We often use the example of the fictitious Eric and Melanie Wolf’s divorce, but today our focus is on Melanie and her lifestyle before and after divorce. We are joined by a financial expert who specializes in advising high-net-worth women during the divorce process, and after. Olivia Summerhill is a divorce financial consultant, with a background in portfolio and wealth management, working as a private banker at JP Morgan.
She shares her process and common themes that arise when clients first approach her, offers her wisdom on identifying your top five values and acting in accordance with them, and describes what she means by a lifestyle analysis. Hear why Olivia chooses to always be blunt when advising clients, and find out where you can discover valuable resources to support your journey, like Olivia's Divorce for Wealthy Women Podcast.
Key Points From This Episode:
What is Divorce at Altitude?
Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.
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DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES.
Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya
Amy Goscha (6s):
And. I am Amy Goscha
Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to the Divorce at Altitude. A Podcast on Colorado Family Law.
Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me I. know Besides. being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a Divorce client.
Ryan Kalamaya (20s):
Whether, you are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney. listen in for weekly tips and insight into topics related to Divorce, Co, Parenting and Separation in Colorado. Welcome Back to another episode of Divorce at Altitude. This is your co-host Ryan Kalamaya. We frequently mentioned Eric Wolf in our podcast episodes and we don't have as much attention laid to Melanie Wolf, but this week we're gonna talk about Melanie Wolf's lifestyle and how her lifestyle before, during, and after the Divorce can come up and examined.
Ryan Kalamaya (1m 4s):
And we're joined by a financial expert who specializes in advising the Melanie Wolfs of the world and specifically with ultra Wealthy women going through a Divorce. So Olivia Summerhill is, as I said, a financial consultant and Olivia, why don't we, before we kind of talk about before, during, and after the Divorce, can you give our listeners a little idea of your background and what you do?
Olivia Summerhill (1m 31s):
Yeah, so you said a great introduction. I work specifically with ultra high Net worth women in the midst of Divorce or right post Divorce with all those financial decisions that they have to make for the first time in their lives. And my past experience, I wasn't specifically in Divorce, but it was with portfolio management and wealth management as an advisor as well as a private banker at JP Morgan. So my experience is in the financial realm, And I know that most people start to have this anxiety when we talk about finance and money. So I'm here today with you to talk about the Melanies of the world and really try to alleviate that fear and that anxiety, especially when it comes to Divorce on top of the finances.
Olivia Summerhill (2m 15s):
So this is my world that I love. So hopefully we have some fun conversations today.
Ryan Kalamaya (2m 20s):
Yeah. So let's get into it. Melanie Wolf, we, you know, have her hypothetical Divorce story and if she comes in to see me or you before she wants to Divorce and as recording this, it's November. It's a common month for people to start, you know, thinking about Divorce but they actually don't follow through. Oftentimes it's, I wanna wait until the holidays. So you know, Melanie comes in Olivia and, and it's before the Divorce. So what are the things that you frequently see specifically when it, you know, relates to the lifestyle that she's led and the fears that she has about the Divorce and how that might change her lifestyle?
Olivia Summerhill (3m 3s):
So there's a ton of fears of, the first that I get the most is just, can I even get divorced? Like I don't know where the money is, I have no clue where the accounts are. I don't know what he does every day. Can I get divorced from Eric? Right? We're gonna keep that same scenario and will I need to move? Are my kids gonna, I literally just yesterday had this conversation with someone about the kids' college education funds. So I know I wanna touch on that today cuz that is prevalent in everyone's mind is do I have to move? But what about in 10 years when they go to college? Or what about the kids? And do they have to have two houses and what is that gonna look like and is there another woman in his life, in my husband's life, you know, that's absolutely happens all the time when they come to me as a Consultation before they actually make that move.
Olivia Summerhill (3m 51s):
And just like you were saying, Ryan, I think it typically right before the holidays is when the conversation has been moving the momentum's going forward. But we're not gonna see a lot of divorces right around the holidays. It's usually January.
Ryan Kalamaya (4m 6s):
Yeah. And there's various reasons for Divorce, but I mean we've seen some market volatility and, and maybe a change in lifestyle if, if someone loses their job or the market goes down and there is that change in lifestyle that can create pressure as, as I'm sure you see. So can you maybe comment on, you know, the moving and the financial implications that might be attendant to moving and refinancing?
