
Yeah, I’m going to take you back to when I was 14, but don’t worry, I’m not going to give you every year. But when I was 14, I was in a class in school and a teacher made a comment that if the girls in the room left, then went home for economics, there would be more room for the boys in the class. And like it, it riled me like it’s set something off inside me. We didn’t any of us girls in the class D will say anything at the time. But it really stayed the course of my life for the next 20 years. So while I had natural affinity for the arts and for language, like there was no way I did a levels, I did maths and science. I went to university, I did a maths degree. I spent a year travelling and then when I came back, I went to London lawn, I started my financial services career, and I was on a mission, I was like proving that I can do this, I am as good as the man in the room. And I think that had been my approach for many, many years. I was always heard at the table, I had a very, very successful financial services career because of it. And I felt equal, you know, like I was there as with the boys, I could do it. And then I heard a phrase on International Women’s Day actually. So kind of this time of year, three or four years ago, and that phrase was equality is not sameness. And that phrase turned me upside down and inside out. And it it really led me to make some changes and to see things quite differently. So I was before I sat at Willowbrook. For the five years before I sat at Willowbrook. I was a coach and mentor for other financial advisors. And I’ve observed over 2000 interactions in 2000 meetings of advisors with their clients. And it gave me a really privileged insight into not only how women engaged with their advisor, but also how they engage with money and with financial services. And you know, things were fine until I heard this phrase, and then I could not unhear it or unseating anything that I was doing. Because what became apparent to me was that, unlike me, some women were trying to be women in a man’s world. And like, I was trying to be a man in a man’s world, and that was working fine. But trying to be a woman in a man’s world was a different story. And so as I say it kind of I kind of would go into these meetings, and I would see how disengaged these women were, I would see how powerful a lot of the men were, who were in that environment. And it became something that I had to really scratch this itch slightly had to scratch, I’ve got to do something about it, I need to create an a need to work in a way that is designed with women at the forefront from the from the top down is how we normally do things, you know, we’ll change what we’ve got from the top down for women. But I wanted to build something from the bottom up just designed for women. So that’s why I started Willowbrook. And the reason that I work with divorcing women is because that’s where the vulnerability really shows up. That’s where is a real critical crisis point that they get financial planning. And that’s what I want to fix fast.
Tamsin Caine 6:38
Perfect. I absolutely love that I love your story about about the classroom where it all began. So I was telling my son this morning actually not knowing that we were going to have this conversation. But I was talking about a metalwork class that I was in, in what would be year nine now. And then my metalwork teacher said, well, you and the other girl you can make jewellery rather than learning how to use the lathe cuz you won’t really need it. And I was absolutely seething. I’m still seeing that. I’m 30 something years ago that this happened, but yeah, it’s so I’m sorry. Well, and I say even that, and now it’s going to start 1950 you know, and my son won. Yeah, yeah. But it was like 1980 something I’m like, that’s not my point. Yeah, is it is it is absolutely. Absolutely. Still that.
Unknown Speaker 7:37
And, you know, I’m kind of glad he said it because it created a lot of positives for me, you know, a lot of confidence in speaking public speaking and the ability to challenge and to kind of stand up for what I think is right. But Wow, like how people can have those views? And actually not not check them is still quite alarming to me.
Tamsin Caine 7:59
And it’s still living and breathing. Even now. So Lottie, what about you? Why divorce? Why?
