How to Split a Toaster: Aviva Pinto

Navigating Financial Infidelity with Wealthspire’s Aviva Pinto

Infidelity is never a word someone wants to hear when it relates to their own marriage, but did you know that could apply to the bank accounts too? Today, we talk with Aviva Pinto, a Managing Director and member of the Advisory Committee at Wealthspire Advisors, about financial infidelity. We also dig into rebuilding your credit and alimony as well.

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No matter how you slice it, infidelity is not a word you want associated with your marriage. That’s true for financial infidelity as well. So how do you figure out if your partner is being financially unfaithful? And what should you do?

Pete and Seth are joined today by Wealthspire’s Aviva Pinto to discuss financial infidelity, rebuilding your credit, alimony, and more. What is financial infidelity? We break down the definition and why it’s such a problem for marriages.

If you’re done with your divorce, is it too late to call Aviva or someone like her to get help? Nope! People may not realize the financial infidelity until it’s done, or perhaps they had reasons they wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, but there still can be remedies.

We look at financial planning and the importance of rebuilding your credit, as well as why a single credit card can help that credit score climb back up.

It’s an important topic today, and honestly it’s relevant for people who aren’t getting divorced too. Check it out!

About Aviva

Aviva Pinto is a Managing Director and member of the Advisory Committee at Wealthspire Advisors, a $20B multi family office, advising individuals, families and foundation clients on wealth management, including: asset allocation, manager selection, estate planning and philanthropy. She is an experienced wealth advisor with over 25 years of financial services industry experience. She specializes in working with individuals in transition (sale of business, inheritance, divorce, recently widowed) to determine the most appropriate course of action for their financial assets.

Aviva received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Aviva is on the board of the Port Washington Library Foundation and a former board member of The Somerset Resort Ltd, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. She is an alumni recruiter for the University of Michigan. She is a board member of Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and a member of Beaver Dam Winter Club. Aviva was named one of the Notable Women in Financial Advice by Crain’s New York Business 2020 and honored by Long Island Business News as one of the Top 50 Business Women on Long Island multiple years.

Aviva is married, and lives in Port Washington with her husband Lou, and their two daughters.

Episode Transcript

Pete Wright: Welcome to How to Split a Toaster, a Divorce Podcast about saving your relationships from TruStory FM. Today, your toaster has your credit card. Do you know where it’s spending?

Seth Nelson: Welcome to the show, everybody. I’m Seth Nelson and as always, I’m here with my good friend, Pete Wright. Financial strife is one of the key conflicts in a divorce. What happens when you try to separate yourself from a financially toxic relationship? This week on the show, we welcome Aviva Pinto, managing director and member of the advisory committee at Wealthspire Advisors, to talk to us about financial infidelity from the money side and how you can take action on rebuilding your financial life after divorce. Aviva, welcome to The Toaster.

Aviva Pinto: Thank you so much. Happy to be here.

Pete Wright: We’re so provoked by this conversation around financial infidelity. And particularly from your perspective, I think I know what we’re talking about with financial infidelity. I’m pretty sure I do. But just so we’re all on the same page, talk to us. What is financial infidelity? What does it mean? What do you see?

Aviva Pinto: Financial infidelity can encompass a lot of things. One, it could be one person that is hiding money from another person. For example, you’re in a marriage for a long time and they are dissipating assets and have another family on the side. So money that should be going to the current family could be going to a mistress, another family that somebody doesn’t know about. That’s the extreme. The non-extreme is if somebody is always spending and not telling the other person. So they’re going out shopping all the time or they’re going to fancy restaurants and things like that. The credit card bills are piling up and up and up and the other person is totally in the dark about that going on. That is also financial infidelity. Sometimes it can be as simple as you just get something and nobody knows that it is happening or it’s coming from accounts that are unknown to the other person. So all of those can encompass financial infidelity in a relationship.

Pete Wright: How does it reach you at Wealthspire in your role? How is this all visible to you? What sort of work are you doing with people?

