Olivia Summerhill helps affluent divorcing women by providing practical financial decision-making guidance so that they can control and maintain their deserved living standards post-divorce. Growing up, Olivia saw the devastating effects of divorce on her stay-at-home mother in her own ultra-high-net-worth family. This inspired her intense curiosity about money. While Olivia's financial career began at JP Morgan Chase in 2012, she quickly developed a reputation for being an expert resource for high-net-worth families. She persisted in her training and pursued multiple designations in finance, including obtaining her Series 6, 63, 65, 99, and insurance licenses. Years later, Olivia continued to develop her mastery in finance as a Wealth Manager in a boutique investment firm specializing in financial planning for high-profile and high-net-worth individuals. Over the decade, she became a Certified Philanthropic Advisor, Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist, Behavioral Financial Advisor, and Certified Financial Planner to best counsel her unique clientele. Finally, Olivia started her firm and became a Certified Divorce Specialist, Money Coach, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
[00:00:00.73[00:00:03.970] - Kirby Rosplock
Welcome to the Tamarind Learning Podcast. My name is Dr. Kirby Rosplock, and today we are talking divorce. But we've got a champion expert with us, Olivia Somerhill. Olivia has been studying and working with men and women as it relates to divorce and helping them succeed as they go through the complicated and sometimes technical process of figuring out how to operate as they're going through this stressful time. Now, Olivia has a lot of experience. She grew up in a family that had to go through divorce, and she's also studied and has her series 6, 63,65, 99, all these wonderful investment licenses, insurance licenses. She has a background in financial planning, chartered retirement plan specialist, behavioral financial advisor. I just learned a new thing, the money coach. So chartered Money Coach, so she has lots and lots of knowledge and certifications and experience working directly with women as it relates to their divorcing. And so tell me more, Olivia, how did you find this passion and what is it exactly that you get to do with women?
[00:01:21.690] - Olivia Summerhill
So, in a family, when you are around them and they're in the midst of a divorce, the emotions are so high and everyone in that family is going to be affected in a negative way if the right team isn't brought into place or if neither of the parents are addressing their emotions. So I got into this because I've seen what happens when families don't address the financial agonies and the emotions of what happened with the finances and divorce. I come from ultra high net worth family that went through divorce and did not bring in the right people and did not talk about the finances and just let their emotions get the best of both of them. So the male and female, my mother and father, and the children were affected negatively. That includes me. So I got into finance very young so that I would always know what to do with the financial situation in my life and be very independent and help clients as well in wealth management and private banking. And I got as much education and experience as I possibly could. And then I decided, oh my goodness, I need to do the work on myself, on how childhood actually affected me financially and emotionally.
[00:02:43.030] - Olivia Summerhill
And that divorce that I went through with my parents affected me in a negative way that I needed to address. So after addressing that on my own terms, I decided to start my own firm specifically to help families understand the finances throughout the divorce process, lower those emotions, do the money coaching. I'm a divorce financial analyst as well, so I understand helping women specifically get the options in divorce so that year after year, once they're divorced, that family, they can actually go on family vacations. And they're not fighting about the random school play, equipment for sports that the children need to go through and what needs to be purchased and who's going to pay for it, because they're both at this ease and they both understand the finances. So I know that's a long winded answer, but I help women and the family specifically collaborate together during the divorce process with the finances and affluent families so that they can move forward in a happy way.
[00:03:51.000] - Kirby Rosplock
In a happy way, which is ultimately what everybody is seeking, right? It's just finding some peace and salvation and moving on because nobody gets married to get divorced. I'm sure at the end of the day, your biggest job is just helping families feel whole, even if they're going on with their separate lives. Tell me more about sort of the financial side of what you see happening in divorce. And is it the same for men and women or is it sort of different, do you see?
[00:04:24.210] - Olivia Summerhill
So I see it completely different because typically the men that are getting into the divorce, like the part of the world that are moving into or getting into the divorce realm, they have been the CEO at a bank or they have been the family business owner for 20 years. And so they're more financially savvy than the female in the relationship. And that could be a bias that changes over time. But for right now, that is absolutely what I see. And it's a bias underneath as well that the female in the relationship typically was staying at home 15 years or so, 15, 20 years, watching the children and really educating them and being that completely absolute advocate for the family dynamic. And she usually is blindsided by the finances all of a sudden wanting this divorce, not sure where the accounts are. So that's where I come into play, is helping both of the couple, where I'm really helping her, but in a way, it's both of the couple. Because when she understands what's happening in the divorce with the finances again, that fear and all that despair and that guilt and helplessness and feeling like maybe she didn't exist in the relationship and now she's all of a sudden being kicked out or that out of control feeling, the anxiousness feeling all of the embarrassment against herself of feeling, oh, my gosh, I never knew the finances. I'm so embarrassed, this is my fault.
