Author Archives: Fabienne Swartz

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About Fabienne Swartz

Fabienne Swartz is the President at Financially Strong, LLC in New York.
EMAIL: fabienne@financially-strong.com
BIO: About Fabienne
PHONE: (914) 798-6940

Letting Go: How Forgiving Others is a Gift to Yourself
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Letting Go: How Forgiving Others is a Gift to Yourself | Fabienne Swartz

{2:06 minutes to read} Recently I was talking to someone who was having an emotional couple of weeks. After listening to her for some time, I saw something that I see often in people: not being able to let go and forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean surrender and it doesn’t mean condoning. In fact, it has very little to do with the other person at all; it’s about you being comfortable with your own situation, even if you would have preferred for it to go differently. At the end of the day, the other person doesn’t get any benefit from it. The benefit is only to you.

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Did You Forget About Your Own Career During Your Marriage?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Did You Forget About Your Own Career During Your Marriage? | Fabienne Swartz

{3:15 minutes to read} Every divorce is unique. On one end of town, there may be a family struggling to make ends meet, who literally can’t afford to start the divorce process. On “the other side of the tracks,” there may be another family worth millions, thanks to the husband’s brilliant career, which was only made possible by the wife’s sacrifices. Unfortunately, the comfort that she enjoys is more like getting renovations done on a house that she’s renting; it may be nice while she lives there, but in the case of a divorce, she would have to move out and the landlord (her husband) will enjoy the spoils of her toils.

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Do Your Current Work Conditions Match Your Expectations?
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Do Your Current Work Conditions Match Your Expectations? | Fabienne Swartz

{3:32 minutes to read} After graduating from college, women approach their emergent careers with vigor and determination—eager to advance, become breadwinners, and pursue their passions. Somewhere along the career trajectory, many women also yearn to start a family.

Career aspirations and the drive to start a family are not mutually exclusive. Yet, corporate America seems to think they are, making it challenging for women to have the best of both worlds. For many women, working leads to inner satisfaction. Without it, a sense of self is lost, which makes the “mommy track” of the corporate world so devastating for women who want to work—and work hard.

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The Power of the Purse: Financial Abuse in Marriage
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Authored by , re: Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
The Power of the Purse: Financial Abuse in Marriage | Fabienne Swartz

{5:05 minutes to read} In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of knowing what you are signing when filing a joint tax return. While devastating, and potentially life altering, tax fraud is only one facet of financial abuse. In a large context, financial abuse can be found in every demographic, in every socioeconomic stratum.

Put simply, financial abuse is the attempt of the abuser to control the victim by various financial means. Victims can be male or female but trend heavily toward stay-at-home moms who gave up their highest earning years to raise their children.

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Before You Sign a Joint Tax Return, Be Aware of What You’re Signing!
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Authored by , re: Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
Before You Sign a Joint Tax Return, Be Aware of What You’re Signing! | Fabienne Swartz

{3:55 minutes to read} Tax time is a great prompt—for some people the only prompt—to think about finances. I have found that many of my clients actually know very little about the marital finances, trusting instead that their spouse will make appropriate decisions. Unfortunately, women who do that are putting themselves at risk for a variety of reasons:

  • If your spouse were to die: The consequences of your spouse dying without a will are grave. It could result in a lengthy probate process while you are forced to make due without any money from the estate. That is why it is essential that you know…

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Hidden Figures: When the Numbers Tell You Something You Don’t Want to Hear
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Authored by , re: Business Development, on .
Hidden Figures: When the Numbers Tell You Something You Don’t Want to Hear | Fabienne Swartz

{3:30 minutes to read} A friend of mine has a problem. She is in the middle of a divorce, yet she remains wedded to a lifestyle she can no longer afford. The bulk of the expenses she is claiming are what I would consider unnecessary, like:

  • Retaining a full-time housekeeper;
  • Outfitting her children with designer clothes;
  • Driving a high-end, German car;
  • Grocery shopping at Whole Foods; and
  • Monthly clothing budget in excess of what many people earn in a month.

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Multilevel Marketing: A Viable Option for Busy Moms and Dads
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Authored by , re: Business Development, on .
Multilevel Marketing: A Viable Option for Busy Moms and Dads | Fabienne Swartz

{3:29 minutes to read} Network marketing, or multilevel marketing (MLM), is a type of direct-to-consumer business that relies on a decentralized network of sales representatives to market a product. MLM companies generally have no fixed hours like a traditional 9-5 job, which presents a viable income source for families with young children—as well as retirees living on a fixed income.

Unfortunately, when some people hear about MLM they immediately think of so-called “pyramid schemes,” wherein the main goal is not to sell products, but recruit distributors who work under you in the “pyramid.”

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Practicing Gratitude
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Authored by , re: KNOWLEDGE NUGGETS, on .
Practicing Gratitude | Fabienne Swartz

The holidays are the perfect time to reflect upon our many blessings, but gratitude is best practiced on a daily basis. In this post, I aim to do something different: offer my own experiences reflecting on my life.