Aviva Pinto: Okay. So I’m a certified Divorce Financial Analyst. And I get involved in divorces in three stages. The first stage would be if somebody is contemplating a divorce. They think that something is going on, but they really don’t know if it is. So they’ll come to me and they’ll say, "You know what? I think there’s things happening in the accounts and I really don’t know because I’m not the one that is managing the accounts. I’m not the one that’s paying the bills. But when I go to do something, sometimes my credit card is being rejected or I looked up our credit score, we’re in the 500s and we should be in the 800s because we’re earning enough money." It’s sometimes those types of things where the person that is the non-moneyed spouse, or the one who’s not paying the bills will see some discrepancy and say, "Hey, I think I should go talk to somebody."

Seth Nelson: These are the red flags. You’re starting to see some red flags.

Aviva Pinto: Correct. Correct.

Seth Nelson: It’s not adding up. Okay.

Aviva Pinto: Correct.

Pete Wright: It’s making my stomach hurt. Am I alone in that? All of this is massively triggering.

Seth Nelson: No. Pete, I think that making your stomach hurt comes from you eating at fancy restaurants and maybe your wife doesn’t know.

Pete Wright: Oh, right. That’s it. I can see I learn something every time we do this show.

Aviva Pinto: Or you’re buying those fancy pants that are a little too tight.

Pete Wright: Right. You’re right.

Seth Nelson: Wow. Aviva’s going straight to the wardrobe.

Pete Wright: That’s right. She’s welcome here. She’s in good company, good company.

Aviva Pinto: So those are the red flags when somebody is contemplating a divorce. I also get referrals from matrimonial attorneys, divorce coaches, therapists that say, "Hey, this person doesn’t know a lot about their finances. They’re in a terrible relationship. They really need to get their things pulled together." And the first thing that they need to do when they file for divorce is do a statement of net worth. And sometimes the matrimonial attorney will take a look at it and say, "Wait, there’s something going on here. You guys are spending this lavish lifestyle and the tax return says that you’re making $100,000 a year. Where is this money coming from?" So sometimes it’s something where you need a forensic accountant to go in and say, "Hey, well, this person’s got a cash business and not all the money is being reported to the IRS." So there’s a whole different financial infidelity problem there because a lot of times they’ll put the tax return in front of the other person, right now is a perfect time to be doing that. Oh my God, it’s due next week, sign here. I got to get this in. And the other person doesn’t look [crosstalk 00:05:14].

Pete Wright: Without actually looking at it.

Aviva Pinto: Right. The other person doesn’t look at it, doesn’t know what’s going on. We’re signing off that they make $100,000 a year yet they have a yacht or whatever it is.

Pete Wright: That’s so cagey.

Aviva Pinto: Well, divorce is not a pretty thing.

Seth Nelson: Aviva, I’ve got some questions and comments here. $100,000 and they have a yacht. So I think the question that comes to mind is it a dingy? Why don’t we just [crosstalk 00:05:48].

Pete Wright: A yacht in name only.

Seth Nelson: Yeah, or maybe the dingy is named yacht, that’s the name of the boat is yacht, that’s a dingy.

Aviva Pinto: It’s a little plastic toy you have in your bathtub.

Seth Nelson: Yeah, exactly.

Aviva Pinto: No. It’s those types of things where you know that the person has a cash business, their lifestyle is way in excess of what they’re reporting to the IRS. And that’s a huge red flag. And that’s where you would get a forensic accountant involved and going and seeing, what is the business? Where are the trucks coming? Where are they going from? What’s going on here? And how are you only reporting such a small amount of income? I exaggerated terribly, but you get the picture.

Seth Nelson: We didn’t pick up on that exaggeration. We’re good. It went right over our head. So what’s number three? What the third one?

Aviva Pinto: And number three is when they come to me after the divorce. And that’s the worst time to come to me because usually they’ve signed off on their settlement. And at that point it is too late, but that is where discrepancies can come in too. And I think that the worst thing is that people who are blindly just signing off because they just want it to be over. They’re in such a horrible relationship, the kids are a mess. They just want to get out of it and so they’ll do anything they can to just get out of it without realizing that what they’re signing is going to affect the rest of their life financially. So those are the three times where I would get involved as a certified Divorced Financial Analyst, helping the client figure out what’s happening with the funds.