Olivia Summerhill (4m 32s):
Yes. So of course we're all aware of interest rates and the values of house is changing. So that's a valid fear as well is can I even afford to change to a new house and will my lifestyle change and here's what all my friends are saying and this is what family are telling me to do. So the best thing that at least what I do in my world and, and this is all I do in my world, is get in the right people with that client at the right time. So that might be having a realtor that works in a luxury field that understands what you're going through and that specializes in Divorce. That might mean getting mortgage experts in to see if that lifestyle can be similar with a different house in the same market area.
Olivia Summerhill (5m 20s):
Cuz we all wanna keep our same lifestyles during and post Divorce and that education piece is just getting the right people involved because we need you on our team, right? Like that's why you're here. Ryan is to educate clients about the law and then bring in experts when we need to and different parts and interest rates. Like that's something that we all have never experienced in the last few years of such a great market. So that's gonna change lifestyle and expectations. And going back to the friend thing, we really, you're gonna hear a lot in Divorce. So Melanie is probably hearing stuff from all of her friends on what to do and family, And, I am a huge advocate in bringing the experts in.
Olivia Summerhill (6m 0s):
Friends are gonna be great to get you through a Divorce, but bringing experts that actually know exactly what you should do next in your situation is gonna be imperative.
Ryan Kalamaya (6m 8s):
Yeah. Two things in response to that. One is that just to put things in perspective, at least when we're recording this, in November of 2022 a year ago or or within 18 months, we were you know, having the lowest interest rates on record and for mortgages and now we're at the highest in the last 20 years And, I'm sure Olivia you see it where I have a conversation with Melanie where she'll say I really want the house and we'll figure out with, you know, someone like you to determine whether or not that makes sense and we're getting into the Divorce, but you know, staying within before the Divorce, it really is a shocker for Melanie when we have to discuss you're gonna ultimately have to refinance and the the cost of that house is gonna be dramatically higher.
Ryan Kalamaya (6m 56s):
But the second point which I really I can't emphasize more is the kind of the, you know, I'm a advocate or a sports fan and this sideline quarterback where where the Monday morning you know coach where you know they've got the friends that are saying well I got this and you should get that. And like that is one of the most difficult things, especially with high Net worth women where they all generally hang out together or their social network is really defined by the kind of the wealth that they may have. And you know, comparing yourself to your friends is a real challenge in expectations for a Divorce.
Ryan Kalamaya (7m 37s):
So maybe can you kind of explain a little bit more about the expectations heading into a Divorce?
Olivia Summerhill (7m 43s):
I think the expectation, and you said a great job with the country club society is imperative to hold to a certain standard and it's very hard when you're the one going through the Divorce and no one understands how terrifying it is and how much you are scared. Like Melanie is terrified that she's gonna lose that country club lifestyle as well as the friends that are associated. Cuz you can't talk about this to everyone. It's really not an easy conversation to talk about with friends saying, oh I, I have no clue what to do financially and I'm about to get divorced or potentially I'm talking about it and is that gonna change my lifestyle and will these friends still be there for me?
Olivia Summerhill (8m 26s):
So that expectation of maybe I need to know my options and understand where I sit, that will help guide where you go into the Divorce and also who is gonna stay around with you as friends because you wanna keep your same lifestyle in that same circle and social network that's very important at this level of money and wealth and there's enough already anxiety throughout the Divorce process that keeping that part of the lifestyle is really important. So having the experts around the table and getting you the right answers is gonna be really helpful so that you have people to talk to as well. Cause most of the times women come to me And, they have not said a word to one of their friends, not a word.
Olivia Summerhill (9m 7s):
And that's then once they start talking about it is when they get advice from friends And they compare an expectation and that's when it gets really messy.
Ryan Kalamaya (9m 17s):
And I think that a lot of women, at least in my experience in in, in representing the Melanie wolfs out there is that they may be reluctant because they feel judged or that it's petty or, but it nevertheless is important. And, I think that the fears of am I going to have enough and are my children going to be okay if they're children involved? And most importantly is my lifestyle going to change? Those are the questions and the fears really at the beginning of a Divorce that we see. So what's your general guidance Olivia with Melanie Wolf when she's asked, is my lifestyle going to change?