Unknown Speaker 8:07
Why? Well, I’m also going to take you back to when I was 14. How bizarre. Knowing this was age 14 as well. Yeah, no, so no, but mine was slightly different, a little bit shorter, to be fair. So basically, my parents are divorced. But the reason I say 14 is because they separated when I was 14. So and then I think the thing is, is that I saw I was a very amicable divorce, don’t get me wrong, but I saw the emotional and the financial challenges that both of my parents faced when going through divorce. And my mom came out the other side and she still says to me this station and Lottie, I was just scared. She said, I just did not know what to do. And I didn’t know who to turn to and and you know how to how to make these decisions by myself. And you know, typical situation and that mum had given that work when you know, she had me and then have my brother and all that sort of thing. And, and dad had just dealt with the finances. And and and that was that was just the way they were it kind of was. So basically, I suppose my real mission now is to and obviously the last week or the week before there was a well, the legal and general recent research released on average testimony saying last week divorce like it was yesterday, but it was back in January. Saying that 3% of people seek financial advice when going through divorce. And these are the biggest often it’s the biggest financial decision that somebody will make. And I think that is a scary stat that’s only 3% of people seek financial advice. So I am now on a very big mission to actually just as you guys are as well ladies, I shouldn’t say guys Ladies are to basically, you know, remove that uncertainty about the decisions that people have to make when going through divorce, but also providing people with that confidence to make those informed decisions when going through the divorce process kind of pre during and post just to make sure that people aren’t making these decisions that they may live to regret further down the line just because they aren’t weren’t armed with the right tools in the first place when they were going through the process. So that’s pretty much my summary. I would say in a nutshell,
Tamsin Caine 10:32
yeah, I come from it a similar place to you, although mine’s a couple years earlier. So my parents divorced. I was 12. And when they went through it, and mine didn’t manage it in quite the amicable way that your parents seem to and you know how 35 years later, they still can’t be in the same room together. And that really massively impacted me when I then got divorced about five years ago now. And we, we, in fact, both my parents and my ex husband’s parents had a pretty awful divorces. And we didn’t want that for our children. We wanted to try and agree things between us to be able to co parent our kids together, so that they weren’t put in the middle all the time. They weren’t, you know, which we found loads, we were we were really pick in the middle, you know, are going to can you tell you that that or like being expected to take sides? And I just didn’t want that. And didar said they saw Yeah, exactly. And I just didn’t. So I didn’t want that for me. But I didn’t want it for other people. And I kind of felt that I was in a position where I could help people to work on their finances to understand them to figure out what was fair, but without having to fight and go to court. And I just sort of thought if you’ve got a front somebody up in court, and have a battling, and give abused them and tell the court all the awful things they’ve done, that’s not going to lead to a particularly lovely co parenting relationship. And so yeah, that was that was kind of where my mission started. Similarly, to eat a lot in that, you know, it is about giving people clarity back figuring out what they need, but also, for me, it really is about like amicable solution coming out of it without without a court at the end of it. So. Okay, that’s fab, that was really lovely to hear from you both than that. So, Carrie, you’ve been quite clear on the people that you work with, do you want to tell me of this di gate is said in your introduction, it’s exclusively women divorcing wealthy, powerful men? So go for it, how, how, how, how unwell. what, where, when, all that.
Unknown Speaker 13:13
So for me, what lights me up is being able to remove vulnerability and disadvantage. And where I really want to see change, and where I really want to add value for those women that are unfortunately not in a situation where things are going to progress amicably, and be there for those women. So the women that I tend to work with have come from really wealthy backgrounds, they’ve had very comfortable lives. And they have come to this space, feeling like their ex has the upper hand and feeling like he will have the advantage because of his financial experience. And if I’m being honest, he often does, because he can use it to confuse to overwhelm, and to just move things at a pace that works for him. So for me, specifically, what I want to be able to do is make sure that these women have an equal amount of expertise as him if they haven’t been the one managing finances, I want to make sure that they have those knowledge gaps filled and they feel clear. And if they haven’t got the contacts, because obviously, their ex was the one dealing with it that they know that they can reach out and they can have somebody on their side. So that’s how I work with and that’s why and that’s kind of really what I’m all about. But I also work with domestic abuse victims who work with a specific divorce coach, and that I do that as part of goodwill, but I only provide a certain amount of support to them because what they need is actually quite different, what they need his guidance structure, a bit of a loving arm and direction. They don’t need financial planning. And I suppose that’s the other really big point is that one of the things that happens. I think when people become aware financial planning on divorces that they assume that they need it. But actually where financial planning adds true value is when there is money that needs planning. So that might be saying the obvious, but when you’re in a situation where there is not enough money to quite go around, and it’s mortgages, and there might be some protection, things that need a bit of sorting out, you don’t truly get the same value. And you don’t truly add the same value as a financial planner, the women that I work with the difference that I make can be substantial. The situations are complex, they’re difficult. they genuinely need financial planning to be able to navigate them. Even when they get to court, they need the work that we’re doing to be able to help steer what happens and understand what’s going on.
