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* This is not a financial advice article.

As anyone carrying unpaid debts will tell you, digging yourself out of a hole is much harder than jumping in. If you’re under financial stress, it can seem like an impossible task to rebuild your credit. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all yourself. The best financial wellness companies can help with financial planning, debt relief, credit repair, and work with you to get your finances on the right track.

While dozens of holistic financial wellness programs are available for consumers, not all have good reputations or ratings. We chose five of the best financial wellness organizations offering credit repair services and financial education for their clients. We looked at ratings and reviews, how the process works, and pricing packages. 

Here are our picks for the 5 best financial wellness companies of 2022.

5 Best Financial Wellness Companies

#1. Saint Services: Best for Personalized Financial Wellness Plans

saint services

Saint Services is a reputable company offering one-on-one guidance and access to a real-time platform for consumers having difficulty with their personal finances. They’re a leading provider of financial wellness programs and employ Certified Financial Planners to teach clients financial literacy.

Services and Features

Saint Services offers two financial products for clients, both of which work well together:

Financial wellness: The financial wellness program guides people with personal finance problems. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) may help you achieve financial goals and streamline your credit monitoring so you can remain vigilant regarding your finances.

Financial education: The company also offers educational resources through a financial wellness course designed by Erich Heneke, Ph.D. You acquire tools to manage student loan debt, explore snowball repayments, and learn about credit card debt.

How It Works

Saint Services’ CFPs manage your financial wellness program one on one to get you back on the right track. The organization offers a digital platform and a three-step financial plan to help clients regain control of their lives and personal finances:

Step 1: Upon enrollment, a CFP will access your credit scores from the major credit bureaus and evaluate your credit history. You’ll get identity theft protection and real-time alerts.

Step 2: Next, you’ll determine your ultimate goal (Building more savings? Qualifying for a mortgage?). From that, your CFP will create a customized plan for your circumstances.

Step 3: Your CFP will monitor your credit history and financial wellbeing to ensure you stay on track and reduce debt.


The financial wellness program at Saint Services provides comprehensive solutions for clients struggling with finances. It targets the following three areas:

  • Credit monitoring
  • Financial planning
  • Financial education

This program provides unique financial benefits to clients and costs $99 per month.

Click Here to Learn More About Saint Services

2. Credit Saint: Best for Credit Repair

credit saint

Credit Saint offers one-on-one guidance and financial wellness programs for consumers with unpaid debt or negative items on their credit reports. Credit Saint is one of the best financial wellness platforms if you’re struggling with financial stress after unexpected life events, credit card debt, or cash flow problems.

The company has maintained accreditation with the BBB since 2007, has an A rating, and offers clients a money-back guarantee.

Services and Features

The holistic financial wellness programs at Credit Saint attempt to remove negative or biased items from your credit report, including:

  • Judgments
  • Late payments
  • Collections
  • Bankruptcy
  • Foreclosure
  • Repossessions
  • Inquiries
  • Charge-offs
  • Liens

In addition, there are three available financial wellness programs from which to choose:

1. Credit Polish

  • Five monthly challenges
  • Credit score tracker and analysis
  • Creditor interventions

2. Credit Remodel

The credit remodel plan carries over all the Credit Polish benefits but includes inquiry targeting and ten monthly challenges.

3. Clean Slate

The Clean Slate is one of the best solutions for people to repair their credit and attain a brighter financial future. It contains all the benefits from the first two plans, but you also get unlimited monthly challenges to the three credit bureaus.

How It Works

It’s simple to get started and enjoy the benefits of working with Credit Saint’s financial wellness platform. Here’s how the process works:

Step 1: Schedule a free consultation with the financial experts at Credit Saint.

Step 2: Pick which financial plan works best for you.

Step 3: Learn healthy financial habits, gain the tools you need to rebuild your credit, and access your progress in real time via the online dashboard.


The only downside of Credit Saint is the company’s relatively high fees. Here’s the pricing breakdown:

  • Credit Polish: $79.99 per month, $99 initial work fee
  • Credit Remodel: $99.99 per month, $99 initial work fee
  • Clean Slate: $119.99 per month, $195 initial work fee

Click Here to Learn More About Credit Saint

3. Accredited Debt Relief: Best for Debt Settlement

accredited debt relief

Accredited Debt Relief is a reputable organization offering consumer financial wellness programs. Since 2011, the company has helped over 200,000 people regain control of their lives through financial education, smart budgeting, and debt settlement. ADR is also an accredited American Fair Credit Council member and offers clients a money-back guarantee.

Services and Features

You’ll need at least $10,000 in unsecured debts to use ADR’s consolidation and financial wellness programs. However, they may be able to cut your monthly payments in half, making it much easier to manage your personal finance issues.

Furthermore, the company offers many excellent benefits for clients, including financial wellness programs that may help you settle debts within 12 to 48 months without the stress of bankruptcy.

How It Works

It’s simple to take advantage of the tools that ADR offers consumers:

Step 1: Request a free consultation. Call ADR or fill out the online form to determine your eligibility for their financial wellness programs.

Step 2: Next, the specialists at ADR will help you find the right plan for your needs. Once you do, you’ll undergo the enrollment process and start saving.

Step 3: You’ll get access to tools for budgeting and putting money into a special savings account. Once you have enough, your counselor will help you settle debts and secure a brighter financial future.


ADR’s financial wellness program doesn’t charge upfront fees for debt relief. However, it takes about two to four years to become financially healthy and take advantage of the full benefits. Once the specialists at ADR negotiate with your creditors and reduce what you owe, you’ll pay between 15% to 25% of your total enrolled debts as a fee.

Click Here to Learn More About Accredited Debt Relief

4. Community Tax: Best for Tax Relief

community tax

Are you having tax trouble? If so, Community Tax may be able to help. With over 100,000 satisfied clients and $800 million in unpaid back taxes settled, Community Tax may help you achieve financial wellness and resolve your issues with the IRS.