My journey to gratitude started when I began reading a book called The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. This easy read inspired me to get up everyday at five in the morning so that I would have time for some self-improvement before the start of the day: meditation, journaling, working out, and reading.

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Jokes About Money Undercut Women’s Authority
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Jokes About Money Undercut Women’s Authority | Fabienne Swartz

{3:07 minutes to read} In a recent article titled “Why Men Need To Stop Making This Joke About Women,” author Vanessa McGrady sheds light on a problem that is often covered up with uncomfortable laughter and avoiding eye contact. She relays the story of attending a special event where a man addressed the room for a toast and began to make jokes about how his wife is so good at spending “his” money. McGrady alleges that this sort of talk is bad for women, men, and children alike.

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Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score | Fabienne Swartz

{4:46 minutes to read} In today’s world, it is vital to have as many financial resources as possible. Credit cards are often lifesavers, making it possible to catch a last-minute flight or even get an extended-stay suite. An important step to standing on your own and becoming financially strong is establishing your credit as an individual—something that can be done only with time and patience, and with the wise utilization of credit accounts. So what goes into your credit rating, and how do you make it better?

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The Privilege of Serving My Clients
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
The Privilege of Serving My Clients | Fabienne Swartz

{2:44 minutes to read} As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), there is no attorney-client privilege attached to my work. When a client and I correspond through emails, those emails are discoverable; only emails exchanged between a client and their attorney are considered privileged. If a client hires me and includes their attorney in the emails, there may not be privilege attached to it—but I believe there should be. Quite often a client will hire me first, then have their attorney get involved. Unfortunately, that situation is less likely to allow privileged communication.

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May/December Relationships: How Will Your Age Difference Define Your Financial Future?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
May/December Relationships: How Will Your Age Difference Define Your Financial Future? | Fabienne Swartz

{2:15 minutes to read} One of the most fascinating aspects of humanity is the fact that no two people are exactly alike. We all have different tastes and priorities—and sometimes a lack of priorities.

An increasing trend that I have observed is an uptick in the prevalence of so-called May/December relationships between a relatively young person and someone who is considerably older. Everyone has different preferences, but there are some very real implications to following your heart in situations like these—the key is going into it with your eyes wide open.

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Having Your Day in Court and Eating It, Too
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Having Your Day in Court and Eating It, Too | Fabienne Swartz

{2:56 minutes to read} Television shows and movies love to show characters who want nothing more than to have their “day in court.” Usually, they have been wronged in some way, and by taking their issue to court, they are able to level the playing field in a spectacular fashion and win the day.

When it comes to divorce, usually the opposite is true. My cases have always settled—sometimes just right before they were starting the trial, but they have always settled. But one case seems to be threatening my track record.

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What Divorcees of High Earners Should Know about Alimony
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
What Divorcees of High Earners Should Know about Alimony | Fabienne Swartz

{3:50 minutes to read} When a lesser monied spouse divorces a high-earning spouse, they will likely get $150,000 a year or more in alimony. These lesser monied spouses may not be able to start work right away. They need to heal and settle; it’s a process that can take the better part of a year or longer. When they go back to work, they probably won’t make the same level of salary as they did before the marriage. Things have changed since they were last in the workforce.

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Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club Loriet Open – May 13-15, 2016
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club Loriet Open – May 13-15, 2016 | Fabienne Swartz

What: MBYC Loriet Open Where: Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club, 555 South Barry Ave, Mamaroneck, NY, 10543 When: May 13–15, 2016 Cost: None!

I am proud to announce that I am a sponsor and organizing partner of a semi-professional tennis tournament at the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club (MBYC) starting Friday, May 13!

Whether you are a tennis player, fan, or are simply looking for a socially acceptable reason to day drink, this tournament has it all: men’s and women’s open (pros and college players), women’s and mixed NTRP doubles (recreational players), and champagne.

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The Many Benefits of Divorce Mediation
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The Many Benefits of Divorce Mediation | Fabienne Swartz

{4:30 minutes to read} Recently, I published an article about the benefits of consulting with a divorce attorney even if you have chosen to use mediation. I’ve received some constructive criticism from fellow mediators indicating that I should do a follow-up piece about the benefits of mediation — whether one decides to consult a lawyer or not.

For divorcing couples, mediation has some clear benefits over litigation. From cost to efficacy, here are some of the biggest reasons people should consider mediation first.

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Online Dating for Divorcees
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Online Dating for Divorcees | Fabienne Swartz

{3:35 minutes to read} When women get divorced, they face a lot of fears, from financial (“How will I pay the bills on my own?”) to social (“What if my married friends stop inviting me over?”). One particular fear is the thought of having to start dating again.