Tamsin Caine 15:48
Fantastic. So what before I move on to Lottie, at what point do you in the process? Do you normally start working with those women
Unknown Speaker 16:01
as soon as possible, like as soon as possible? So, you know, generally, when they are just starting work with their solicitor is generally when I start working with them. And most of my clients do work with a legal team, they work with a solicitor, I do have some who are going through mediation. Actually, surprisingly, mediation does work sometimes for these women. But they generally have a legal team of sorts. And as soon as they start working with them, I start working with them to still question Carrie. And if that’s okay, Tamsin. Hi, am I just how do you find that sometimes, obviously, you’re you’re in a very, you know, a niche of not only just divorcing, but women and also a women of a certain kind of an asset value as well? Do you find that sometimes they don’t actually know what they’re worth when they come to you? And you establish that for them? Yeah. 100%. And they know, so that I don’t really talk about the asset value with them, because they don’t know that word. They don’t generally relate to that. But they know that they are somebody divorcing a wealthy and powerful man. That’s the bit that kind of resonates with them. They’re like, yeah, that that’s me. That’s, that’s who I am. That’s what’s going on.
Tamsin Caine 17:13
Lottie, so any specifics about who you work with? Or are you quite a,
Unknown Speaker 17:21
I’m not quite as nice as Carrie, and, genuinely, you, given that I am female, women tend to migrate towards me. So the majority of my clients are female. Having said that, there’s the odd man that comes and asks and wants to work with me, but genuinely, in a very, very similar situations. Carrie, really, it’s, it’s really providing this, you know, this confidence, a lot of the ladies that come and see me, you know, they’re in a very similar situation that my mom was in, they don’t understand they’re they’ve never dealt with the finances, they know that there’s, you know, there might be x in that part, or why in that pension, but they don’t fully understand a what they’ve got or be, you know, the complexities within those, but the complexities of actually splitting those tensions on divorce as well. So I suppose where I get involved, is bringing them up to speed. And again, that knowledge gap, but and providing them with that confidence. So they know exactly what they’re talking about when you know, these big words, you know, this jargon that just comes in that nobody’s ever heard of. But they think actually, I know exactly what that means. And then they’re feeling so smart and confident about it, that actually, they, they’re able to make these big decisions for themselves. But I think I focus a little bit more on the not the full process, but really establishing what a client’s need is, and then moving into modelling potential and financial settlements for them to make sure that they’re fully informed and know exactly what Hang on a sec, if you if you accept that settlement, this is what it’s going to look like, Is that going to work for you? Is it not? And we do all via, as I think all three of us do via what we call our visualise your future process, because we just like to be a little bit different, but it’s essentially cash flow modelling. And but it basically provides a visual picture to the clients, they’re actually able to see it. And as a client said to me the other day, she said, I had no idea I had to think that far in advance. And I think solicitors also need a little bit of education on this side, because I think a lot of people often are a little bit guilty about feeling, you know, thinking about the immediate need two to five years, whereas actually, I think, you know, we’re looking like for the rest of these people’s lives. And I think it’s, you know, there’s a reason why only 3% of people seek financial advice. And I think that we’ve as the three of us, I think we have a bit of an educational process to do for the whole of the kind of nation with regards to you know, divorce and the legal side of it because a lot of solicitors are fab and they just know when financial planning is required. They will get the relevant parties involved, but some aren’t quite as you know, clued up on how we can actually help them. And then I suppose on the other side is, once the settlement has been agreed, then we will help clients structure those in the most appropriate way to make sure they’re able to achieve and maintain their standard of living for the rest of their life, whatever that might look like, you know, they might have, you know, desires to go and you know, live abroad or travel the world and, you know, we we make sure that we can accommodate what they want by the structure that we that we use with them.