Services and Features

Community Tax has over 15 unique financial solutions to remedy your situation if you can’t pay off your back taxes. The platform offers a range of different financial benefits for clients to get their lives and finances on the right track with the IRS, including:

  • Payroll tax negotiations
  • Tax resolution
  • Financial hardship declarations
  • Penalty abatements
  • Tax preparation
  • Tax assurance
  • IRS Fresh Start Initiative
  • Offer in compromise
  • Notice of deficiency
  • IRS payment plan audits
  • IRS installment plans

How It Works

It’s easy to access the benefits Community Tax offers consumers. Here’s how the process works:

Step 1: Call to request your initial consultation with a Certified Tax Specialist at Community Tax. They’ll determine your eligibility for their financial wellness program.

Step 2: Your personal finance manager will apply for an offer in compromise (OIC) to see whether they can reduce your unpaid tax debts.

Step 3: If you’re not eligible for the OIC, your counselor will explore alternative solutions to fix your financial challenges and tax debts.


The cost of using Community Tax’s financial wellness program varies based on the total amount of money you owe to the IRS. Furthermore, once you access their services, you’ll have to pay investigation fees, which are $195.

If the workers at Community Tax resolve your tax debts, you’ll have to pay resolution fees between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on how much you owe.

Click Here to Learn More About Community Tax

5. Aura: Best for Credit Monitoring, Identity Theft, and Fraud Protection


With the rate of identity theft and bank fraud increasing exponentially in the U.S., Aura’s financial wellness programs are invaluable for people with busy lives. The organization offers a range of useful tools that scan your cash flow, bank activity, and finances to look for potential problems, theft, or fraud.

Services and Features

Aura is one of the best financial wellness companies for people who want to reduce financial stress through fiduciary digital planning. Aura no longer has tiered options. Instead, every client gets full benefits regarding their financial education and wellness programs. Clients are charged based on how many people are included under their plan.

Here’s a breakdown of Aura’s services:

  • Online and device security
  • Identity theft insurance ($1 million per adult)
  • Antivirus protection
  • 24/7 customer service support
  • Fraud resolution
  • VPNs for your devices
  • Online account monitoring
  • SSN monitoring
  • Spam and junk mail removal
  • Lost wallet replacement
  • Credit and bank account monitoring
  • 401k and investing advice
  • Annual credit reports
  • Financial transaction monitoring

How It Works

Aura’s platform provides financial education, protection, and wellness programs that ensure your money and identity remain secure. It’s easy to gain access to all of Aura’s financial wellness benefits. Here’s how the process works:

Step 1: Head to the Aura website and check out each plan to determine which will fit your financial needs.

Wed, 05 Oct 2022 16:43:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Merrill wealth head wins AAAA award for advancing Black advisors
Andy Sieg (L), president of Merrill Wealth Management at Bank of America, receives the inaugural Spirit of the Vision award from AAAA founder and chairman emeritus LeCount Davis (C) and Jewel Davis (R).

Association of African American Financial Advisors

The leading professional association for Black financial advisors has a new award that recognizes wealth management executives for leading the way on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Andy Sieg, the president of Merrill Wealth Management, accepted the inaugural "Spirit of the VISION" Award from the Association of African American Financial Advisors during the group's annual VISION conference, where Merrill was a leading sponsor, last month in Atlanta. LeCount Davis, the founder and chairman emeritus of the association, presented the award to Sieg at a banquet and awards ceremony. VISION stands for "value, impact, succeed, influence, optimize, now."

Around 14% of the U.S. population is Black, yet only 1.8% of certified financial planners are Black, a reflection of the lack of diversity that persists in financial services. 

"To effect change, champions of diversity need to emerge from within the industry. You also need to understand the people and the culture of the people you are trying to reach," Davis said in a press release about the award. 

To be eligible, an individual must be a C-suite wealth management firm executive who supports ethnic diversity in the industry, particularly for Black advisors, and must demonstrate ability to hire, promote and elevate "Black/African American" financial professionals, according to the association's website

In remarks accepting the award, Sieg thanked the leadership of the association, known as Quad-A, for "pushing us forward to modernize and diversify our profession" and connect firms to valuable new clients. "The affluent B/AA community is a critical part of the future. It is growing faster than the general affluent population," he said, adding that serving this population is "both a moral imperative and a commercial imperative. The face of wealth is changing. Advisors need to engage a multicultural, diverse client base to succeed." 

Sieg said he was focused on creating opportunities to advance Black talent at all levels of Merrill. He described "doors" through which the Wall Street bank and brokerage recruited for diversity: new trainee programs, apprenticing advisors for existing teams and hiring mid-career and experienced advisors, with room to grow for all roles. 

In 2020, Merrill released data showing that advisor diversity at the giant institution had grown since 2015. The proportion of Black advisors doubled to 4.5% of the bank's advisor population, or 780 out of 17,500 total advisors, up from 2.5%. Hispanic or Latino advisers also grew to 9% from 6%, and female advisors were at 21%, up from 18%. Since then, the company has not released updated numbers. 

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Merrill said in an email that "Merrill has a long-standing commitment to increase the diversity of our financial advisors, and provide support to help each advisor succeed." 

In the past decade, Merrill and several other firms in the wealth industry have been at the center of racial discrimination lawsuits by Black advisors, including one Merrill settled in 2013. The award also comes against the backdrop of a pending lawsuit filed last year by former Black Merrill advisors against the firm, which alleges that Black advisors at the brokerage had "received less compensation and have been promoted less frequently than their white counterparts," according to the complaint. The lawsuit also alleged "systemic" mistreatment of Black employees at the firm and claimed the plaintiffs' experiences were "based upon company-wide policies and practices, and are the result of unchecked race-based bias that pervades defendants' corporate culture."  

In his remarks at the event, Sieg acknowledged a need to create "more opportunities" for support to senior-level professionals. He currently offers the bank's Market Executive Leadership Academy and Resident Director Leadership Academy programs. Seig called them "best-in class" and said that they "exemplify our commitment to DEI." Sieg also highlighted the in-house advisor networks that Merrill provides, including coaches for Black advisors. 