Ryan Kalamaya (10m 1s):
And just in explaining the economics of Divorce,
Olivia Summerhill (10m 5s):
The very first thing that we do is, at least in my world is we get to a point of listening. So I'm there listening to what's going on in her life because most of the time she hasn't had that support again because it has been a secret or she is fearful of being judged or she's already talked about it and she's getting bad advice or expectation-wise, she feels like she has to do something cuz a friend did it. So when I first meet with clients it's just listening and having someone who understands the world of Divorce because a lot of times what you see is when you get up into different tiers of assets, you have a smaller network and it gets smaller and smaller the more you have.
Olivia Summerhill (10m 45s):
So when you get to half a billion dollars in assets, that's a whole different club than a hundred million and above and you can't talk to many people. So first things is listening and then it's kind of counterintuitive and we'll talk about this for post Divorce as well, but I bring in what are the values, you know, what are her top values? Because when you go into a Divorce and we're talking about keeping the house or what do we want to do with the children and, and also college planning and really lifestyle changes, what is her top five values out of 50 to a hundred values we go through and we actually analyze together as a team and really understand who she is as a valued person and where she wants to go within the Divorce process if she gets divorced.
Olivia Summerhill (11m 33s):
Cuz sometimes women come to me like the melies of the world and it makes no sense to Divorce at this specific time. I'm very blunt in how I work so I don't sugarcoat things. And I think at that asset level. Most people are used to professionals sugarcoating and telling them what they want to hear. And I don't. So sometimes it does does make sense to stay in a relationship and get support with psychologist or someone who is marriage counseling or it makes sense to go to a tax advisor to talk about implications of international sales of something that they're doing on the side as a couple first before going to the Divorce rum. So it's not always talking about the Divorce and expectation of lifestyle cuz sometimes they need to stay together but that's a different conversation perhaps values are important.
Ryan Kalamaya (12m 21s):
Yeah and we'll get into values. I mean there was a Wall Street Journal article just recently about the cost of Divorce and inflation and market volatility and one of the points in the article was about how people living together through a Divorce is more common just because the monetary savings. And you know, if we're talking in the your realm that you know, if someone has one, oftentimes there'll be multiple houses or if the house is large enough, you know, someone will be in one wing or the other. But let's get into during the Divorce Olivia. So one of the things that I frequently see is Eric Wolf will just go to Melanie and say listen, we can cut out the lawyers and just tell me a number, what do you want?
Ryan Kalamaya (13m 5s):
Because there might be some major complexities could drag out because he could be a venture capitalist or a business owner. There might be some assets that are really, really difficult to value and cost a lot. So how, you know, will you help Melanie or can you kind of give us a rundown of the analysis of what happens when Mel Melanie comes to you and says, listen Eric said just tell me a number. What what should I do?
Olivia Summerhill (13m 32s):
I love this topic because there is someone listening here today who this is exactly what they're going through. They have no clue where to turn and that's absolutely what I see all the time is they are given a choice like hey tell me what you need And. I will do it. Let's not spend tens of thousands every few days on lawyers. Let's bypass that. And that's where when we have too many options and we don't know what options are where we get paralyzed and that's where the felonies don't know what to do. And that's where I come in and say okay, one thing we're gonna listen, what's the story? What do we need to talk about here? What are your values?
Olivia Summerhill (14m 12s):
Okay, where do you wanna be long-term if you were to get divorced? And then jumping into, let's get into the nitty gritty, let's actually find out what assets there are and if it does make sense cause we love options but we don't wanna have too many options or else again we get paralyzed. Especially when it comes to money, finances, personal situations. So if there's, let's say Eric is a venture capitalist and some of the assets are either tied up or they're potentially not gonna be shown cuz there's some things that don't allow us to see the full picture. That's when I also have that conversation of here's some options and here's some some roads that we can go on.
Olivia Summerhill (14m 53s):
You're in the driver's seat Melanie, I'm in the passenger seat. I will not let you make big red flag mistakes but I will give you the options and you get to guide yourself and you have the control on where you wanna go so you're not paralyzed anymore. She's gonna make a decision but she at least has options because one of those roads could be making it even more of a complex Divorce getting the right attorneys involved. But then 15 other members of the team, which are business evaluators, people who can go in and find hidden assets, getting really, really involved in family businesses and whatever are things we need to go and that could drag on a Divorce for years if we know that.