Seth Nelson: Got a lot to unpack there, Pete.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Yeah. I know. I’m turning to you buddy. I assume it’s not just turn to Seth to help people separate, but your interwoven into this whole process in cases of financial infidelity?

Aviva Pinto: It’s an absolute team process. I work with the person’s accountant, I work with the person’s matrimonial attorney, I work with the person’s therapist, because a lot of times it’s like they don’t want to talk about these things. They’re embarrassed.

Seth Nelson: It’s hard to talk to your friends and say, "Oh, by the way, I’m broke when I [crosstalk 00:08:03]."

Aviva Pinto: And then the other thing is that a lot of them are embarrassed because they don’t have financial literacy. And then they’re kicking themselves that why did I let this go on so long without taking a look at what was going on in our accounts? And so that’s another thing where there’s a little bit of shame where they don’t want to admit that they didn’t see it or didn’t know it. Because a lot of times it’s professionals, they could be lawyers, they could be doctors, they could be judges and they just have delegated the other part of the relationship to the other spouse. And because they delegated it, they’re like, "Honey, I don’t really want to figure out what’s going on with the pipes. So why don’t you fix the pipes?" And it’s the same thing with the finances. It’s like you’re the one who’s paying the bills, you’re the one who’s doing all that, I’m going to take care of these things in the family. And so it’s really just a division of responsibilities but if you’re not involved, you’re the one at a disadvantage when something in the marriage breaks up.

Pete Wright: According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 10% of children live with a parent with an alcohol use disorder.

Seth Nelson: This is an alarming statistic as a Family Law professional, who deals with custody cases regularly.

Pete Wright: Finding the balance between the child safety and helping the child maintain a relationship with both parents is one of the hardest things to navigate. Add in the he said, she said phenomenon that happens with divorcing couples who often weaponize alcohol use against one another. And the situation is even more difficult.

Seth Nelson: All of this is why Soberlink has been one of the most important tools for my clients dealing with these issues. Soberlink’s remote alcohol monitoring tool has helped over 500,000 people, prove their sobriety and provide peace of mind regarding the child’s safety. Soberlink helps keep the focus on the best interest of the child, which is really the most important part in a divorce case dealing with children. I’ve teamed up with Soberlink to create a parenting plan guide, to help people going through divorce that involves alcohol in children.

Pete Wright: And you can download it today at soberlink.com/toaster. And if you take a look and you think you’re ready to order Soberlink, just mention How to Split a Toaster for $50 off their device price.

Seth Nelson: Our thanks to Soberlink for sponsoring How to Split a Toaster. So, let’s talk about the three stages. Pete, when someone’s contemplating, the good news the way Aviva’s laid it out, is through seeing some red flags. So they might be financially illiterate, which is not a derogatory term. It means you just haven’t focused on it and you can absolutely learn it. We’ve had shows on that more than once Pete, that these are all learned skills. But when you’re doing that part, the good news is your blinders are off. You’re like, "Okay, something’s going on here. It doesn’t feel right. There’s some smoke here. Let me get to some professionals to try to understand and see if we can uncover what’s going on." There’s really two types of things to be aware of when you’re at that stage, is one, does your spouse have a business where they’re a plumber, an accountant, a lawyer, whatever they may be. Do they own their own business, a sandwich shop, it doesn’t matter. But anywhere where they own their own business, that is right for ways for that person who’s the owner of the business to play financial games, I’ll call it. Okay, because maybe they’re deducting stuff that they’ve got the business credit card that they’re using on the side that you never see at home and they’re really personal expenses for the other family or the person that they shouldn’t be hanging out with and all this other money going out there if they’re having an affair that you just don’t see on your personal credit cards.

Aviva Pinto: And it’s not just an affair. It could also be drugs, alcohol, gambling.