[00:05:54.830] - Olivia Summerhill
No, it is nothing that needs to be in the divorce realm if we can avoid it or when I come into play, helping her understand her new identity and her new values. And that really the emotional aspect. If we can really help through that and go through your money behaviors and patterns, she benefits and understands where she's at in the divorce and the financial aspect and her options. And then that male figure, the one that's been running the business, that's been dominating the finances, who's been really helping the family, right. He's been the one who's been providing in a different way. She's provided in so many ways. And so he benefits as well. And then they can coexist, hopefully post divorce. And that's what I do see. So I say hopefully. But the women I work with, they're going on vacation with their exes and their children and it's just a beautiful thing. Beautiful.
[00:06:50.070] - Kirby Rosplock
Yeah, that's pretty incredible. I admit I don't see that as frequently, but I love that notion that there's such harmony and there is such understanding of we are mutually working together really for the benefit of our children. And I can imagine that plays out more with younger families, right, with younger children versus potentially older children. I know. I see a lot of families who wait, right, they wait to drop the bomb about divorce until the kids are mostly or completely out of the nest. How do you think that influences sort of the divorce dynamic and the work that you do?
[00:07:32.190] - Olivia Summerhill
So I see both. But if there's a family that's been waiting, I see that it then takes even longer once the children are right out of house and then they decide to hire that divorce attorney or mediator or collaborative team or litigating team. We could talk about what the differences are and where people could go and turn to in the divorce realm to start the process and what's best for certain families. But let's just say they choose a mediator post the children leaving the house and going to college, that they're ready. They've wanted this divorce for years. I see it take actually longer because they're comfortable both parties, and at some point they're paralyzed to move forward because they're comfortable in what's been happening. They don't really understand what should they be doing next and is this best for both parties so it can take longer? Of course there's a flip side where I've seen not as much, but that okay, we've been wanting to do this for so many years, let's get this done really quickly and let's be amicable and just get through the process. What do we need to do? We're on top of things, we're productive, and we're going to get this done fast.
[00:08:46.310] - Olivia Summerhill
It just depends on the couple. But the process can sometimes take longer because then you're also keeping in mind the children are, even though they're out of house, they're still on your mind. They don't just all of a sudden poof disappear. You can now live your own life. You still have your children that are going to be affected and you still need to bring them into the conversation. So sometimes it paralyzes the couple on what to do or it prolongs it because they're still comfortable. They've maybe been living separate lives for so many years. Why even have him move out if they've been able to do this for so long?
[00:09:23.190] - Kirby Rosplock
Yeah. I also think children sense earlier than parents want to acknowledge that something's amiss. And so staying together even though there's a really toxic relationship sometimes, I think can be harder as they become adults, because then A, they don't have a good model of what marriage really means, B they feel like cheated that, wait, mom and dad, you hate each other. Why did you stay together and live this lie? And now my childhood was a lie. Like, what is going on? So I think it can also really impact, and you obviously have your own personal experience of living this, so it's super difficult. There's not ever a good time. But I agree with you that perhaps being courageous enough to address it and really taking the steps. Tell me more about where you see the gaps of knowledge or the things that women tell you, god, I wish I knew this before I started this process. How are you helping close the gap?
[00:10:29.450] - Olivia Summerhill
I think the most powerful thing is understanding that they can trust their gut and they can understand what they actually want out of life for themselves. And if someone's watching this, you can see my hand motions, but if you're just listening to this audible today, you won't see that I'm pointing at myself in my heart and my existence. So when you actually can understand that you have an own identity as a person, and it's not just what you've been doing the last 10, 15, 20 years, that really understanding what you want out of life, who you are as a person, your values, and getting to understand yourself and where you want to be and having those options. I say the word options so many times because that gives women and men and children, everyone wants options because that gives you the control. So if you can understand yourself a little better during the divorce process and maybe not even go the divorce route, I have absolutely told people that I've been working with that you don't need to at this point. It's your decision. I always leave it in their hands. But you may just work best if I refer you out to a marriage counselor, and that's what I'll do.