"Strong advisor-to-advisor network is core to our culture — sharing best practices from one advisor to another," he said. 

Alleson Tate, a board member and the director of media relations at Quad-A, said in an interview that it made sense to create the award as more advisors than ever attended this year's conference. The wealth management industry, she added, had reached a critical mass of firms interested in partnering with the association. 

"It just became more important that we really tried to honor those firms who have shown a true commitment to DEI efforts — prior to George Floyd's murder," she said. "Let's really just be candid." 

Tate said Sieg had demonstrated that commitment since he began his current role at Merrill five years ago. 

"When he took the helm of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Department in 2017, he came in with the business imperative to increase change [in] that advisor demographic." she said, adding that he backed it up with metrics for accountability, importantly, and "continues to show up year after year to support us," while also backing the CFP Board's scholarships to nurture diverse talent pipelines. While other firms later latched on to the need for better DEI efforts in the wake of George Floyd's murder, Tate said, "Merrill was already doing it." 

Tate said that some financial services leaders are "truly dedicated to change, and we're seeing the change. It's not lip service." But others are a different story. "We've all seen that… [but] the numbers don't lie," she said. Overall, she said there had been "a significant improvement" in DEI practices at many firms. 

In the past, Tate said, wealth firms ignored courting Black and minority communities by claiming there was little wealth to manage. But today, "there's so much more wealth flushing through the system." The minority advisor, by connecting with them, can become sustainable, profitable and create generational wealth in turn. She added that connecting minority clients to advisors who look like them "allows communities to regain trust" after suffering historical discrimination that shut them out of wealth building. In turn, seeing successful Black advisors in their lives signals to young people the possibilities of the profession and "redefines the value of this career path, which I also think is just very overlooked."

Still, when it comes to guiding professionals into this career, "getting them in the door is half the battle," Tate said of hiring B/AA, LGBTQ+ and other diverse professionals, noting that she is a Black and lesbian professional herself. "It's the least you can do. Once you've hired them, now what? The part that is missing in firms is really looking at their culture and their history of inclusion, and valuing diversity of thought." 

"What these firms really need to look at is, you don't want to hire black and brown people who think and speak and act like all the other white males at the firm."

Mon, 17 Oct 2022 09:04:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Women, Divorce & Retirement: Financial Dramas and Losses Haunting Divorced Women No result found, try new keyword!Are you a divorced woman in retirement? Learn how to overcome financial ruin post-marriage in retirement and move forward ... Fri, 14 Oct 2022 06:00:00 -0500 en text/html Killexams : ‘Fee based’ vs. ‘fee only’ financial planners: There’s a big difference

Dear Liz: How do you find a fee-based financial planner? I just inherited a lot of money, and trying to figure out our future is stressing me out.

Answer: That’s understandable. Getting sound advice can mean the difference between growing your newfound wealth and wasting it. But finding a good, honest, competent planner requires some work.

Most advisors aren’t fiduciaries, so they aren’t required to put your interests ahead of their own. Instead, they can recommend investments that cost more or perform worse than available alternatives, simply because the recommended investments pay them more.

Such advisors often call themselves “fee based,” hoping you’ll confuse them with “fee only” planners. Fee-only planners are compensated only by the fees you pay; they don’t accept commissions or other compensation that could influence their advice.

The National Assn. of Personal Financial Advisors and the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners are two organizations that represent fee-only planners, many of whom charge a percentage of your investable assets. You can find fee-only planners who work on an hourly basis at Garrett Planning Network and those who charge monthly retainer fees at XY Planning Network.

Interview at least three candidates. Ask them how they are paid and what your “all-in” costs — their fees plus the cost of investments they recommend — are likely to be. Ask about, and verify, their credentials. (You can check a certified financial planner’s status at Find out about their education and experience, including whether they’ve advised people similar to you.

They should be willing to assert in writing that they will be fiduciaries. Finally, check their backgrounds, including their disciplinary history, at

Health savings account rules

Dear Liz: I established a health savings account when I was self-employed using an HSA-compliant healthcare plan. Now I am employed. My employer does not offer a health plan that was designated as an HSA, but my deductible is $7,000, higher than the minimum for an individual. Can I continue to contribute to my existing HSA?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. To contribute to an HSA, you must be covered by an HSA-compliant high-deductible healthcare plan, and you may not be covered by other health insurance, including Medicare.

HSAs were created as a way to encourage people to choose high-deductible health insurance plans, but many people use them as an additional way to save for retirement. HSAs have a rare triple tax break: contributions are pretax, the account can grow tax deferred and withdrawals are tax free if used to pay qualifying healthcare expenses.

Unlike flexible spending accounts, which are “use it or lose it,” HSAs allow people to roll unused balances over from year to year. Plus, balances can be invested for long-term growth. Many people value these tax advantages so highly that they pay medical expenses out of pocket, leaving their HSA balances to grow for the future.

But HSA-compliant health insurance policies must meet certain criteria, including a minimum deductible of $1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for families for 2022. (The average deductible in 2021 was $2,349 for individuals and $5,217 for families, according to KFF, the healthcare research organization formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation.) The maximum out-of-pocket limit — including deductibles and co-pays, but not premiums — is $7,050 for individuals or $14,100 for families in 2022.

As you can see, you’ve wound up with the worst of both worlds: a very high deductible with no option to save in an HSA. Perhaps your employer is compensating you so handsomely in other areas that you can overlook this deficit in your benefits. If not, it might be time to look for an employer who can offer more.

Social Security and inflation

Dear Liz: If I wait until I am 70 to claim Social Security, my benefit will increase 8% a year. With inflation above 8%, should I take Social Security early? I am almost 68.

Answer: This question was answered in a previous column but needs to be addressed again because so many people misunderstand how Social Security cost-of-living increases work.

Social Security applies cost-of-living adjustments to your benefits whether you’re currently receiving them or not. In other words, your benefit has been receiving inflation adjustments since you turned 62, when you were first eligible.

