Client Stories

It's a Whole New Life

Mary is getting divorced after twenty-two years of marriage and is anticipating a financial settlement that she expects she will need to supplement her earned income. Mary's soon-to-be ex-husband always dealt with money issues in their relationship, so she feels she could make mistakes along the way if she doesn't get financial advice as well as the legal advice she is already getting. For Mary, North Berkeley's comprehensive approach helps her:

  • Understand the pros and cons of selling her house versus buying her husband out, balancing emotional complication with a more analytical long-term financial perspective
  • Budget monthly for regular household expenses as well as for periodic expenses like annual insurance premiums and semi-annual property taxes
  • Set a monthly draw on her assets so money lands in her checking account every month as a supplement to her paycheck
  • Set some liquid assets aside for a period of transition and uncertainty where she may have unanticipated expenses
  • Investigate the financial consequences of a career shift – both in terms of near-term training costs and long-term income upside
  • Learn the basics, without jargon, about how her investments are managed, and what to expect from portfolio management at North Berkeley
  • Make sure she has appropriate insurance coverage on her property and life
  • Find a CPA and an estate planning attorney to work with so she can build her own relationships for tax and estate advice, separate from her ex-husband, as she finishes moving through this life transition


The stories we tell here are broad examples shared after years of working with hundreds of clients. No person or name actually represents a unique client situation, as our client relationships are held in strictest confidence.