Tamsin Caine 20:32
Absolutely. I really love that. When people start their new chapter, and it’s, it’s not immediately that they can think about it, because probably straight away on divorce their heads, mashed, and they’re like, just getting through the process and going through day to day. But gradually, as you work with them, they start to be able to kind of free their minds and start being able to think I would say you can start thinking a bit selfishly, because you don’t have to, like, take some details into consideration. You can just think this about me and what I want and how I want to design my new life. Absolutely, I think where I differ slightly, probably similarly to law to work with men and women. But I quite often work with couples as well. And so when they’re going through the mediation process to understand what a fair split looks like, and that it can be quite tricky, but if you can show them together, we’ll that’s why we would split things in that way. Because actually, then you both have an even path, and you can both get on with your, your lives together. So yeah, I sometimes get involved with working with couples as well. But like both of you, it’s, it’s, quite often, if I’m working with an individual, it’s the financially less well educated of the couple, and it isn’t always the woman, my experience. I’m working with a couple of guys at the moment, and they’re the ones who and also, it’s not always the one that doesn’t work so, or works less well paid job, sometimes it’s just happens to be the female the partnership that was better with money that’s taking control of the money that happens to do that part of the team work. Who who we tend to try and help educate and likely say bring up to a level because when they go into that, especially in mediation, they’re going to have to go and stand there and say, This is what I want, and this is what I need. And the reason I need it is because x y Zed, then they need to be able to stand up to whoever that x is and and fight their corner from a position of knowledge. So yeah, absolutely, heartily agree with, with everything you’ve said. And so finally, I’m interested to know what difference you feel that we make to our clients cannot start with you, Carrie, again, if that’s okay.
Unknown Speaker 23:09
So, my domestic abuse victims, it’s about having a structure, ability to see through the fog having somebody on their side, and some direction and a loving arm. And it’s it kind of can be a really crucial element of their moving forward. And then for my clients divorcing, wealthy man who often actually domestic abuse victims as well, but even more, because that’s not unique. That’s not the only wealthy women that I work with, it can be really, really life changing. So as well as the difference between financially planning a situation and not, which can be many hundreds of 1000s of pounds. As you know, the steps we take can also help them feel really, really confident about the situation and make clear decisions. And that could prevent delays and cost with the legal process as well. So lots of financial reasons, and financial impact that has a difference there. But I think really importantly, it’s the peace of mind that’s created by knowing that this huge responsibility for understanding the situation is shared. We’ve got expertise on their side, and that they’ve got the ability to know know what they should do. And essentially what happens is the gain the money, confidence and clarity to, to divorce and to make decisions, but also the direction and the expertise and the confidence to move forward into their post divorce lives. Really money savvy, really clear, really independent, and they want to go forward and live a life where they feel really comfortable, that they’re not going to run out of money and they can live the life that they want to want to have. So I think yeah, there’s just so much there’s so much that we do on so many levels, you know, financial, security, emotional, all of those things have a massive impact to play and for me When I’m working with these women who are divorcing wealthy men, the cards, you know, the stakes are high. And so the impacts are high as well. Yeah, sure.
