Sorting through tough money tangles in divorce takes qualified professionals
By Madeleine Wagner
Photograph by Valery Taylor Smith
If you’ve been through a divorce, you know how difficult it can be. If you haven’t, imagine every bad day you’ve had up to this point in your life happening one after the other, and you have to face them while simultaneously battling a wicked case of the flu. You’re tired. And drained. You’re likely angry, confused or depressed. You can’t seem to catch a break. You are ill-equipped to make decisions and answer the questions required of you to make it out of this maelstrom.
Analogies aside, that’s about where The Financial Knot’s clients are when they come to founder, Stephanie Vokral, and her team. They’re often hurting emotionally and struggling to understand the financial questions before them as they continue through divorce’s many hurdles. Clients of The Financial Knot (TFK) — often women who aren’t the “CFOs” of their families — can typically advocate for what they want. But when it comes to “divorce money” and their various assets, they might not know which pieces to advocate for in order to secure their financial future.
Women and money
A certified financial planner practitioner and certified divorce financial analyst certified financial planner who’s been through a divorce herself, Vokral realized that there was a need for someone to provide advice on financial complexities while offering practical solutions for activities such as opening a checking account or credit card and buying a new home. She and her staff come alongside these individuals — or even work with couples together as a neutral party.
“Money seems to be a tough topic for women. But I don’t promote divorce or tension in people’s marriages,” she said. “I am trying to promote conversation and involvement in financial decisions. I want to empower women to not be afraid of asking questions.”
Vokral tackled her own fears to assist others in doing the same
As a financial planner for over 23 years, Vokral realized the need for this kind of assistance in 2004, but she didn’t shift to divorce work until 2014, formally creating TFK in 2019.
“I think, like most women, I was afraid to start my own business and follow my heart,” she said. “I realized my life was going by too fast, so I decided to just trust God and step out on my own.”
One aspect of her job that she loves most is seeing people from a place of heartbreak to a place where they’re flourishing again. It’s rewarding for her to play a part in that, whether she’s working in divorce or with soon-to-be retirees or widows in her wealth management practice.
Her main goal is to help clients fully understand their options and work toward “creative solutions that foster peace.”
“When I went through my divorce, I often wondered if there was a more peaceful way we could have gone about it,” she said. “There’s a lot of emotion involved in divorce. Each person often runs out and gets a lawyer to protect themselves. But TFK tries to act as a financial neutral to show couples how they can work together rather than further tearing their relationship apart. After all, couples may always be connected through their children, so why not make it easier to get along in the future at those family events?”
Vokral is also helping women in other ways
Beyond playing a role in improving her clients’ lives financially, the long-time Columbia resident is also working toward a bigger goal of helping in the fight against human trafficking. This issue came to her attention after she did some volunteering in the prison system several years ago.
“Some of the incarcerated women had horrible stories of the abuses they suffered,” she said.
Vokral’s goal is to have contributed $100,000 in business income by 2024 to organizations that work to end human trafficking. She wants other women to catch her vision, too, and join her.
“I realized over the last few years that it’s a problem that’s right under our noses,” she said.
“This is our community and these are our children. If we don’t fight for them, who will?”
Learn more about Stephanie Vokral and TFK at thefinancialknot.com.
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