If you’ve been out of the dating world for 15 to 20 years or more, and maybe you have kids, meeting a new guy and going on dates can be a daunting prospect. Some women go overboard and date anyone and everyone while others remain standoffish or timid.

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How Not Seeking Legal Advice Can Cost You Money
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
How Not Seeking Legal Advice Can Cost You Money | Fabienne Swartz

{2:35 minutes to read} Not seeking legal advice can be costly… In recent years, I have heard several accounts of women who decided not to seek legal advice before signing their divorce settlement agreement negotiated in mediation. Without exception, the outcome was a lopsided deal. Others have consulted me stating they were ready to sign but had not yet put pen to paper. So many contracts are confusing – this is where my knowledge and experience is beneficial to clients, as I can interpret what they are about to sign.

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Know What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Divorce
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Know What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Divorce | Fabienne Swartz

{3:36 minutes to read} The divorce process takes time, patience and expertise. If you are considering divorcing your spouse, your first step should be to consult with an attorney who is skilled in family law. By listening to your unique situation, he or she can apply years of accumulated experience to your advantage. Working side by side with attorneys are a variety of specialists who concentrate on specific aspects of divorce, as is the case with Certified Divorce Financial Analysts™(CDFAs).

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Who Has Permission to Claim the Mortgage Interest Deduction?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Who Has Permission to Claim the Mortgage Interest Deduction | Fabienne Swartz

{2:56 minutes to read} Many accountants are advising their clients that, because the spouse’s name is not on the mortgage note, she cannot claim the mortgage interest on her tax returns. Sometimes couples own a house jointly, meaning both names are on the deed. However, only one of them is listed as the “Borrower” on the mortgage note. Then they get a divorce. They agree that the wife will stay in the residence and that she will make the mortgage payments, pay the property taxes, and claim the appropriate tax deductions.

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Managing Expectations
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Managing Expectations | Fabienne Swartz

{3:20 minutes to read} One of the biggest roles of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst is managing his or her clients’ expectations. Getting a client to realize they may not get what they want is the first step. They may need to adjust their spending habits and may not be able to maintain the same lifestyle as they previously enjoyed. A CDFA can show their client that their spouse cannot afford more alimony and/or child support.

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Oh, the Things You Can Learn from a Divorce Mediation Conference!
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Oh, the Things You Can Learn from a Divorce Mediation Conference | Fabienne Swartz

{3:07 minutes to read} I recently attended a conference organized by the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. I met mediators from upstate New York, Westchester, and New York City while attending several classes – three of which really stood out for me: One class was about the emotional health of children involved in divorce. The presenter said that instead of the quantity of time with the children, the quality of the relationship between the parents before, during, and after the divorce is what matters most.

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It’s Who You Know
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
It’s Who You Know | Fabienne Swartz

Some specialized areas of divorce are better left to experts. {3:40 minutes to read} When I first meet a client and her/his attorney, we go through something called the discovery phase. The aim of the discovery phase is for each side to gather the necessary information to negotiate the financial part of their divorce agreement. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), I can:

  • Help find hidden assets;
  • Trace money; and
  • Forecast monthly and annual payments over several years.

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Forget Your Problems, Not Your Passions
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Forget Your Problems, Not Your Passions | Fabienne Swartz

{1:58 minutes to read} Save The Date! Event: MBYC-Loriet Men’s Tennis Invitational Tournament Where: Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club When: May 8th – 10th, 2015 Admission: FREE to spectators One of the most practical pieces of advice I offer to my clients is something I learned from my own experience: Forget your problems, not your passions. Pursuing a hobby, sport or artistic pursuit does more than just take your mind off of your problems.

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Jump-Starting Your Life in the Midst of Divorce
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Jump-Starting Your Life in the Midst of Divorce | Fabienne Swartz

{1:51 minutes to read} Alimony, or spousal support, is meant to be rehabilitative in nature; the non-working spouse is expected to return to the workforce after a certain amount of time. But when someone has been out of the workforce for a long period of time, they may have missed out on important innovations in their industry. There is also the spectre of “soft” age discrimination,

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Social Security and Divorce
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, Financial Planning & Insurance, Social Security, on .
Social Security and Divorce | Fabienne Swartz

Social Security is not an entitlement. In order to qualify for Social Security benefits, the recipient must have contributed into the system for a minimum of 10 years. That means if one spouse were to forgo working in order to raise a family, they would be penalized. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has a remedy, but it only applies to marriages that lasted 10 years or more:

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Taming Divorce’s Paper Tiger
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
Taming Divorce’s Paper Tiger | Fabienne Swartz

Divorce is an emotional roller coaster. You might wake up one morning in a good mood and confident that the worst is behind you when, all of the sudden, an email from your ex sends you reeling. And on top of that roller coaster, there is another dizzying challenge: Taming the paper tiger of financial documents. Just as a divorce coach dissects emotional obstacles for their clients, financial advisors dissect that intimidating mound of bills and monthly statements.

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