Applying now doesn’t get you anything extra and, in fact, costs you because you’re giving up the 8% annual delayed retirement benefits you would otherwise receive.

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions may be sent to her at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by using the “Contact” form at

Sun, 09 Oct 2022 00:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Female financial advisers make their mark

By Lisa Allen

Faith Doyle has seen the good, bad and ugly as a female in the financial industry.

Although she came armed with a biochemistry bachelor’s degree (having been the only woman in her program), an MBA, financial planning certification and years of sales experience, her former Asheville employer insisted she begin her financial advising career in the mid-2010s by answering the phones.

“A year and a half later, they hired a man for the same position, but he was treated as a financial adviser right from the start. He didn’t have to answer the phones,” Doyle says.

Doyle also noticed that her boss would ask her male colleagues to join him for lunch, but not her. She recalls, “I asked him about that, and he says, ‘What would my wife think?’”

Today, she works at the all-female Webb Investment Services in Asheville. (Like most small financial firms, it’s affiliated with a larger entity — in its case, Florida-based Raymond James — for better access to financial research and markets.) “I think women are perfectly suited as financial advisers,” Doyle says. “We have the emotional intelligence to help people think through problems and come up with solutions that work for their specific circumstances.”

The conviction that women make great financial advisers prompted Laura Webb to start her firm 27 years ago. Ever since, she primarily has sought out female advisors and has only hired one male adviser over the company’s history.

“It’s my preference,” Webb says. “I am interested in getting more women in this industry. The needle hasn’t moved much yet, but you have to see it to be it.”

Making sense of dollars

Webb wants women to become more comfortable talking about money. “In our society, money is a taboo topic, especially for women,” she explains. And as she says often, taking control of one’s money means gaining control over one’s future.

But she’s beginning to see a shift. “Women my age — I’m in my 60s — and younger are more comfortable working with women.”

Two years ago, Webb and Doyle launched “Her Two Cents,” a biweekly podcast to help women get familiar with their finances. In all, the segments have been downloaded 9,000 times, Doyle says. courses range from savings and investing to navigating all of life’s transitions. (Spoiler alert: Every life transition, such as having children, moving, retiring or even getting a dog,  involves money.)

“The podcast is multigenerational,” Webb says. “I’m over 60, and Faith is 40. We can’t be everyone’s financial adviser, but we want to help all women take control of their financial futures.”

“Collectively, we’re trying to normalize the conversation among women about money. We want to help women take control of their wealth,” Doyle adds, noting that more than half of her clients are women. “Women either handle their families’ finances or their husbands encourage them to learn about money because wives often outlive their husbands.”

Gender gaps

Raising awareness about money matters also may help attract women to the financial sector. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31% of financial advisers in the U.S. are women, but those in the industry think the number is even lower. Financial magazine Barron’s estimates that no more than 20% of financial advisers are women, and only 12% of the publications’s top 100 advisers are women. The numbers thin out even more at the top spots: Only 3% of financial firms’ CEOs are women, Barron’s reports.

Some come to the industry by indirect paths. Leslie Apple had been a counselor with Outward Bound in Asheville before starting her own career counseling business. It was then that a representative from the St. Louis-based financial firm Edward Jones asked if she had considered a career in financial advising.

“I told him, no, I hadn’t thought of being a rodeo clown either. I didn’t see the connection,” Apple says. “But then he explained that, as a career counselor, I help people articulate their goals and create a long-term plan. Financial advising is pretty much the same thing.”

Apple’s success at the Asheville branch of Edward Jones after just five years has been swift, despite having a child and enduring the pandemic. She says she’s been able to build a strong client base more quickly than many advisers.

“I went from teaching, which is mostly women, to the financial industry, which is mostly male. I’ve never felt more supported and encouraged here,” Apple says. “If they treated teachers like this, they would never leave.”

But the fact that most advisers are men and most support staff are women still trips up financial firms. “Once or twice, when I called home office with a question, they told me that was a syllabu the advisor should handle,” Apple says. “I said, ‘I am the adviser!” She says that things have gotten better since a woman landed the top spot at Edward Jones in 2019.

Unstuck as tellers

In other areas of finance, women still bump against a glass ceiling, even though their talents in customer service are recognized.

While women make up 53% of the entry-level banking workforce, they make up less than one-third at the senior vice president and C-suite levels, according to consulting firm McKinsey. And across the financial industry overall, including asset management, banking, insurance and payments, 87 women are promoted for every 100 men. The McKinsey study also found that Black women are the least likely to be promoted to a manager position, with just 37 for every 100 men promoted. (Asian women are more likely than men to be promoted.)

Despite these odds, some local women are finding success. Lisa Krampf is a loan originator at the Asheville office of Radius Financial Group, a Massachusetts-based company founded by a woman. She says she chose Radius because so many of its employees are women.

“I know every name in the company,” Krampf says. “I interviewed with three companies, but I like how team-oriented it is. I like the fact we are customer obsessed.”

She had previously worked in the energy sector and says finance is a welcome change. “Energy is male dominated, too, but I didn’t get the sense that women were respected,” she explains. “It seems in banking, our clients appreciate that women are so service oriented.”

Brittany Marshall, the Asheville area retail manager for First Bank, says she hasn’t been treated differently as a woman in banking.

“I am sure there are stories of women who have not been treated fairly in the banking industry, but I have not personally encountered any experiences that likely wouldn’t have happened if I were a man,” Marshall says. “I have focused my career in the community bank sector. I have never felt disrespected or belittled for being a woman. I can honestly say that I’ve always felt rewarded for my contributions with upward movement opportunities.”

Having started as a teller at a small bank in Hendersonville, Marshall quickly realized banking provided a long-term career path. She points out that several members of the WNC leadership team at First Bank are women, including both area retail managers overseeing 16 branches, the treasury services bank officer and the regional private banking executive. And the CFO of the entire company, with 94 branches across the Carolinas, is female as well.