Olivia Summerhill (15m 32s):
So that's an option though, right? And other options are really giving Eric a number. And then the last one is really talking through what other options are there cuz there's always at least two to three options. And I don't have an answer cuz every single case is different and every single client is different. But options but not too many is always where I like to go in a Divorce setting.
Ryan Kalamaya (15m 56s):
Yeah, from my perspective there's kind of three main paths for Melanie in that situation. She may be fine just determining what her lifestyle is and then you with the guidance of someone like you and you know me as we could say, listen this is how much you would need to maintain the lifestyle that you have. And we can do kind of cash flow and Monte Carlo analysis and all these different financial modeling and we can pick a number and that could be palatable to to Eric and that could be an easy solution. The downside to that particular option is that it could be stunning to Eric and it might be way more than what he is thinking.
Ryan Kalamaya (16m 39s):
And when you do that at the very beginning, it can result in some unnecessary conflict. And when you try to settle a case, you know prematurely, that is one of the the main risks. The other risk is that Melanie made later on if it's, you know, for example a venture capitalist where there could be some interest that in two years just blows up. And same thing with like a business owner or you know any one of those kind of asset classes later on she might get Divorce remorse and say, you know, I regret he has so much more money than I was fine at the time but I'm regretting what I did. But that's, you know, there's some pros and cons to that.
Ryan Kalamaya (17m 20s):
The middle ground is the second option and that's, you could go through preliminarily, kind of look at some values, use Zillow for real estate or some other kind of, you know, back of the napkin kind of analysis. And then, but the third option is if Melanie wants to fully know what all is valued and wants every dollar accounted for is she's gonna have to wait and there's not gonna be a particular number. It's gonna be based on what we value. So I think it really depends on her perspective. I don't know if you have any additional thoughts on that.
Olivia Summerhill (17m 57s):
Yeah, the lifestyle analysis, I really, really enjoy doing that cuz it sets her up for success on knowing where she's at. Cuz most people I would say 99.8% or more maybe don't know how much they spend, right? So getting a lifestyle analysis completed at the very least for her own knowledge is awesome. The idea, I do agree with you that you have to be strategic. I'm collaboratively trained, And I, love making the Divorce go from up here, high tension to let's folks have a peace of mind that we're both gonna be taken care of and be collaborative on this process.
Olivia Summerhill (18m 38s):
And sometimes if you bring to Eric the wrong high number saying that that's her lifestyle, here's a number, let's just Divorce, let's not make this complicated without bringing in the right experts that can backfire. So I always like to bring in the right experts at the beginning, even if we're not gonna be drawing out a Divorce and doing all the business valuations and bringing in experts for years or let's just say a few months of intense analysis, at least having the right numbers. Absolutely agree. She needs to know just the basics and have that as an option.
Ryan Kalamaya (19m 12s):
Yeah. Switching gears a little bit, can you maybe talk about during a Divorce when there's a particular kind of investment strategy that Eric has employed, you know a common methodology or common strategy is 60 40, so he could have their investments Melanie and Eric's investments in 60% equities or stocks and in 40% in bonds or you know, some sort of extreme. Can you maybe talk about things that Melanie might want to keep in mind as she goes through the Divorce?
Olivia Summerhill (19m 44s):
So I'll explain the 60 40 is you did a great job. Yeah, 60% is mostly stocks and so what I like to say is that's more aggressive and then 40% is more conservative. So that pie chart equals a hundred percent and that's typical. So we'll just stick with the 60 40 and you should expect that if some parts of that portfolio are doing really bad, other parts might be helping. So there's a teeter totter in a way that will get you to long term goals of whatever you're looking for, but there's gonna be volatility no matter what. And especially right now there is and in a Divorce that complicates everything of course.
Olivia Summerhill (20m 25s):
So we're seeing that and just like you were saying that Wall Street Journal article is talking about that and and everyone's talking about it of course, and I've written articles about it as well. And, I'm sure you've been asked to speak to reporters about it too. Like there's a lot of things going on where divorces are being more expensive, they're going through and, and it is still really expensive to have a Divorce but on on top of that, when your portfolio goes down there's less money to go around. So how do you deal with that? That's conversations you have to have as a couple or with the lawyers and the team all around you and the financial professionals. Cause if the market's down, do you want to sell? Do you want to transfer assets?