Seth Nelson: Exactly. You just don’t know. So the good news about the contemplating is you’re catching it early. And it might be late in like, "Oh my God, this has been going on for years." But when you’re preparing for a divorce, that’s on the early side. Now the thing to other be aware of is if someone’s a W2 employee. They don’t own their own business, they get a paycheck from somebody. It’s really easy in the divorce process to find out whether that paycheck is going where it’s supposed to go, so to speak, because it’s going to have a direct deposit. And then all of a sudden you’re like, well, wait a minute. Why is half of it going somewhere else? But you’re tracing that money and that’s what we’ve talked about. We’ve had forensic accountants on the show before where they trace the money. And the third part, which I would really like to talk about, which is the worst time to figure this all out. But I think we have to have this main conversation today, Aviva, is the divorce is over and they’ve made a deal. It might have been a financially bad deal, which people are allowed to make, but there would’ve also been potentially very good reasons to make a financially bad deal, i.e, I was done. Maybe I lost $100,000 that I could have gotten, but I didn’t have to pay the lawyer fees. So maybe it wasn’t going to be 100 grand after all. Maybe I got the children on the time sharing plan or the custody of visitation plan that I wanted, that I thought was best. So there’s a lot of other reasons to make a financially bad deal. And there’s a whole lot more to divorce than just the money, but someone comes to you and they need to rebuild their financial picture. What does that look like?

Aviva Pinto: That sometimes doesn’t look very happy. What you’re looking at is debt, there’s credit card debt that maybe the other person wasn’t aware of and maybe didn’t get into the divorce stipulation that you find out about it later when you’re looking at the credit. And you decide, "Okay, now I need to get a new house, or I need to rent an apartment and, or I need a credit card in my own name." And all of a sudden, nobody is willing to give you credit because of the terrible credit that you had as a partnership in the past. So the first thing that I tell these clients to do is we’ve got to fix that. You’ve got to pay off all the debt, you’ve got to get your credit score up. And sometimes it takes as long as six months. And so if they’re looking to buy a house or something like that, it needs to be done with cash if they’re going to do the at, because there’s no bank or even the loan sharks are not going to give it to you, if you’ve got a terrible credit rating.

Pete Wright: Let’s just say, we now have it in cannon that loan shark is an option for divorce, finance rehabilitation.

Seth Nelson: Yeah.

Pete Wright: I think it might be at the bottom of the list, but it’s on the list now. I never would’ve expected that.

Seth Nelson: On the advice of council, do not call Gwido. You’re going` to-

Pete Wright: Better not call Saul. Okay, here we go.

Aviva Pinto: I think we’re going to edit that part out.

Pete Wright: This is [crosstalk 00:15:45].

Seth Nelson: Aviva, whenever you say that, Andy, our producer puts that at the top of the show [crosstalk 00:15:49].

Pete Wright: Yeah. That’s right. That’s the clip for Instagram.

Aviva Pinto: That’s going to be the headline.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Aviva Pinto: Aviva Pinto from Wealthspire is recommending loan sharks.

Pete Wright: Loan sharks, viable alternative.

Aviva Pinto: When you have to fix your credit score and you have to get your credit back on track, that is really the first thing that you need to do to get started. And they come to me after the divorce and the first thing is, "I need to start saving for my kids’ college," if they didn’t have a 529 plan set up, or "I need to save so that I can afford a house down the road or whatever." And the first thing that we do is we look at their budget and we say, "Okay, how much are you spending? What does your lifestyle look like? And then we look at their resources and what’s out there in the asset column and what’s the liabilities? And that’s sometimes where you find the credit score that’s terrible, or they don’t have a lot to their name and they have to start over.

Seth Nelson: I’ve got a question about paying off credit cards.

Aviva Pinto: Sure.

Seth Nelson: I have this philosophical debate with my clients all the time where my financial brain says, "Pay off the higher credit card interest first."

Aviva Pinto: Yes.

Seth Nelson: So let’s say you have one that’s a thousand dollars, it’s got a 20% interest rate, but you’ve got another credit card, I’m just using easy Math, 200 bucks on that and it’s got a 5% rate, but God, it would feel so good to pay off that one credit card, 200 bucks and just be done with it, right?

Aviva Pinto: Yes.

