CVP ADVERTISER: “Marriage is about love — divorce is about money,” says John Cito, a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) whose Cito Capital Advisors is devoted to helping women navigate the financial waters of their divorce using his “Your Life, Your Way” agenda.
His own parents’ divorce was neither fair nor equitable.
“No planning was done,” said Cito, a paid CLIFFVIEW PILOT advertiser.
So after opening his own shop in 1986 — following stints with Merrill Lynch and Shearson and LF Rothschild — Cito shifted his focus in 2004 to the divorcing women’s market.
In doing so, he became one of only a few hundred CDFAs in the U.S. at that tme.
CDFAs at brokerage firms ordinarily wait until the divorce is over before stepping in.
“By being independent — and not affiliated with any brokerage firm — I get involved from the beginning, help them chose a lawyer if necessary and act as their financial valet throughout the entire process,” Cito said.
Both sides in a divorce spend much of their time at the beginning of what usually becomes a year-long process trying to understand the financial impact.
Cito, who has offices in Hackensack and Red Bank, “simplifies the complexity of the financial situation for divorcing women,” reducing the apprehension by providing a clear picture of how their decisions today will impact their future.
This way, clients “can make educated decisions” at every step instead of having a settlement “floating back and forth,” he said.
Cito attends settlement conferences, works closely with divorce lawyers, attends hearings — “whatever is needed.”
Once the divorce is complete, Cito serves as a personal chief financial officer to handle his clients’ long-term financial and tax issues. He’ll even help you work out a household budget.
It’s more important than you might think.
Expenses such as life and health insurance and cost of living increases have an enormous affect on a divorced woman’s bottom line. Those who don’t plan for it are often shocked.
“Going through a divorce is traumatic,” Cito said. “I help navigate the confusing financial waters of the process. I manage expectations and provide a reality check so that they can have a good, sound, stable future.”
Cito’s clients come from various backgrounds and incomes — from $60,000/year to $1.3 million. Some are the wives of business owners, doctors and high-level C Suite executives. Others are working-class types who’ve spent decades saving money.
“The ‘gray divorce market’ is growing,” Cito said. “The couple has grown apart, having stayed married until the kids were grown — and now the kids are out of the house.”
Cito adds a charitable twist to his business: Instead of charging for an initial consultation, he asks people to buy supplies for American soldiers stationed overseas. Cito then pays the postage.
“It’s the least I could do,” he said. “The response has been amazing.”
In the end, Cito provides the key element missing in most divorces: true financial expertise.
The challenges are managing expectations and a reality check of what the future financial picture will be. Having a CDFA work closely with the attorney adds strength to the divorce team of professionals.
Or as Cito says: “It’s all about the math.”
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