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Should you get a pre-nup? A post-nup? Just wing it? The finances of divorce are convoluted, to say the least. This week we chat with divorce lawyer James Sexton about splitting up, staying together, and loving each other either way.

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Hello, everyone, and welcome back to a new episode of The Financial Confessions featuring what is perhaps our juiciest topic yet, and one that I am incredibly excited to get into and one for which you guys had an astounding amount of really interesting questions which we will get to momentarily.

But before I introduce you to our guest, I wanted to say a quick hello to our beloved partner with whom we make every episode of The Financial Confessions. Well, as you guys probably know, each episode of The Financial Confessions is made in partnership with Intuit.

And if you don't know Intuit, it's almost certain that you know some of their amazing products. For example, TurboTax is something that many of you guys have used, or at least heard of, that helps you file your taxes, understand the tax system, not make mistakes, and get your biggest possible refund. They make a product called Mint, which is a budgeting tool that is totally free and which I have personally used for about seven years now to manage, and oversee, and understand my everyday spending habits.

They also make something called QuickBooks, which basically every business owner I know uses and I have used every single day for the past several years in managing TFD's finances. In fact, my guest today mentions it as well. Basically, Intuit gives you all of the various tools you'll need to have the most fruitful and well-organized financial life possible.

And if you cannot wait to get started with your own financial life, just check out Intuit at the link in our description or our show notes to get started. So as I mentioned, we have a particularly juicy topic today, which is divorce. Ahhh!

Divorce, it's so scary, and so big, and so interesting. And so on everyone's minds with a Marriage Story, which was the source of a lot of our questions. But here with us talking about divorce, and, in particular, the legalities, the finances, all the difficult stuff, is Jim Sexton, Manhattan, Chelsea-based, actually, divorce attorney.

Thank you. It's nice to be here. I think it's funny, because Marriage Story really has put it into everyone's conversation, but we were the villains in that movie.

The divorce lawyers were the bad guys. It's true. The bad-- it wasn't ideal.

So I think it's good that it put us on the map and got people talking about what we do for a living, but it's not really-- it's not a cape we want to wear, necessarily. So-- Well, actually, before we even get into any of the other questions just because we're on the topic, what did you think of a Marriage Story? I thought it was a really good movie.

I mean, I love both of the primary actors in the film. I think that Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are incredibly talented. But I-- doing this for a living, in my free time to sit and watch a marriage unravel isn't really like my idea of a good way to wind down. [LAUGHTER] I think calling it a Marriage Story is kind of funny.

It should have been called a divorce story. But I think it's hard-- it's hard when you do what I do for a living to watch a representation of what you do for a living, because when I watch courtroom TV shows, I find myself going, oh my god, you'd never be allowed to do that. I just watched the last season of Big Little Lies or Little Big Lies-- I forgot.

I always get that wrong. And there's all these courtroom scenes and I'm-- well, judges aren't really that attentive. And they don't really let litigants get away with that.

And that would be an objectionable question. So this is the same kind of thing. They made the mediator way too mushy.

They made the lawyers way too aggressive. But I think it did a very good job of showing how two sane people can get into an insane divorce. Because I've been doing this 20 years, and no one's ever come into my office and said, I would like this to be as expensive and miserable as possible.

And I would like to put your kids through college instead of mine. [LAUGHTER] They come in and say, I want to be fair. The problem is their definition of fair and their spouse's definition of fair are completely opposite. And the things you do as a lawyer to prepare for war are very often interpreted as acts of aggression.

And then the thing just escalates and escalates. And hopefully, as they did in the story, people get sooner rather than later to a place where they realize this is-- a divorce is a knife fight in the closet with the lights off. And if we just start stabbing away, we're just going to hurt ourselves and everyone we love.

And hopefully we can be reasonable and we can come to a good place. You know it's interesting because I for most of my life until owning a business never interacted with lawyers. It just wasn't a thing.

Lucky you. Yeah. I mean, listen, I feel like that's the case for most people.

I feel like most people don't have that much interaction with a lawyer. But obviously now I have one that we use as a resource. Not in-house or anything.