Seth Nelson: And that emotional aspect of, I’m only down to four credit cards, let’s say they’ve got a couple others out there, but financially you’re better off taking that 200 and you put it towards the high interest rate. But I appreciate the emotional aspect of being done with one card, though financially you’re going to end up paying a little more.

Aviva Pinto: So there are these little metal things called scissors, and I love using them. When clients come in, we open their wallet and I cut up as many cards as I can possibly get my hands on, because emotionally, yes, you’ll pay off that $200, but you can never put anything more on that card if it’s already been cut up.

Seth Nelson: Until she realizes it’s on their phone and they just tap.

Pete Wright: So I get out my hammer and I take their phone and I [inaudible 00:18:22] the living hill out of it.

Aviva Pinto: Take the phone, throw it out the window, you’re great. But if you look at the mask 20% on a credit card. If I’m investing for a client over a 10 year time period equities are only going to return you about 8%. And that’s not every single year. There are some years where it’s going to do great like last year, there are other years like this year where the market is down, but on average, you’re going to be at six to 8% or so from stocks in a portfolio, okay? I’m not talking about bonds right now, but just stocks.

Seth Nelson: You’re telling us pay off the $1,000 or what?

Aviva Pinto: Pay off the $1,000. One because you’re being charged 20% and that is highway robbery. So what I do with our clients is we take a look at everything that they owe and how much they’re being charged. And we put together a schedule and if you can consolidate the debt together so that it makes them feel better. Okay, everything’s in one place, I’m going to pay it off in one fell swoop over time, et cetera. And you give them the roadmap, it makes them feel better about their accomplishing something. But cutting up those cards and I don’t know, deleting the app. I’m not quite sure what we have to do that.

Pete Wright: All right. So stop spending, right? Just stop spending indiscriminately and get off those high interest rates. I want to talk about the credit score though, because that is a thing that really can bite people. And it seems like there’s just some black arts arkana that goes into defining what a credit score would be. How do you rebuild after your credit is damaged as a result of someone else’s financial infidelity?

Aviva Pinto: Well, as you’ll hear from matrimonial attorneys, regardless of whose debt it was, it still your responsibility, unless it says in the divorce stipulation that the other person is going to pay off all of those debts. But that still doesn’t help your credit score because your name is still on that joint account. So the first thing you do is you cut off all the joint accounts. You just close every single of account that has your name on it. You open new accounts, if you can. And if you can’t, then debit cards are the way to go. Go to the bank, get yourself some money, put it on the debit card. And then if you need to charge things or whatever it is, where you don’t want to carry around a lot of cash, just use the debit card.

Seth Nelson: But Pete, to your point though, is when you’re setting up the divorce on the financial matters, I will always recommend to my clients one that you are going to take the debt that is in your name because we’re not going to trust the other side to pay it. So you want to be responsible for anything that’s in your name. Or if let’s say hypothetically, you’re selling the house at closing of the house, there’s an agreement to pay off all the cards directly.

Pete Wright: Okay.

Seth Nelson: Okay. So there’s ways to immediately, if possible if there’s the cashflow to wipe that stuff out the sooner the better. But I will never want to leave a credit card that is in my client’s name with the other party to pay. Because that’s [inaudible 00:21:46] your credit. So you want to have control, right? You want to have control of your finances in control. That includes control of your debt. So then you just start attacking them one at a time, you make the minimum payments on all of them. And if you have an extra 50 bucks, you put it towards the high interest rate. So let’s say you’re paying that card at $100 a month. When it gets paid off, you take that $100 you are paying and you put it towards the card, along with the minimum. And when you pay that one off, now you’re paying 150 towards the other one, and you will feel very good when it dramatically starts going down and down and down. And as you well put Pete, stop the spending. We appreciate in this show. We’re saying things that sound easy, but it’s hard when your kids need the [crosstalk 00:22:33]

Pete Wright: Exactly, exactly.

Seth Nelson: But we can change our standard of living and understand that you might have a lower standard of living. You might be watching your money more, but ultimately that will lead to a much higher standard of living down the road. Because you keep doing it now, you’re never going to get there.