[00:11:45.880] - Olivia Summerhill
So sometimes there's not even a border that needs to happen. It's just getting to know who you are as a person, getting the options, feeling in control and then letting your emotions guide you to that next long term plan. Which might be, again, getting a different resource involved, having a really fun trip as a couple and understanding each other and communicating differently. I'll say financial aspects for Americans, 97% of us have money anxiety. So if you can imagine that's amplified if one party is thinking of divorce. Divorce and finance is not fun topics for most people, right? So if I can come in, or if another professional can come in, like a therapist or a beautiful attorney giving the right advice, you can lower the emotions and have conversations as a couple. And again, maybe not even go down the divorce path. Or you go down the divorce path, but you stay friends and you guys can have this amicable relationship and not feel belittled, battered, small, smothered, stupid, unprotected, unloved. All these emotions and thoughts that sometimes can be amplified and last for 30 more years post divorce, feeling hurt, ignorant, and incompetent. All of the stuff I hear.
[00:13:06.360] - Olivia Summerhill
And if we can change the dynamic and have someone be in more control of themselves and understand to trust their own gut, they can move forward in a happier way, married or not.
[00:13:17.950] - Kirby Rosplock
Yeah, let's shift gears a little bit here and talk about financial agreements like prenups and postnups because, wow, it's so interesting when families might have rules about this is what we do, this is our culture, this is our value. And everyone should have a prenup or family would say, hey, you didn't do this. However, now we want you to. Or maybe one party becomes more in doubt during a marriage and a postnup makes sense. Talk us through how that can trigger anxiety, stress, and what you might help with a couple who's facing those types of agreements.
[00:14:04.830] - Olivia Summerhill
Okay, great question. So a prenup and a postnup. I'm very much a big believer in because it forces that financial conversation. And I am not a lawyer, so I'm not going to give any advice here. And you want to make sure you go to the right attorney. I have a beautiful array, a vast array of resources. So if anyone does have questions on who to go to, just reach out to me. I can give great advice on who's the best person for personality fits to have these agreements made or have a conversation around them. But I do believe that having these conversations in divorce or before divorce or before marriage or during marriage, all of these financial conversations are imperative.
[00:14:51.870] - Olivia Summerhill
And if you can do it before you even get married and like you were saying, some families and cultures are very much adamant, you need to get this. This is going to protect you. Some absolutely not a thing because there's shame around it. Don't get a prenup that shows that he doesn't love you or she absolutely is going to not want to give you something during this process or it's going to assume that you're going to get divorced. All of these emotions again, come around these agreements. But again, I think it's so important to have the conversation, even though it's scary because it shows where you both stand financially. And typically what I see is 30 years ago they didn't have wealth, they didn't have a premium, it wasn't a conversation. Now they're both $450,000,000 in or $500 million in into the relationship. They have these businesses that just went public. Whatever the case may be, they have wealth. And so as you're talking about having a post up is important or to having these conversations in general, just talking to the right attorney. And those conversations are very tough but very good to have.
[00:16:01.810] - Kirby Rosplock
Yeah, no I totally agree. And I know a lot of families think that the less endowed spouse might be disadvantaged right in this process. And actually that cannot be the case where you can actually be much more protected by having some of these agreements. And again, that's a myth that I see quite frequently that I love for your thoughts about.
[00:16:30.250] - Olivia Summerhill
Yes, if you are, let's say, the lesson endowed spouse or the one who hasn't been making the income each year and you are a little worried about, let's say, getting married and having that prenup, I think, at least in the American culture, it is that stigma against the prenup for the less endowed spouse. But it can actually benefit you because, again, you're having the conversations about money and what's going on. And so you both are being so open and it might bring up a lot. So it's opening Pandora's box. But wouldn't you rather have that conversation before you get married and understand each other on a deeper level than keeping it hush hush? Don't have the conversation, and then potentially not being protected as the less endowed spouse, the one coming into the marriage potentially with not a big inheritance or not the assets under some kind of realm in the family that you came from. It's a very positive thing in my mind.
[00:17:33.890] - Kirby Rosplock
Yeah, well, we were speaking earlier that I have lived the experience of going through a postnup. And for those who aren't familiar, that's when you actually sort of monetize your marriage, after you've been married so long, and you're coming up with an agreement of how you will hopefully part amicably so that the divorce proceedings would be very clear and easy and simplified. And I know my husband and I found that process probably the most stressful, anxiety-ridden, and just a horrible experience to feel like you're monetizing your children, not just your assets, not just your home, not just your liquid wealth, if you have that, but actually really monetizing, well, what should you get or what should I get? And I really have to put a plug out there that if you are one of those families or you feel so inclined to do a prenup, please do a prenup over a post. Not because post nups are miserable.
[00:18:34.630] - Olivia Summerhill
But it's better than getting divorced. It's better than getting divorced.
[00:18:39.910] - Kirby Rosplock
Absolutely, that is true. And I tell you, we ultimately decided, that we needed, my husband and I, needed to work out these terms and not use our attorneys. I think we saved a lot of attorney dollars by not, sort of having different attorneys duke this out. And ultimately we fired one of our attorneys and said, we don't need to, we're making this decision as adults and husband and wife. And it turned out to be really good for us because it did align us. It was a painful process, but it really did get us on the same page. And get us very clear on how we sort of viewed legacy assets that I inherited, wealth that we created during the term of the marriage, wealth that came in during our marriage. So I really feel that had we had someone like you, Olivia, to help us, it probably would have been even better. But I do think families and couples can work these kinds of issues out, especially if they have the right intentions and the right goals in mind.
[00:19:48.010] - Olivia Summerhill
I will say getting the right attorney, and that's, again, why I say if someone needs assistance on who to turn to, a lot of people come to me. I don't work with most people, because I actually, I only work with three to five people at a time. I'm very specific on what I do. My niche is very in tune. So I usually turn people away in a good way and say, you need this resource. This is where I'm going to send you. This is what you need to do next. And so when I say that, you really have to find those right attorneys, or else when people come to me, I do help them in the process of, this is not the right person for you. You should be firing them. Again, they're in control. They're in the driver's seat, I'm in the passenger seat as the client, and then I'm the professional. They make the final decision. But sometimes that has to happen because if you don't have the right divorce attorneys doing that postnup or helping you through the divorce process in general, it can make things much worse. So there's different types of divorces, and I always recommend if you can go and get the right professionals or start the process in the right place, that will help you.
[00:20:56.520] - Olivia Summerhill
So I'm really glad to hear your story and thank you for sharing with us, because that's very helpful to hear that you took control.
[00:21:05.030] - Kirby Rosplock
Well, it was scary. And I have to say, I so love that you bring up about the role of the attorneys in this whole process because there are sort of personas of sort of different legal counsel, and some will be like the junkyard dog who will just sick and be a pit bull and be just intense. There's also attorneys that I've worked with that are very process oriented and very practical, and they want to neutralize conflict. So escalate conflict, neutralize conflict. And I think you have to really know what kind of person you're hiring in advance. Again, back to agreements and legal terms, I'm sure you provide a lot of value just helping your clients understand who they've hired or who they're considering hiring and what they want the experience of that prenup, postnup, or divorce process to look like. How do people find you, Olivia?
[00:22:08.170] - Olivia Summerhill
I am word of mouth, so I don't have the social media stuff going on. That's just not my brand. So people can find me at my website, the Summer Hill Firm, and I do have a podcast, but it's very specific on giving educational conversations with other divorce professionals worldwide. So it's very tailored to my clientele. It's Divorce for Wealthy Women. You can find it on any Apple, Google, Spotify, any platform. But again, it's very tailored. So not everyone's going to listen to that. Actually, barely anyone's going to listen to it unless they're a divorce professional or if they are about to go through divorce. So it's very beneficial for those who need it. But not everyone today is going to be wanting to go to my podcast.
[00:22:58.890] - Kirby Rosplock
Hey, well, it's out there as a resource, and I don't know if the statistic is still out there that about 50% of marriages end in divorce. Is it better? Is it worse? What is it now?
[00:23:12.670] - Olivia Summerhill
We could talk about what I just talked to a reporter about. It is a little higher. And then second marriages, it actually goes to 65%. And if you're in a third marriage, 72% to 73% ended in divorce. If I could be out of a job, that would be phenomenal. If I didn't have to work in a divorce field, I would love to do something different in the charitable planning or something else in investment management like I used to. But right now, there's a need for this. So as long as we still have divorces, let's make it more amicable, less emotional, and get through it and so that families aren't affected like mine was.
[00:23:52.350] - Kirby Rosplock
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for being our guest today on the Tamarind Learning podcast. I feel like you've shed so much great insight, experience, and wisdom. Maybe you want to leave us with a couple, one or two, sort of takeaways or things that people could get actionable on if they're faced with prenups, postnups, or possibly divorce.
[00:24:15.970] - Olivia Summerhill
I think that the best thing that you can do if you want actionable items is to understand where you are as a person. Maybe get a therapist and understand what you're going through or get the right team members involved. So that may be a therapist. That may be someone in the financial realms to understand that attorneys. Bring in the professionals wherever you're at in the divorce process or pre planning, or maybe you're not going to get divorced. And then know yourself and know your values so that you can really move forward in life wherever you may be going.
[00:24:50.650] - Kirby Rosplock
That's great closing thoughts for this podcast. So appreciative to have you here today. Great insights and wisdom from Olivia Summerhill. Again, check out her website, www.summerhillfirm.com. And thanks so much for joining us on today's Tamarind Learning podcast. Signing out.
[00:25:13.80] - Olivia Summerhill
Thanks for having me.