Olivia Summerhill (21m 6s):
Do you want to have Eric have to change that portfolio? Let's say it's a 10 million very basic 60 40 at his normal retirement company. We're just gonna go very basic here. Do we need to change it from a 60 40 to a really more conservative portfolio during the Divorce process because we don't want it to fluctuate even more and potentially go down more. I personally, 60 40 is already a pretty evenly distributed portfolio so that we could maybe talk about if he has a very aggressive portfolio, changing that to more conservative, that is absolutely an option and that should be talked about and discussed with Melanie and her team.
Ryan Kalamaya (21m 48s):
Yeah, And I think that if Eric, it obviously depends on what the circumstances were during the lifestyle which relates to the lifestyle. But certainly if Eric is doing planning during the marriage and he invests particular amount, you know, I mean cryptocurrency means really highly volatile. you know, I went on a ski trip with these kind of Crypto billionaires, And I, don't think that there are billionaires anymore because that would I know we've had kind of entered into a Crypto winter. But you know when you're Melanie might not wanna ride that rollercoaster anymore. She might be totally done with it. But in terms of preservation at capital, I mean one of the examples in that Wall Street Journal article, and I've seen this where the wife was originally supposed to get 2 million in an investment portfolio, it went down to 1.8 because the market just recently and then they basically just redid the Divorce agreement and so they each equally split.
Ryan Kalamaya (22m 46s):
And when you divide those in kind and you equally split that portfolio, both people have kind of the allocation of risk, you know individually that is the same.
Olivia Summerhill (22m 58s):
You can get really creative and divorced as we both know. So that's an option. There's so many different ways to go about it. And, I also have those billionaire Bitcoin friends and it, it is a different world getting into that kind of strategies and what do they have to do during the Divorce process for that is is a whole different ballgame. Let's go into the analogy there. But for most people right now it is a conversation of okay, what risk do I wanna take? What risk is fair for both of us? Because if it's gonna go down and up, are we going to be valuing the assets right before the settlement again? Like when are we gonna be valuing to make sure that we both have that same agreement as six months ago when it was a different number?
Olivia Summerhill (23m 42s):
So that's all good conversations to have. Have And I hope. I'm gonna pause here. I hope everyone listening is taking a deep breath because again, we're talking about Divorce and finances, which is scary topic for most people and validating that feeling. If you feel any feelings right now, that's okay. That's why you have these conversations and that's why you're listening to these podcasts.
Ryan Kalamaya (24m 6s):
And you mentioned taking a deep breath, which I love Olivia and that brings up pausing or taking your time and one of the things I've observed is that the longer a Divorce drags out, generally the more unhappy people become with the process, it costs them more. And you know, some people will, Melanie might not emotionally be ready at the very beginning, but can you maybe talk about some of the financial implications of, you know, sometimes it might be in Melanie's interest to, you know, take her time. So can you maybe talk about some of those Scenarios?
Olivia Summerhill (24m 42s):
Yes. So that's one of the things is women coming to me like Melanie saying I don't know where the assets are, I don't know if I can get divorced. What are my best options? I'm just terrified of making the wrong decisions. What do I do? What's the next step? So that's a little different than maybe, again going back to maybe Divorce is not the right time because if Eric is making a very good sum of money and we know that there's something coming up in the next six months to a year or two, maybe it's not the right time with the market situation to be trying to make decisions like a Divorce. But then there's other part is happiness and behavioral financial aspect is, is it worth staying in a marriage, just like you're saying Ryan like is it worth dragging out a Divorce where both parties are not happy, it's affecting the children, you are wasting potentially a lot more money on the the professionals.