Pete Wright: I’ve got to shout out a product. For those who struggle check out YNAB you need a budget. I’ve got friends over at YNAB. It is an incredible service for helping. You feel like you don’t have a sense for your money, how it works. YNAB is transformational for so many people who go from having $50 in the bank, living from paycheck to paycheck, to having thousands of dollars in a very short amount of time. It is incredibly powerful. So YNAB will put a link in the show notes. If you haven’t checked it out and you’re struggling with money, it’s incredible. And they’re not even yet a sponsor of the show. We need to make some calls. I want to ask though about the credit, once you make all these decisions, my first question was, does rational insane use of a debit card help you rebuild credit in any way? And how long can you expect it to take to rebuild credit? Whatever that means, you might have to set a goal for me. How will you know you’ve done it?

Aviva Pinto: The first thing that you can do is, it depends on how much money you have. So let’s say you’ve gotten your settlement and it’s a good settlement and you’ve got extra money. The first thing you do is pay off all those cards, right?

Pete Wright: Cards are gone.

Aviva Pinto: Then you start looking at what else. Have we paid the mortgage on time? Or is there a problem out there? So you run the credit report and it shows you where the issues are. And you immediately get in touch with those companies where you have the outstanding balances. You pay those off, you get them to tell the credit companies that you have paid them off. And so the score starts changing immediately once those happen. Now it could take a total of about six months in the worst case. But if you do that systematically and get the credit card companies and the other debtors to tell the rating agencies that you’re doing this and you’ve got it all paid off, your score can increase dramatically very quickly.

Pete Wright: That seems like great news. That seems like great news.

Seth Nelson: Can you do little things like this, pay them on time?

Pete Wright: That actually gets to, I want to have an authorized representative of money answer this question for me. Is it a good idea to make sure that you have a credit card? And that you use it and pay it on time in order to help you rebuild your credit?

Aviva Pinto: Absolutely. Absolutely. If you can get one. But the problem is if you have a really bad credit score, there are very few companies that are going to give a credit card. The easiest ones to get are gas cards. But I guess with the price of gas these days, it’s even harder to pay those off quickly.

Pete Wright: Right. Right.

Aviva Pinto: No, no joke, but [crosstalk 00:25:49]

Pete Wright: We laugh because we do not crying, right? It’s [crosstalk 00:25:52]

Aviva Pinto: Exactly. But there are some companies that will let you prepay credit cards and students can come out of school. And if you show that they’ve got a job offer, there are credit card companies that’ll do that. And if you’ve written to the credit card company or spoken to a rep on the phone and say, "Hey, look, I just went through a divorce. This is what’s going on. I need a credit card." And sometimes you can work out that you can prepay and they will give you the credit card because they’ve already got your money. So there’s that way around it as well.

Pete Wright: Seth, anything else we need to throw in here? Any other legal recourse you have in the post divorce like rehabilitative portion of our credit discussion?

Seth Nelson: Years went up when Aviva was talking about, "Hey, this spouse is coming in and saying we got to get our taxes filed sign here." And they own their own business, you don’t pay attention. If there was fraud or something wrong or that tax return was not done properly. And you and your spouse get audited years later because of the filing and the IRS does an audit, which is a ton of fun, Pete, you should-

Pete Wright: Yeah, it’s a thrill.

Seth Nelson: You should volunteer for that one day. And you just say, "Look, I didn’t know, there’s this innocent spouse doctrine within the IRS code, if you’re going through an audit or something of that nature, you need to talk to your legal advisor about. I’m not going to get into it in detail today. But basically it’s saying, I really didn’t know. It can be a difficult battle to wage, but you definitely have to talk to your advisor or your legal advisor or accountant about what that means. So don’t feel like you have no avenue to fight that, but it could be a rough road. So I just want to kind of put a little pit in that, let people know it’s out there.

Pete Wright: Well, it sounds like all these avenues hinge on going from the darkness of secrecy and financial infidelity and lies to honesty and like just authenticity and just present the facts as they are. And, and that’s the only way you’re going to rebuild. I think the thing that I get out of this is just run that credit report and use that as a checklist of things to resolve as quickly as you possibly can, but telling the truth to every one of these organizations, agencies, debt holders probably makes a lot of sense, yeah?

