Women’s Transitions: $ Moves

By Heidi Clute

Our first article looked at the major changes women can face, from a booming business to the death of a spouse. Here are specific transitions that bring additional financial challenges, and how to cope.

Business ownership. Most small-business owners regard their enterprise as their greatest personal asset and primary source of family income. So protecting your company and planning for your future financial security are often the same goal. When the time comes to sell it, the experience can be tough. Selling your business can also stimulate a strong sense of loss and grief.

If you’re a woman facing an impending sale, you’re probably not alone: Women own more than 9.1 million firms in the U.S., employing nearly 7.9 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in annual sales as of last year, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Strategies you can take to help safeguard your finances during rapid growth or after the sale of your business:

* Don’t mix rapid growth and inexperience. That often means not gifting a rapidly growing business to your inexperienced adult children. Uncontrolled growth in the wrong hands can quickly dissipate corporate assets — and that part of your nest egg that hinges on the business.

* Protect your income after the sale. If something happens to the buyer, your payments can end abruptly. Request that duplicate notices be sent to you when premium payments are made on key-man life and disability insurance (which covers a business‘s indispensable personnel).

Divorce. Whether you are considering separation or are already in or just finished divorce proceedings, the decisions you make now will affect the rest of your life.

Dividing wealth in a divorce is never easy, especially with increasingly complex investment options. Splitting a portfolio the wrong way can trigger vastly unequal tax consequences. You can, for instance, make a mess of portioning assets if you overlook the qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) form, which facilitates access to a former spouse’s otherwise-protected retirement plan savings.

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