Olivia Summerhill (25m 41s):
And that goes into you need to know yourself, you need to know your values, you need to understand what is your breaking point and is it worth staying in a marriage if he is helping support you financially or is it better to have a team around you, get through that fear and start a new life post Divorce potentially with a little different lifestyle change. I don't know, that's for her to decide. Melanie we're talking about again and going through that is really difficult by yourself. I don't know if you can do it. I would love to say it's a a good thing to bring in other people cuz people will help you through that and make the right decisions. So that's where I say bring in attorneys, bring in those experts, bring in the financial people and really understand who you are as a person and where you wanna go and if it's worth staying in a marriage or going,
Ryan Kalamaya (26m 30s):
Yeah and and to emphasize some of the issues that you just raised, I think one thing that Melanie needs to realize is that her lifestyle during the Divorce, I mean there's the emotional lifestyle but then there's also just the, the financials involved with her lifestyle during the Divorce, And I think people, they don't understand, you know, how much it can cost when you have lawyers and experts. That's a temporary impact but it is a financial reality that is going to impact someone's lifestyle. And if someone's, if Melanie's lifestyle was was or they're them together during the marriage, if they were overspending and that's one of the reasons for the Divorce, then they're, you know, maybe gonna have to change during the Divorce.
Ryan Kalamaya (27m 18s):
And that's something that I think, you know, the fact from fiction because, because inevitably Eric is gonna claim he has Divorce flu, that his business is worthless, that he can't make to save money, especially after the market that we've kind of seen the run up that we've seen. And so trying to advise Melanie I think is one of the more difficult things during a Divorce is hey these loans that he's claiming are due or this downturn, is this real or is this, you know, just completely made up And, I think that when there's this lack of trust, that is when it gets even more difficult.
Olivia Summerhill (27m 54s):
But that's why you bring in the experts because then you can rely on someone else who has a very, very conflict free interest in the parties and either as just a neutral or as an advocate, they're gonna be able to give you answers instead of it just being, going back to the beginning, the friends who say you should just take it all or you should do this or that. And those shoulds can really get you into trouble if you have the wrong expectation because if you have the expert they should be like how I run my business, which is very blunt and very honest and open and hey you are gonna have to change this or that and here's your options, let's talk about it and how that makes you feel.
Olivia Summerhill (28m 35s):
It's gonna be conversations and hopefully you get the right people involved.
Ryan Kalamaya (28m 38s):
Yeah. Well let's switch gears again and talk about after the Divorce. You mentioned values. Can you maybe talk about how values will drive Melanie's decision after the Divorce?
Olivia Summerhill (28m 53s):
Yeah, so I'm huge component in knowing who you are as a person and who you want to be and sticking with those values. So when you look at values, let's just for example say maybe family is a value and independence and freedom is a value now and philanthropic giving is a value or something of that nature you can go into, ecology is a value. You can go into so many, there's so many 50 to a hundred I go through with clients. So getting to that specific top few and then at the end of the Divorce being able to look at those which I have my clients like Melanie actually post it in their car on their fridge, in their bathrooms so that they're during the Divorce process, not fighting for no reason and actually alleviating some of that stress because they know their values and it's not to win during the Divorce most of the time I don't think I've ever had someone have that as their top five value, but post Divorce guiding her, so just like that car example, I'm into sailing.
Olivia Summerhill (29m 55s):
So I, let's just say we're in a sailboat and we're going one way and we're going around to go to this really exotic beautiful island and there's another island to the left. So on port side, like do we wanna go to that island or this one? There's two options and your values can guide you through that water and decide where you wanna end up in Melanie's new life. So if she is, let's say philanthropically inclined and she also has children and families, very important, how does that look post Divorce? How does that look? I don't know, that's every single person's different. So it really, it will guide her though for the next three to five years, short term, but also five to 10 years.
Olivia Summerhill (30m 35s):
And maybe her values will change and she can play that game as much as she needs to. And again, we're just talking about Melanie, but it would be really beneficial for Eric as well. And every professional listening to this, it's really helpful to know your own values as well. Just that's the value, right?
Ryan Kalamaya (30m 52s):
Yeah. And I think that's so critical because when you focus on your own values and you stay true to those, you know the envy and the grass is always greener perspective that it kind of wards off that or shields you because Melanie, the reality may be that if Eric is a, you know, a very successful businessman or venture capitalist or someone in that realm that we've kind of referred to in three to five years, his lifestyle may be greater than hers and because he's just able to make so much more money than Melanie and that should be incorporated into a Divorce.