Aviva Pinto: Absolutely. And sometimes they can talk to them and get some kind of remediation, maybe you don’t have to pay the whole thing or they give you longer are time to pay it and they’ll adjust your credit score while you’re doing the remediation with them.

Seth Nelson: And along with that, when you’re talking about paying stuff off down the road, post a forest, we haven’t mentioned it today, but what happens if you’re receiving alimony? So the challenge there is everyone’s like, well, if I just get the alimony, I can pay off the debt. But there’s an assumption there that you’re going to get the alimony payment. So when you’re working with your attorney and your financial planner or your forensic accountant, and you’re talking about how to do a divorce settlement, now, look, it takes two. Maybe the court wouldn’t allow you to do this, but when you’re looking at all these different issues, maybe it’s better to take less alimony as long as you confirm right away that the debt will get paid off immediately.

Aviva Pinto: Right? Take a lump sum payment.

Seth Nelson: Take a lump sum payment. Or instead of getting, I’m making up numbers, instead of getting $5,000 a month, you’ll take 3000. But immediately there’s a cash account that we want these credit cards paid off for. And we’re going to treat that as a prepayment of alimony, but the cards get paid off right away. And it’s all done right away. And you have control of that. Or maybe you take a little less retirement, which I know financial planners cringe at, but you take a little less retired. She’s like, Aviva’s like break out.

Pete Wright: I think she’s quivering right now. Yeah.

Seth Nelson: But that’s long term thinking that, because look, you need money now you’ll need money in retirement. But sometimes it just feels like we’re the clays scene I’m starting fresh. I don’t have as much as retirement. It will grow over time. I’m only in my 30s or 40s, not in my 60s. So maybe I have the time to build it. See I’m making Aviva feel better, because I gave more time for growth on the retirement but that’s how you kind of can work those different scenarios. And then you’re not dragging on, on the legal issues over, over, he’s not paying or she’s not paying the alimony. I got to go back to court on time. I got to pay the attorneys, and so you can think that through.

Aviva Pinto: And the other thing you can do is you can do a financial plan where it takes a look at the various options. So what is the present value of getting the lump sum now versus the future value of getting the alimony and what is the present value of my retirement account versus taking it out of the savings, et cetera. And so you can do that cost basis analysis and see the best way to go. So-

Seth Nelson: Okay. Hold on Aviva, you just made that sound easy. So here’s the struggle, like I’m just going to take the present value of your alimony that you get paid out over 10 years and you’re getting $500 a month and it’s $6,000 a year and let’s do it by 10 that’s, $60,000. Do the present value. Okay. So what I think Aviva is saying Pete, is that, look, if you’re going to get alimony for 10 years, I’m making up a number, going to make it easy. You’re going to get $100,000, right? What is that money worth today?

Aviva Pinto: That’s what the present value calculation is because what you’re looking at is what you get today is going to be worth a lot more than what you’re going to get five years down the road because of inflation. And as you know, inflation is going up we used to put 2.1% as our estimate for inflation in all of our financial plans. And now we’re putting 2.5%. So there’s an expectation that inflation is going to be higher going forward, and so anything that you’re buying today is going to cost you more tomorrow. You’ve seen it in the grocery stores, you’ve seen it with your gasoline prices every time you fill up your car and so it is even though you look at it and you say, well I’m only getting $10,000 of this $100,000 this year, over the next 10 years. If I take the $100,000 right now, it would be worth more to me than if I took $10,000 each year for 10 years, because those $10,000 every year is not adjusted for inflation. So basically what you’re doing is you’re looking at what’s it worth today versus what it would be worth in the future. And you look at present value.

