This Seattle Times article offers an opportunity to highlight the importance of having an independent understanding of basic financial concepts. Many Americans lack understanding about financial topics like mortgages, interest, and risk, and this article illustrates potential consequences when we lack this sort of knowledge.

The article features a 56 year old Bellevue College teacher, who could be symbolic of many people in similar situations. In this example, the woman described was in a marriage where her husband fully handled the household finances, overseeing investments, paying all bills, etc. When they divorced, she felt financially lost, without knowledge or understanding of her own financial situation, logistics of money management, or how to handle her investments and retirement savings. It was disconcerting as she realized the extent of what she did not know. She applied to The Seattle Times for a free money makeover and a pro bono financial planner got involved. The financial planner looked at the ins and outs of her financial situation and she was eager to learn. She was fortunate to have someone step in and advise her appropriately, in order to maintain her financial stability.

Not everyone will be so lucky. This is a good illustration as to why it is essential to understand basic financial concepts. Discovering that you are in the dark about your finances can be a terrifying, confusing, and overwhelming experience. This example had a favorable outcome, but what if you made this discovery to learn that your situation was dire and that your financial future was not as you assumed it would be?

Even if one partner is in charge of the finances, the other partner should understand where the family stands, how to navigate the accounts, how to read statements, etc. Anything can happen and it is dangerous to be in the dark about your finances. Divorce, a family addition (planned or unplanned), a layoff, an unexpected move – These are just some of the significant life changes that can severely impact your life, emotionally, logistically, and most certainly financially.

The article notes that Americans are becoming increasingly more responsible for planning for their own retirements, with fewer employers providing pensions. There are more and more options for investment or savings, methods of borrowing money and accruing debt, and consumer products on the market for financial management. Bottom line: Financial management is increasingly complicated. Everyone needs to have at least a baseline understanding of their financial situations and knowledge about where to turn to seek clarification on the more complicated aspects of things.

Our family law attorneys at Dellino Law Group have a complex understanding about financial concepts and how they may affect your legal situation. If you are involved with a divorce, child custody, adoption, or other family law issue, we will work with you to understand the connection and crossover between your financial and legal situations. We often collaborate with accountants, financial planners, and other resources to develop the right strategy for your unique situation and achieve the best outcome for your family. Please contact our experienced divorce and family law attorneys today for a free legal consultation.