Ryan Kalamaya (31m 32s):
But there could be for example a premarital agreement that is in play that just doesn't, it limits the options in a Divorce. It could also just be the reality if Erickson is forties and he's in the prime of his career, he's gonna continue to make a lot of money and that lifestyle compared to Melanie's, she could get very bitter. But if she focuses on her values then you know she's gonna be happy regardless of what Eric is doing on his end.
Olivia Summerhill (32m 3s):
Yeah, I have a great example of a client like Melanie who her soon to be ex, so they're right at the Divorce divorcing situation, very, very end. And I got involved right at that time period and she ended up wanting to, he was a very, very big successful CEO of a bank and she had the bulletproof cars and the very expensive taste in a lot of items in life and she liked her lifestyle and she knew to, you talked about bitter, she knew that she could work in his building as a hostess in one of the restaurants where all of his teams would see him cuz he's the big shot, right?
Olivia Summerhill (32m 46s):
And it would embarrass him and that would be her post Divorce getting back at him and and having that conversation, listening to that conversation, then going over eventually the values and is that really her top five values is becoming that bitter person who she doesn't wanna be and and living that is that really the right thing for her? She decided against it. And, I hope that this at least shows the melies of the world that are listening potentially that that's okay to have those thoughts. Like if you wanna get back at him, I get it and I'm here to listen and not judge that. But is that really in three to five years, do you really wanna be a hostess trying to embarrass him year after year? Is that really what's best for you?
Olivia Summerhill (33m 27s):
That's where the values come into play.
Ryan Kalamaya (33m 29s):
Yeah and there's so many different types of stories or anecdotes and a meme. I get sent divorced, you know, memes all the time and there was one where the guy sent His wife, his ex-wife, a check for his alimony in the check, the physical check had a picture of him and a new wife and it was because he's just so bitter about cutting that check, which it is brings up the issue of inflation and support and after a Divorce. So you know, Olivia, how should Melanie think about support if she's getting alimony or in Colorado spousal maintenance when we're dealing with some, you know, high inflation market conditions.
Ryan Kalamaya (34m 12s):
And that may be something that she doesn't even really think about. So what should Melanie be thinking about when it comes to support And inflation?
Olivia Summerhill (34m 20s):
So that's where I come in with the options and then making sure that the red flags are addressed. Cause a lot of people don't even think about that with their whole team during the Divorce process cuz it is a new topic and it's financially related. So I'm glad you're bringing that up. This is great conversation for me. And that's where we go into the options is, okay, spouse support, separate maintenance, maintenance, alimony, however we wanna say it cause I work across the US and globally, but every place says it a little different. So however it's said in your area, I really want to think about is even that the best option? I mean is there other options, right? But let's just say we take spousal support for what it is and that's what she's going to be wanting to look like and and have and what is that going to be affected by with inflation that absolutely needs to be taken into consideration.
Olivia Summerhill (35m 15s):
The thing is And, I pause here. I love pausing in the Divorce and really looking at the whole picture and going slow and bringing up all the strategies because when we talk about behavioral finance and the psychology of money, we really wanna make sure that, like you addressed earlier, Ryan, if we brought a number about our lifestyle analysis for Melanie to him and it was way too high that could explode the Divorce into a really, really big fight, that's not what she wants or him. So when we talk about spousal support maintenance, Aly, if we're gonna talk about inflation and we're gonna ask for more and have that option on the table, we need to know how his triggers are, how he will react.
Olivia Summerhill (35m 60s):
Is that a good idea? Is that her best option? What are the other options? Is lump sum better? What are we looking at? What does she need to survive? What does she need to have a really good lifestyle? All of this is taken into consideration because you don't wanna just say yes, you need to adjust it for inflation and put this number on it and times it by whatever and get all financially related. You have to take the emotions into it. So that's my long-winded answer there.
Ryan Kalamaya (36m 25s):
Well, the, to take a step back and if Melanie is listening to this discussion, you know, just to explain if she's gonna get $10,000 a month for 10 years in alimony than in 10 years, that $10,000 per month is essentially gonna be worth less. And so there could be some sort of $10,000 plus some sort of index, the consumer c p i, you know, where it goes up each year in terms of how much inflation is. But I think that that brings up the final point Olivia, that we wanted to just make sure and touch on. I mean we could talk about this all day long, no doubt, but life insurance, one of the, i I think it's helpful for Melanie to have some tips and, and one of the tips that we discussed before recording this was in connection with life insurance.