Seth Nelson: And there’s a lot of assumptions on that number. What’s your rate of return, all this stuff. But my point is this, some people that are listening, this was like, well, wait a minute. I’m financially illiterate. I know Seth is telling me and Pete’s telling me and Aviva’s telling me I can learn it, but I’m a little nervous if, about getting 100 grand today because I don’t want to blow it and I’m going to need this over the next 10 years. Maybe it’s better to get a little bit over time so I can learn this along the way, which is certainly a reasonable approach. There’s assumptions there. One, is that you’re actually going to get the payments over time. And two, that you understand it might not be worth more if you get $10 or $100 or $60 today, and it can fill up your tank, it’s not going to fill up your tank five years from now because gas will go up. There’s all these assumptions built in. But part of dealing with money is how are you emotionally tied to it? Does it make you nervous? Are you not sure? So you have to think about the psychological aspects of what makes you more comfortable and that may or may not conflict with what’s best financially for you. If you’re just running the numbers and that struggle can be hard. And that’s where the teaching comes and that’s where you want to become literate, because then you’ll get more comfortable with these decisions.

Aviva Pinto: And that’s why it takes a team because you’ve got your matrimonial attorney, that’s dealing with the legal aspects of the separation, but divorce comes down to two things. One is custody and one is money. So if you have a financial person, that’s part of your team and on your side, they can help you get up that learning curve and understand it a lot faster than if you’re just going it on your own.

Seth Nelson: I just like that. Aviva calls us the matrimonial attorneys. I just-

Pete Wright: I know it’s so classy. Yeah. Is that like way too classy for this crew right on this?

Seth Nelson: Right, literally I’m a divorce attorney and people are like, oh my God. Right. You know? And she makes it sound so nice.

Pete Wright: She does. She makes it sound so nice. Well, and I just want to remind people that just because we were talking about present value of money and present value of debt is the other thing. If you haven’t gotten your nice emails from your credit holder saying, Hey, the interest rate’s going up, don’t worry, we’ll be fine, but we’re going to be charging you more each month for the debt that you hold with us. Remember that too, that debt is getting only more expensive right now. Aviva, thank you. You’re a class act.

Aviva Pinto: My pleasure. It’s great to be honored.

Pete Wright: Tell us a little bit about where people can find out what you do.

Aviva Pinto: So I am @Aviva A-V-I-V-A.Pinto P-I-N-T-O @wealthspire, W-E-A-L-T-H-S-P-I-R-E.com. And our website is www.wealthspire.com. You can also look for me on LinkedIn and just do a Google search and you come up with a lot of information that I’ve put out there.

Seth Nelson: So where are you now? And do you work locally or, or all over the country? What’s your scope there?

Aviva Pinto: We are a national firm. We’re a registered investment advisory firm. We have $20 billion under management. I am based in the New York office and we remote into wherever anybody’s dining room, living room, kitchen is, and we can help them wherever they are. We also have international clients. So it doesn’t matter. I do work with local matrimonial attorneys. Each person has to have their, or I’ll call them divorce attorney, whatever you’d like to be called.

Seth Nelson: Now, we’re talking, [crosstalk 00:36:51].

Aviva Pinto: I do work with divorce attorneys across the country, as you know, everybody has to have somebody who is from their state so that they are filing in every law, every state and even within states, there are various different laws and jurisdictions. So very important to have them be local to the area, but I can do the financial part of it nationally.

Pete Wright: That’s perfect. Thank you so much for being here for helping folks, and we’ll put all the links, everybody in the show notes. Thank you for downloading and listening to this show. We appreciate you being a regular subscriber on behalf of Aviva Pinto and Seth Nelson, America’s favorite divorce attorney, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll catch you next week right here on How To Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships.

Speaker 4: Seth Nelson is an attorney with Nelson Koster Family Law and Mediation with offices in Tampa, Florida. While we may be discussing family law topics, How To Split a Toaster is not intended to nor is it providing legal advice. Every situation is different. If you have specific questions regarding your situation, please seek your own legal counsel with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. Pete Wright is not an attorney or employee of Nelson Koster. Seth Nelson is licensed to practice law in Florida.

Seth Nelson is a Tampa based family lawyer known for devising creative solutions to difficult problems. In How to Split a Toaster, Nelson and co-host Pete Wright take on the challenge of divorce with a central objective — saving your most important relationships with your family, your former spouse, and yourself.