“What I thought was going to be a temporary job has turned into an extremely rewarding 17-year career,” Marshall says. “I looked around and saw women in leadership roles and the various jobs you could have at a bank and knew there were career growth opportunities for me.”

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 02:12:00 -0500 Xpress Contributor en-US text/html
Killexams : 8 Ugly Financial Truths About Getting Divorced

Daniel Jedzura /

You're getting divorced and you're not alone. In 2019, there were 7.6 new divorces per 1,000 women ages 15 and over, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Chances are, you have lots of feelings about the end of your marriage -- including what it will do to your finances. To start, the median cost of hiring a full-scope divorce lawyer is $7,000, according to Nolo.

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Of course, that's just the beginning, as the financial implications of your divorce can easily live on for years to come -- maybe even longer than the marriage itself lasted. Therefore, it's important to cover all the bases to ensure you're able to start your new single life in the best possible financial situation.

Even a divorce settlement that seems pretty cut and dry might not be as fair as you think. Here's a look at eight ugly financial truths about getting divorced, because being informed is the key to protecting your assets.

MartinPrague / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Longer Divorces Tend To Cost More

Since divorces can involve a lot of personal issues, David Fowler, CFP, ChFC, founder of High Mountain Financial Coaching LLC, said things can get very emotional.

"This can cause some issues to stick, where one or both parties are unrelenting and trying to win," he said. "The longer things go, the more expensive the process gets for both parties."

Therefore, he said it's best to come to a resolution quickly, as this will save a lot of money in attorney fees. This is something he knows from personal experience, as someone who has gone through a divorce.

"In my own case, I chose to take it on the chin and provide more than what my lawyer recommended in order to expedite the process, which I think saved money in the long run," he said.

Live Richer Podcast: Unexpected Ways Losing a Spouse Can Affect Your Finances and Retirement

Retirement Benefits Will Likely Be Split

Even if your retirement accounts are in your name, Fowler said roughly half of the money will go to your soon-to-be ex.

"With the higher expenses each party is most likely facing being single, this could lead to both having a harder time making ends meet when they eventually do get to retirement age," he said.

This means you'll likely have to work hard to play catchup adding extra funds to your account before you retire.

takasuu /

Keeping Your Home Can Be Tricky

It's not uncommon for one party to keep the family home after the divorce, but this might be more complicated than you think.

"In the event both spouses were on the mortgage during the marriage, a refinance is likely required to remove the party that no longer has any ownership rights to the property," said Michelle Katzen, CFP, certified divorce financial analyst, managing director for HCR Wealth Advisors, an independent financial advisory firm based in Los Angeles. "This process can be difficult, especially if the spouse retaining the home is unemployed."

She said many banks require six to 12 months of proof of spousal support before allowing borrowers to claim it as income.

"Also, the remaining borrower will now have to qualify for the loan on their own, with their own assets, debts and income," she said.

Pra-chid / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tax Consequences Differ for Retained Assets

"Clients often don't realize the differential in tax consequences across the different types of assets," Katzen said.

She said the family home is one asset that can have large tax consequences.

"In the event one party keeps the home, but later decides to sell the property, there could be a very large tax bill owed," she said. "In addition, real estate has large transaction costs for the seller, oftentimes north of 6% of the sale price."

When liquidated, she said this can drastically impact the overall value of the asset.

leminuit / Getty Images

You Might Need Life Insurance on Your Ex

Getting a divorce doesn't necessarily mean you no longer need life insurance on your ex.

"For the party receiving spousal support, it is very important to obtain life insurance on the payee," she said. "We suggest owning the policy and paying the premiums to ensure the policy stays in force and you remain the sole beneficiary."

She said this will provide you comfort in knowing you'll continue to receive the benefit you're relying on in some way if the payee passes away.

AndreyPopov /

Assets That Seem Equal Might Not Stay That Way

"One big mistake I'll see is people use dollar for dollar comparisons when splitting assets," said Rachel Burk, a financial advisor and financial planning specialist at Offit Advisors, based in Columbia, Maryland.

For example, she said you might agree to take $250,000 of equity in the house, while your spouse gets $250,000 of the retirement fund.

"Those dollars today will not be equal in 10 or 20 years," she said. "Investments can grow at double the rate of houses, and those dollars are not the same."

YinYang / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Some Assets Might Be Hidden

You might think you know about everything that needs to be split in your divorce, but Olivia Summerhill, a divorce financial consultant with The Summerhill Firm, LLC, based in Seattle, said it's not uncommon for assets to be hidden in unexpected places.

"The person wanting the divorce may have been planning for a long time and placed joint money in areas the other spouse may not see," she said.

She said it's easier for business owners to maneuver assets around without the other spouse knowing than those who work for a company and earn a paycheck.

"They may also plan for the divorce and provide "loans" to businesspeople and then get those 'loans' back post-divorce," she said.

courtneyk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Your Credit Might Not as Good as You Think

If joint credit cards and other debts are in one spouse's name as the primary, this could be problematic for the other person, said Samantha Garcia, a wealth advisor and certified divorce analyst at Halbert Hargrove, based in Long Beach, California.

"For example, if every credit card that a couple shares is in one name, and then after a divorce, the other one can get cut off and has no credit card or mortgage history," she said. "If they want to refinance their current mortgage because they're taking it over, this can be problematic."

She said she once advised a client in this situation to open a credit card in her name and make monthly payments to start building up a good credit score.

More From GOBankingRates

This article originally appeared on 8 Ugly Financial Truths About Getting Divorced

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 04:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Liz Weston: Don’t confuse ‘fee-based’ with ‘fee-only’ financial planners

Dear Liz: How do you find a fee-based financial planner? I just inherited a lot of money, and trying to figure out our future is stressing me out.

Answer: That’s understandable. Getting sound advice can mean the difference between growing your newfound wealth and wasting it. But finding a good, honest, competent planner requires some work.

Most advisors aren’t fiduciaries, so they aren’t required to put your interests ahead of their own. Instead, they can recommend investments that cost more or perform worse than available alternatives, simply because the recommended investments pay them more.

