• How long have you been working in the financial industry?
I have been providing financial advice and helping people manage their wealth and investment portfolios for more than 15 years.
• What motivated you to add divorce financial planning to your wealth management practice?
While I was working as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, I had several clients who were going through difficult and complicated divorces. I realized that there is a very real need for divorce-specific financial advice. Many people may not realize it, but a divorce is usually the largest financial transaction they will ever participate in.
• What is a divorce financial planner?
A divorce financial planner is the financial expert on a divorce team, in much the same way an attorney is the legal expert on a divorce team. We evaluate, assess, and analyze all the financial aspects of a divorce and then provide our clients and their attorneys with the data and analysis to best substantiate their position at the negotiating table.
• Tell me a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Savannah. I graduated from St. Andrew’s School on Wilmington Island and was accepted to Furman University. Shortly after graduating in 1999, I was offered a job in New York City with Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management division. I started out assisting a team of financial advisors and their clients. I eventually accepted a position as a senior financial analyst, and later became a financial advisor and a partner on a team. While in New York, I met my wife of nine years, and we have two amazing boys, ages 3 and 6. While working, I also earned an MBA from Fordham University, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) designation. After 16 years in New York City, we moved back to Savannah in December 2015.
• Why did you decide to move back to Savannah?
Despite all the years I spent in New York, I never forgot Savannah. I have so many incredible memories of growing up here, and my wife and I want our kids to have the same experiences. While I occasionally miss New York, there is nothing better than life in Savannah.
• What do you find the most rewarding part of divorce financial planning?
In 70% of marriages, one spouse is responsible for managing the family’s finances. So when a couple ends up divorcing, the spouse not responsible for the family’s financials will likely be at a significant disadvantage. I find it incredibly rewarding to be able to level the playing field, arming my clients with the financial analysis and data to enable them to make confident and educated financial decisions throughout their divorce.
• What sets your firm apart?
Coastal Divorce Advisors is the only qualified and dedicated divorce financial planning firm in the Savannah area. We are specifically trained and experienced in helping those going through a divorce to make pivotal financial decisions to secure a favorable settlement.
• What trends do you see in this field?
Divorce financial planning started out as a cottage industry only a few years ago and has quickly become an important component of the divorce process. Since 80-85% of a divorce is about the financials, I believe it will become common practice to include a divorce financial planner on the divorce team as people continue to realize the value and benefit they can bring.
• What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I see my greatest achievement as earning the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. It is a grueling process that consists of three exams that require on average four years to complete. Each exam commands a minimum of 300 hours of study and prep time, and pass rates tend to average around the low- to mid-forty percent range per exam. What makes this my greatest achievement is that I was able to complete it while raising my family. With that said, it would not have been possible without the amazing support I received from my wife and kids.
• What hobbies do you enjoy?
I am very passionate about running. In fact, in 2004 I trained for and completed the New York City marathon in under four hours. Interestingly, while the marathon tested my endurance and stamina, I discovered it was more of a mental challenge. I continue to run several days a week, although I now enjoy running more moderate distances of four to six miles.
• What is the best all-time advice you have received?
When I moved to New York City to begin my first job, I asked my grandfather, a successful New York businessman, if he had any advice he would share with me. He told me to “always be truthful in business.” I have applied this advice not only to the business side of my life, but also to the personal side of my life. His advice has guided and strengthened me every day.
This article was published in the Savannah Morning News. To see this article click here.