Olivia Summerhill (37m 17s):
Yep. You always wanna make sure, especially in high Net worth families, the life insurance is protected in the right realm if you have children especially, and you know what's going to be happening if one of the person's on the insurance policy passes who's paying for it most of the time, I would just say have it in a trust. You have trustees, you have people watching out for this and you know what's going on with the insurance and who's paying it so that it does not ever lapse. And the ex who's potentially bitter about paying doesn't just forget to pay one year and then you aren't protected as Melanie, let's just say. And that goes into a lot of other insurance topics, which I, in the realm of finance and insurance I am an expert in.
Olivia Summerhill (38m 3s):
I do not think though that every family situation needs every type of insurance. So really having, again, bringing in an expert and having them look at what has been going on for the years during the marriage with insurance and really valuing what's necessary to move forward. So having an analysis I know that's adding another little task to the list, but life insurance, property insurance, all these different things, umbrella insurance, all of that adds up to really being a good idea to look at at during the Divorce. And you have to get all the information anyways. So doing an analysis with a professional team is helpful, or having it in the right place where people are watching your insurance and protecting you is helpful as well.
Ryan Kalamaya (38m 49s):
Well to kind of bring a close to this episode, Olivia, I'm curious, you mentioned Psychology of Money, it's one of the, it's a New York Times bestseller, you know, book. I just read it, it was interesting. If Melanie is interested in learning more about just finance and, and money and, and all of those things, are there podcasts? I mean you have a podcast which we'll have links to in the show notes, but are there blogs or books or other resources that you frequently recommend for people that wanna learn more about, you know, Melanie's circumstance or Melanie wants to educate herself on, you know, the financials involved after a Divorce or even during a Divorce?
Olivia Summerhill (39m 32s):
Yeah, I have a lot of resources on my website because a lot of times I only work with such few amount of women. A lot of times it's a great resource for people to see what it is to have Divorce and money and psychology of money and money coaching. What does that really do? Looking at my own patterns and money and the emotions of investing. So on my resource tab and my website, it's the Summerhill firm or look up my name and go to my website on the resource tab. But the psychology of money, the Dr. <unk>, I'm a part of the financial executive circle and this is all we love talking about. So anytime anyone has a question, they can always reach out. And I can get them to the right person as well if they need a resource within the psychology of money or wanna learn more.
Ryan Kalamaya (40m 17s):
Well, we'll have links to all that in the show notes if listeners are interested in, in learning more. Olivia, thank you for the time. It's been valuable and interesting for, for me to kind of compare notes. I mean, we can talk about, you know, Tom Brady and Gisele and various lifestyles and jet setting, you know, here and there. But I think ultimately it's the psychology and the behavior that is very consistent across the board for people like, you know, Melanie, women like Melanie, going through a Divorce And, they concerns about the lifestyle. And I'm hopeful that at least one woman out there that has listened to this show is helped or another attorney and you know, can you maybe talk to the, some of the attorneys that might be listening about the services that you and your firm provide.
Olivia Summerhill (41m 6s):
I just come in within the financial realm and help guide women. So the Melanie, there's very much of the time it's in the alone spot and the Melanies don't know where to go. And so I love working with Divorce attorneys, celebrity attorneys that can help through this process. And everyone knows a Melanie and hopefully they're getting to the right people. So the support system around them is imperative so that they're not listening to friends. So I love the professionals that I work with in the United States and elsewhere.
Ryan Kalamaya (41m 39s):
Well, I think one thing that's different about you Olivia, is that you don't actually take on people after the Divorce. You just help them in the Divorce process because of the potential for conflict of interest, which I think is a great insight in terms of how you're gonna really focus on, on the benefits of the, of the client. So thank you for the the time and again, we'll have show notes or we'll have links in the show notes. And until next time, thanks for joining us on Davos Altitude.
Olivia Summerhill (42m 8s):
Thanks for having me.
Ryan Kalamaya (42m 9s):
Hey everyone, this is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight, or discussion helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast. For show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode, visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me Kalamaya.law or 970-315-2365. That's K A L A M A Y A.law.