Such advisors often call themselves “fee based,” hoping you’ll confuse them with “fee only” planners. Fee-only planners are compensated only by the fees you pay; they don’t accept commissions or other compensation that could influence their advice.

The National Assn. of Personal Financial Advisors and the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners are two organizations that represent fee-only planners, many of whom charge a percentage of your investable assets. You can find fee-only planners who work on an hourly basis at Garrett Planning Network and those who charge monthly retainer fees at XY Planning Network.

Interview at least three candidates. Ask them how they are paid and what your “all-in” costs — their fees plus the cost of investments they recommend — are likely to be. Ask about, and verify, their credentials. (You can check a certified financial planner’s status at Find out about their education and experience, including whether they’ve advised people similar to you.

They should be willing to assert in writing that they will be fiduciaries. Finally, check their backgrounds, including their disciplinary history, at

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions may be sent to her at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by using the “Contact” form at

If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation.

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 01:36:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Phonecheck Delivers New Levels of Transparency for Buying Refurbished Mobile Devices with Industry's First CarFax-Like Device History Report

Los Angeles, California--(Newsfile Corp. - October 13, 2022) - Phonecheck, an industry-leading mobile device certification provider, today introduced a new level of trust and transparency for buying refurbished devices with its Device History Report. The industry's first independently-validated CarFax-like Device History Report enables sellers of refurbished devices to deliver the full history and condition status via a comprehensive Device History Report to customers, before or after purchase, via print, link or QR code.

To view the full announcement, including downloadable images, bios, and more, click here.

Key Takeaways:

  • The industry's first independently-validated CarFax-like Device History Report enables sellers of refurbished devices to deliver the full history and condition status of used devices.

  • With security and fraud concerns on the rise, the report can be used as tool to avoid costly hidden problems such as carrier eligibility, cloud or financial locks on the device.

  • As the refurbished tech industry grows and more players enter the market, certification provides an important third party validation to build trust and transparency among buyers and sellers.

Click image above to view full announcement.

About Phonecheck 

Phonecheck is on a mission to build trust between buyers and sellers of used mobile phones. With its 80-point certification, ADISA-certified data wipe process and complete Device History Report for iOS and Android phones, Phonecheck is trusted by leading enterprise used device processors and global marketplaces like eBay to certify used devices at scale. By looking for the Phonecheck Certified logo, used device buyers can shop with confidence and transparency. Don't buy a used device without a Phonecheck Device History Report! Learn more at


Rebecca Renner

Source: Phonecheck

To view the source version of this press release, please visit

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 03:12:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Crossroads Impact Corp subsidiary receives $125 million Treasury bond

Capital Plus Financial received the largest of the bond guarantees issued under the fiscal year 2022 round

DALLAS, Oct. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Capital Plus Financial, a community development financial institution, certified B Corp and wholly owned subsidiary of Crossroads Impact Corp, announced that it will receive a $125 million bond ensure from the United States Treasury Department's CDFI Bond ensure Program, one of three guarantees totaling $355 million that the Treasury agreed to issue under the fiscal year 2022 round of the program. 

(PRNewsfoto/Crossroads Impact Corp)

This is the first time Capital Plus Financial has been named a bond recipient of this highly selective and competitive program and will allow Capital Plus Financial the ability to better serve its borrowers by providing long-term, fixed-rate cost of debt capital. Capital Plus Financial is one of only five CDFIs nationwide selected, and the $125 million bond issued on its behalf will be the largest of the year.

"The bond allocation will permit CPF to expand its work to assist qualified homebuyers, many of whom are first time homeowners, with the opportunity to own affordable homes that will help build generational wealth," said Thiru Vignarajah, CEO of Capital Plus Financial. "This important, mission-driven work is nothing new for CPF, which is committed to helping minority-owned small businesses and underrepresented populations have equal opportunities in the banking system."

"We are proud to be selected to be a part of the program, which allows us to enrich the communities we are a part of and fulfill the goals of the company," commented Eric Donnelly, CEO and director of Crossroads Impact Corp. "It further emphasizes the strong public-private partnership between the Treasury and the CDFI industry by arming CDFIs with long-dated, low-cost capital to continue to drive lending to those who need it most."

InBank, a new qualified issuer, will issue the bond via the CDFI to Financing Entity asset class. The bond allows CPF to expand its work and refinance existing debt in the portfolio, reducing the interest rate and duration risk of its existing portfolio. 

"It takes a lot of risk off the table in these uncertain economic times," added Donnelly. 

Established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the CDFI Bond ensure Program responds to a critical market need – capital to spur economic growth and jump start community revitalization. Under the program, qualified issuers (CDFIs or their designees) apply to the CDFI Fund for authorization to issue guaranteed bonds worth a minimum of $100 million in total. The bonds provide CDFIs with access to substantial long-term, fixed-rate capital to reignite the economies of distressed communities.

The program enables CDFIs to execute large-scale projects, including the development of commercial real estate, housing units, charter schools, daycare or health care centers, and rural infrastructure projects, among other asset classes. A total of more than $2.18 billion has been guaranteed since the inception of the CDFI Bond ensure Program, which provides long-term, fixed-rate capital for projects in low-income urban, rural and Native communities.

About Capital Plus Financial

Certified by the U.S. Treasury as a CDFI, Capital Plus Financial believes minority-owned small businesses and people of color are entitled to equal opportunities in the banking system and is committed to breaking down barriers in communities that have been disenfranchised, underserved, underbanked, and underfunded. Capital Plus is the wholly owned subsidiary of Crossroads Impact Corporation (OTCQX: CRSS), a holding company focused on investing in businesses that promote economic vitality and community development.

About Crossroads Impact Corp

Crossroads Impact Corp (OTCQX: CRSS) Crossroads Impact Corp's mission is to promote economic vitality through community development and equitable access to capital; harnessing the power for good to tackle systemic issues within underserved communities. Building on our history of serving minority individuals and small businesses through environmental and responsible social lending, we look to be the leader in providing innovative and sustainable lending solutions.