Tamsin Caine 25:10
I imagine you agree with everything that Kerry’s just said, lots are putting words in your mouth 100%
Unknown Speaker 25:20
if I did it the wrong place? 100%. Absolutely. And but I think it’s slightly, it was slightly different for me in the sense that in answer to that question, the way I would answer it is the reason I suppose I do what I do is seeing the transitional process to me, that is just the most rewarding thing. And that is the reason I do what I do. And to see somebody that comes to see me initially, and it’s almost like this shell, this scared, unknown, who’s constantly apologising, saying, I’m sorry, I don’t understand. And to me, I’m always saying there is no judgement here, how would you understand you’ve never dealt with this, and then you ended up kind of seeing their confidence grow as you work with them, and then you get to the end, and they’re this kind of like, beaming confident person and, and, you know, it just that, to me, is just the reason I do what I do. And you know, it’s it’s just so so rewarding to see that kind of the transition into a confident woman who understands Oh, man, that understands, you know, exactly what they need to do in order to know that they’re not gonna run out of money for the rest of their lives and having the confidence to you know, make these, you know, informed and big decisions. And I just think that is that’s my kind of answer. Answer in a nutshell, to be honest,
Tamsin Caine 26:43
I totally agree with you. I think initially, it’s the, it’s the fear removal, isn’t it, and the, and the hand holding, and the will help you get through this, don’t worry. And then you watch as the caterpillar, Caterpillar changes into an amazing butterfly, and you start seeing and flying, and think about things that they want to do with their lives and, and the box of tissues I have handled on my desk, can disappear from future meetings, because, like you say, no judgement initially is, it’s the place that that lots of people are in. But when they come out the other side, it’s like you say, I find it really, really rewarding place to be as well. I’ve either of you got. And I just thought this other question, just before we finish any, any tips for anyone who is should have warned you about this, but they get anyone who’s just sort of any tips for for someone who is just in the process of separation, carry lots, he’s got a minute to think about a
Unknown Speaker 27:57
message I would like to give is Be kind to yourself, I think as women and I’m sorry, because that’s who I work with them on. So I talk to the women listening along. As women, we set ourselves really big expectations. And so women often will have a lot of judgement on their past selves for not knowing and understanding this stuff. And they’ll be quite critical of themselves for getting to a position where they feel like they’re at a disadvantage now, and they’re worried about their knowledge levels. So be kind yourself about that. And secondly, be aware that you don’t need to know as much as you think you do. We have this tendency to be absolutely perfectionist in what we do. And to think that we, in order to navigate any situation, we need to know 100 out of the 100 things that are there. And actually that is not reality. The fundamentals are straightforward and easy to pick up. As long as you have support to know the right things, you’ll move through this quite quickly without a huge learning curve. You’ll get
Tamsin Caine 29:02
love that love that.
Unknown Speaker 29:04
Very, very good, very good summary, off the cuff it was rightly prepared that carry now I am I to be honest, I think what I would say is for somebody to seek help, you’re not of course, as everybody says, like you haven’t been through this process before. So why would you know and go and seek help and it doesn’t matter to be honest who you go and see because what I would say is a good divorce professional will be able to hold your hand through the entire process but also get the other relevant experts involved as you walk through and and I you know, I had a client the other day and she said, she said to me, she said I’ve got my It was quite it’s a very complex cations are in business, etc, etc. He said I’ve got my accountant, my solicitor and you speaking she said, that’s my job done. She said because we’ve all got her best interests at heart and we’re all working towards the same Go it’s just as my job done she said that’s that’s all I need to do. And if that’s what I meant, what I think is that if somebody seeks help and then they’re dealing with a good divorce professional then that’s you know, it’s there. But it’s done essentially because then as Carrie said that you know that the handle be held throughout the entire time of process. I would just add to that Lottie Don’t forget the divorce coach, like the emotional journey is important too. Oh, yeah. 100% this particular she’s pretty stable. This lady. She didn’t need that. But yeah, she’s about 100% I completely agree. And there’s often mediation involved that trees there’s so many more people as well. Yeah. 100% but the coaches is key. Yeah,
Tamsin Caine 30:41
yeah, definitely have a great team around you in there. And yeah, my my tip would definitely be get you get your emotions sorted before you start trying to make big decisions. Because big decisions when you’re not emotionally ready to make them as it’s just gonna go pear shaped. Well, they sit well,
Unknown Speaker 31:00
they say when emotion is high logic is low, which I think we can all agree with. And that is, yeah, that’s Yeah. Okay, isn’t it?
Tamsin Caine 31:08
Perfect note to end on. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me, and I’ll see you again soon. These are lovely to see you. I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. If you did, please do think about writing us a review or giving us a lovely five star rating on iTunes, if that’s where you’re listening. hope you’ll join us again next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai