Velocity and CDFA® – Year One! (Guest Blog)

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JUNE, 2018

Andrew Hatherley

As I look back over my first year as a CDFA®, which roughly coincides with my year in the Velocity program, I think of all the things I have accomplished but at the same time reflect on where I have fallen short. Regarding the latter, I choose not to sink into the deep sea of despair (this is something adventurous entrepreneurs will encounter every so often!) but instead to build off the accomplishments and re-dedicate myself to righting the ship where it might have run aground.

I realized soon after earning the CDFA® credential that there was still a LOT to learn about the divorce business. In fact, I was shocked! Immediately, I set out to add to my resume and get prepared for the work ahead by taking additional training. I took the IACP’s two-day Collaborative Divorce training and joined the Collaborative group in Las Vegas. I took an intensive four-day Divorce Mediation Training with the Family Resolution Institute in San Diego. I also attended IDFA’s annual conference in Denver for additional CDFA® education. Finally, I set up a monthly Second Saturday Divorce Workshop in Las Vegas to help educate the community about divorce.

I can’t help but thinking: fear of not knowing “enough” (while encouraging me to get extra training which will benefit my practice growth, the quality of the work I do and most importantly, my clients) caused me to sabotage myself by putting off actually doing the work. In my own defense, most of us won’t know which area of the CDFA® world we want to specialize in right out of the gate, so we want to continue to educate ourselves. And we need to! But I can’t emphasize enough that at some stage we need to make that big, bold scary step of actually doing the work!

“Most of us won’t know which area of the CDFA® world we want to specialize in right out of the gate, so we want to continue to educate ourselves.”

One good step is to do some pro-bono work to start. It kicked me into gear and started some positive momentum by helping people. Believe it or not, your “client” will be happy because you already know so much more than they do, even if YOU think you’re a complete fraud. You will learn and build the confidence to begin to charge a decent hourly rate, imparting your hard-earned knowledge and getting some return on investment! It took me a while and to be honest I’m still not quite there yet (are we EVER there?) but that confidence will come. And the more you do the work, the less fear you will have doing more going forward.

Listen, there is a BIG learning curve in learning the work of a divorce financial planner. It requires some skills and a mindset that may be foreign to many A-type financial advisors, particularly when it comes to working as a financial neutral with divorcing couples. We need to learn not to impose our optimal solution on our clients and to let them lead the way. Of course, we should guide them and insert our expertise when necessary. And in presenting them with a twenty year forward-looking picture of their financial well being (or not) we can influence their negotiations for their own good. But we must never lose sight that this is their marriage and their divorce. They are responsible human beings and they have hired us for our expertise. Whether they choose to take our advice or not (we can only hope they do) is their decision, which may be based on a financial and emotional backstory of which we may have seen only half the picture. Remember the sheet of paper that keeps folding smaller and smaller? If you have no idea what I’m talking about just ask Nancy!

I really enjoyed the Velocity Weekly conference call. The content calls educated us on the work of being a CDFA®, the mindset calls gave us perspective on our growth and potential and the Q and A calls were great in helping us with our client cases. Most of all, we learned what other CDFA®s in the program are doing in their practice, to emulate their successes, share their frustrations and, much like divorce, avoid their mistakes. Newly minted CDFA®s don’t all want the same thing. Some will prefer to work as a financial neutral while others will work as advocates. Others will prefer the numbers side of the game and deal less with the human element. Others will happily search out attorney partners, others…not so much!

“New Velocity participants: take your time, move at your own speed and digest all the information that is coming at you.”

The Velocity Facebook page was also an excellent resource for business templates, sharing documents, getting questions answered and sharing with colleagues. Living in Vegas, the three VBIs in Phoenix were pretty convenient geographically and excellent refreshers as well as a source of new info and ideas too!

Family Law Software is a challenge to learn, there’s a lot in there. I understand Year Two of Velocity will have more time dedicated to learning the ins and outs of this core item in the CDFA® toolbox. That’s good. I would get started on using FLSW ASAP.

A final piece of advice I would offer to new Velocity participants is to take your time, move at your own speed and digest all the information that is coming at you. While Rome wasn’t built in a day, you should be adding bricks to your CDFA® foundation every week. The weekly calls help with that. I’m a big believer in the Pareto Principle; the famous 80/20 rule. While not all of us are going to be rock stars like Nancy, you never know until you try! Heck, some of us may not even want to be rock stars. We may simply strive to make a nice profit in our divorce business while helping people. I’m also a big fan of Rule #4 in Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: COMPARE YOURSELF TO WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY, NOT TO WHO SOMEONE ELSE IS TODAY!

Cheers,

Andrew

Andrew Hatherley is a CDFA® and the founder of Wiser Divorce Solutions. You can find him at wiserdivorcesolutions.com as well as his Facebook Page.

“I know that the extreme emotions that come with divorce can lead to damaging financial mistakes, both in the short and long term. Having learned the hard way, I am determined to help others avoid some of the pitfalls that can make divorce such a difficult process.”

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