About the CDFI Fund

Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $5.5 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through: the Bank Enterprise Award Program; the Capital Magnet Fund; the CDFI Rapid Response Program; the Community Development Financial Institutions Program, including the Healthy Food Financing Initiative; the Economic Mobility Corps; the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program; the Native American CDFI Assistance Program; and the Small Dollar Loan Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $66 billion in tax credit allocation authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program and closed guaranteed bonds for more than $2.1 billion through the CDFI Bond ensure Program.

For information, contact
Andy Boian
dovetail solutions
303.868.0085 office
415.404.2539 cell

(PRNewsfoto/Crossroads Impact Corp)

Cision View original content to obtain multimedia:

SOURCE Crossroads Impact Corp

Thu, 06 Oct 2022 01:47:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Treasurer warns NC towns on financial watchlist to clean books or lose charters

Every day, our journalism dismantles barriers and shines a light on the critical overlooked and under-reported issues important to all North Carolinians.

If you like what you are practicing and believe in independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism like ours—journalism the way it should be—please contribute to keep us going. Reporting like this isn’t free to produce and we cannot do this alone. Thank you!

Carolina Public Press is launching a two-part series that takes a fresh look at why small rural towns in North Carolina are losing their charters as a result of fiscal distress, fraud, and an inability to operate themselves. In this, part one of the series, we investigate the signs of decline and which towns are top of the Local Government Commission’s financial watch list. In part two, the investigation will look into the impact of small towns losing their charters and what can be done to change it. Part two will be published on Oct. 19, 2022.

On June 30, the town of East Laurinburg ceased to exist as an incorporated municipality after its local government, elected officials and financial control were removed. No longer independent, it is now bound to the laws of Scotland County. The Local Government Commission’s (referred to as LGC) unanimous vote last year to revoke East Laurinburg’s charter came after years of fiscal distress, fraud and, in the end, an inability to operate itself.

A once-vibrant mill town, East Laurinburg is little more than a half-mile in length and consists mainly of low-income homes, two churches and an old school building that now houses an after-school ministry. Its population peaked at 890 people in 1940, then gradually declined to its current level of 345, according to 2020 U.S. census estimates. Nearly 47% of the population lives below the poverty line, 33% higher than the state average. A quarter of the population is Black.

Other towns across North Carolina are showing similar signs of decline. State Treasurer Dale Folwell named five towns in April 2021 that caused the most concern for the LGC: Eureka, Robersonville, Pikeville, Spring Lake and Kingstown. All were forced to yield financial control to the LGC within the past three years, as East Laurinburg was forced to do in November 2021, seven months before losing its charter.

“I know this sounds a little bit like one of those old Tom T. Hall country music songs when I’m naming all these places,” Folwell said then. “But unfortunately, there’s a lot more where this is going to happen.”

He called out two additional towns while speaking at an N.C. Press Association forum in August, pointing to “serious issues” in Navassa and Goldsboro as well. He said the LGC will likely “see more East Laurinburgs in the future.”

“They aren’t alone,” Folwell warned.

These seven towns are on the LGC’s Unit Assitance List, or UAL, which is designed to flag and monitor local governments plagued by financial incompetence and corruption. Along with others on the watchlist facing increased pressure from the LGC, they may soon face the most drastic punishment allowed by a new state law called the LGC Assistance Toolkit Act: removal of their charters and political representation.

The ‘red flags’ of East Laurinburg’s decline

Senate Bill 314 was signed into law in June 2021. The bill granted additional powers and resources to the LGC , including the ability to transfer all assets and “dissolve municipalities determined to be in financial distress.” The LGC is chaired by Folwell.

The agency has since ramped up its pressure on towns and cities on its watchlist. Last summer, for the first time in state history, the agency seized all financial assets of East Laurinburg and dissolved the town’s charter.

An investigative audit published by N.C. Auditor Beth Wood last October exposed serious financial negligence and corruption by town officials and elected leaders. The town had not filed a state-required annual audit since 2016, according to the report, and a former finance officer, Jennifer Lett, had also embezzled over $11,000 from town funds.

The LGC assumed control of the town’s financial affairs last November, and its assets were transferred to Scotland County the following June. At the time, only $30,000 remained in East Laurinburg’s cash reserves, said Scotland County Manager Kevin Patterson.

In the years leading up to the LGC’s decision, East Laurinburg showed the red flags of financial distress that many towns on the latest watchlist now exhibit: financial misconduct, a lack of internal control, town councils unable to make key decisions or work with the LGC and an inability to pass budgets or send in state-required audits.

Towns on the watchlist

Since April 2021, this Carolina Public Press reporter has discussed the issues surrounding East Laurinburg and other watchlist towns with Folwell over multiple interviews. A former motocross racer, Folwell often compares the LGC’s work to that of a repairman using the tools of oversight and guidance to fix broken towns across the state.

This list was compiled with data from the LGC’s 2022 Unit Assistance List. It is important to note that towns that failed to submit a 2020-21 audit did not receive risk scores and are not reflected in these rankings.

This list was compiled with data from the LGC’s 2022 Unit Assistance List. It is important to note that towns that failed to submit a 2020-21 audit did not receive risk scores and are not reflected in these rankings.

The seven towns Folwell has specifically mentioned — those he believes are vulnerable to losing their charters — are low-income, rural towns sharing similar demographic characteristics: according to the latest U.S. census estimates in 2020, the average per capita income of all seven towns is $23,500, nearly $12,000 below the statewide average; at least 12% live below the poverty line in six of the seven; and in four, the majority of people are Black.

According to Folwell, Wood and several town officials, these seven towns — along with others facing varying degrees of pressure by the LGC — face a critical issue: a shortage of qualified financial officers and audit firms willing to work with small local governments.

Additionally, all seven towns mentioned by Folwell are mired in financial control issues similar to those experienced by East Laurinburg prior to losing its charter. Goldsboro and Robersonville, for instance, have not yet submitted an audit for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

More towns may soon follow suit, especially those currently in the LGC’s bad graces for failing to submit state-mandated annual audits.

Like East Laurinburg, nearly 50 towns were marked “audit not yet submitted” on the 2022 UAL. As of Sept. 28, only 12 of those 49 towns had turned in late audits, according to LGC spokesman Dan Way. Ten of those 49 also failed to produce an audit the previous year. Two towns, Black Creek and Lucama, have skipped three consecutive audits, while Princeville has skipped at least four.

Trouble brewing in Navassa

The town of Navassa lies west of Wilmington across the Cape Fear River in northern Brunswick County — one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. Leland, which has attracted much of that growth, borders Navassa to the south.

Stark differences exist between the two neighbors. According to data from the 2020 census, Navassa’s estimated population of 2,135 — 57% Black — has a per capita income of $19,000 and a median home value of $137,300, while 16.5% live below the poverty line. In contrast, Leland’s population of 21,903 — 81% white — has a per capita income of $36,300 and a median property home value of $254,400, while only 5.6% live below the poverty line.

The town has received four “high risk” marks on the LGC’s watchlist over the past three years. In the past year alone, the town has been left without an administrator since June, has failed to hold a quorum among council members on multiple occasions to discuss directives issued by the LGC and has received advice from the district attorney to consider contracting its law enforcement services to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office because its own officers were furloughed until a budget was approved earlier this year.

Councilman James Hardy acknowledged the town has “a lot of staffing positions that haven’t been filled” and is now using the services of its former finance officer and administrator, Claudia Bray, as a contracted certified public accountant, according to Wood. He said financial operations will continue to be bottlenecked until the town hires a new administrator.

Although Navassa did submit its 2020-21 audit, it was marked “high risk” for internal control issues, as it was on the 2020 and 2021 UALs.

The next target: Goldsboro

Goldsboro is the county seat of rural Wayne County, southeast of the state’s most populous county, Wake County. Acting upon a request by Folwell to investigate concerns of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, Wood’s office opened an investigation into the town’s finances last January. The city scored “high risk” for financial issues and internal control issues on the 2020 and 2021 UALs, and has yet to submit an audit of the 2020-21 fiscal year. Wood said she could not comment when asked if the investigation was ongoing.

Town leaders, including the mayor and city manager, were asked what they are doing to Improve the high-risk scores Goldsboro received in 2020 and 2021. City spokesperson LaToya Henry issued the town’s response.

“We are adding necessary staffing, adding procedures and policies, and implementing increased monitoring of activities,” Henry said.

She also praised the 14-year career in local government by its current finance director, Catherine Gwynn, hired in early 2019. The town believes it is “well prepared and equipped to continue to move the city forward with fiscal responsibility,” Henry stated.

She said FORVIS, one of the largest government auditing agencies in the Southeast, anticipates completing the 2020-21 audit by the end of October. The 2018-19 audit was delayed, she explained, because the previous finance director and assistant finance director had retired at the end of 2018.

High-Risk Spring Lake

Spring Lake, a Cumberland County town of 12,000 people bordering Fort Bragg, received high-risk scores across the board on its 2020 and 2021 UALs — one of seven towns that have received high-risk scores in all three categories in the last three years.

At the August media forum, Folwell mentioned accurate media reports revealing 35 “missing” city vehicles in Spring Lake. The town has also faced intense scrutiny ever since an embezzlement case against the town’s former finance director reached offices of the FBI and federal prosecutor Michael Easley Jr. Last week, the former official pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $500,000 of the town’s funds; she faces up to 12 years in prison.

Spring Lake’s interim town manager, Joe Durham, who will return full time to his Raleigh law firm next week, said a list provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles actually showed 97 city vehicles were unaccounted for, far above the previously reported 35 missing vehicles. Those 97, according to Durham, consist of vehicles salvaged or auctioned long ago, including a 1957 Ford truck and 1962 International truck. After reviewing the matter, he believes each of the missing vehicles was a result of “a careless and unsystematic record-keeping process as it relates to the acquisition and disposition of motor vehicles,” not a result of any nefarious actions.

Durham pointed to the state auditor’s report, published in March, outlining serious financial discrepancies in the town’s books. In addition to the $500,000 embezzled by its former finance director, the report found that $36,400 was missing from Spring Lake’s revenue and recreation departments, and that town employees spent more than $100,000 on questionable credit card purchases.

“There are many issues related to the financial management of Spring Lake. And they have been there for many years; it’s a pattern that’s in place,” Durham said, a pattern of financial discrepancies spanning decades.

Other towns have faced scrutiny in the form of state Auditor Wood’s investigative audits. Reports published in 2022 include Robersonville, Franklinton, Ocean Isle Beach and Spring Lake.

Treasurer Folwell believes, however, that the conviction of Spring Lake’s former finance director “is the freshest example of government agencies coming together to stop people who are embezzling.”

An unknown future for East Laurinburg

On a hot summer afternoon in June, just weeks before her town would lose its charter, Betty Robbins recalled the “good old days” while sitting on her front porch. Robbins served as a town commissioner from 2010-14.

She spoke of her childhood in East Laurinburg, when the town hosted a Fourth of July celebration every summer and the children played in the streets with little concern for their safety.

“It was a nice place to live; I raised my children here,” Robbins, now 81, said at the time. “You didn’t have to lock the door every time you left your house like you do now, because the way crime is now. It’s terrible.”

She insisted that during her time on council, the town was led by a capable mayor and secretary who “kept the money straight with the state.”

Folwell insists that when it was dechartered, East Laurinburg hadn’t lost its “sense of community,” only its ability to govern itself.

For Robbins there is only uncertainty. “You have a sign up there now that says, ‘East Laurinburg City Limits.’ Now, what will we have? We’re in the [Scotland] county now.”

Corrections: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of East Laurinburg’s former finance officer, Jennifer Lett. Additionally, Wayne County is near Wake County but does not border it.

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 06:08:00 -0500 en-US text/html
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