But I've been working with him for some time. And I really like him, actually. But it's funny because 99.9% of our interactions are him being like, let's just diffuse this situation.

Let's just stay away. Do as much as we can to nip this in the bud, to make this not be something, and to never ever set foot in a courtroom, because the second you set foot in a courtroom it's like $20,000 out the door. Yeah, I mean, good lawyers are proactive and they're counselors at law.

They're not just a weapon. I mean, I'm a courtroom lawyer and a trial lawyer, so very often I'm a weapon. And a weapon in the hands of someone who's here to protect, and who is here to defend, and to do something good is a good thing.

It's going to stop someone. But a weapon in the hands of someone with bad intentions is a really dangerous thing. And so I'm very-- I'm very mindful of that all the time because that's just my personality.

But I really do think that a good lawyer really shows their client from the beginning, look, if you or we do this through thought and pro-activity and caution, we're going to do it with a scalpel. If a judge does it, they're going to do it with a chainsaw. And it's always better to be proactive and thoughtful.

Yeah, and it's funny, too, because I feel like most people-- and I would assume that a lot of people who come into your office to get divorced and then leave with a bill that completely obliterates their finances, probably didn't go into it really understanding just how expensive it is to have a lawyer and specifically to go in a courtroom with a lawyer. I know, for example, I've now gotten it pretty much into muscle memory like that conversation is going to cost me $2,000. And you really start to think of it that way.

But if this was the first time you were entering into it and it was that extensive in engagement, you could easily end up with a six-figure bill-- Easily. --that you in no way expected. Easily. And the best lawyers-- and I'd like to count myself among them-- but what we do is from the beginning and the first time we meet a client, we tell them that.

We tell them that you're-- I'm billing you in tenths of an hour. I'm $600 an hour. So every six minutes the clock is ticking.

And you call me for one minute, it's $60. That's how that works. And so-- and by the way, if you go seven minutes, you might as well go for 12, because you've paid by tenths of an hour.

And good lawyers that are confident and that aren't looking to exacerbate someone's fees are going to say to someone upfront, listen, if you have a minor question, wait until you have four minor questions. If you have a time-sensitive question, though, call me right away and let's get it knocked out. But realize you're paying me.

And if you want to pay me to complain about your soon-to-be ex-husband and that you think he's a jerk, you can. For $600 an hour I'll mow your lawn. I've done worse things for less money. [LAUGHTER] But the truth is don't use me as a therapist.

Don't use me-- use me in a precise way. I will never be offended when a client says, hey, listen, we're on the clock, so I want to move this along. I talk fast deliberately.

And I tell clients that. I talk fast. Record your conversations with me if you want to so you can play them back.

Bring a friend. Bring a family member who you trust. So that if you get something wrong, you don't have to call me and say, what was it you said again?

You can say to your companion, what was it he said again? Did I understand that right? So I think there's a lot of ways people can mitigate the expense.

But very often people don't have the self-preservative instincts to do it. And that's unfortunate. If you're a good lawyer, you really try to encourage your client to use you in a way that's going to protect their finances as opposed to hurting them.

Are you married? I am not. I'm divorced.

Very happily and friendly divorced. I have-- Interesting. My ex-wife is one of my best friends.

We raised two wonderful sons together. She's remarried to a fantastic guy that I'm very thankful to call a friend. And I'm very, very blessed that I had a great marriage.

I don't believe that marriages that end are unsuccessful. I personally look at relationships like chapters in a long book. And sometimes those-- they-- all marriages end.

They end in death or divorce, but they all end. And so just because you didn't make it to death, I don't think it means that you failed. I think that you had a part of a journey together and that's a great thing.

I mean, I like the technology of marriage. I think marriage is like the lottery. You're probably not going to win.

But if you win, what you win is so good that you should buy a ticket and give it a try. And try to do it in an intelligent way when you get married, and think it through, and be mindful of it. But I certainly believe in it.

And when it works out, it's a great thing. But most of the time it doesn't work out. Would you ever get married again?

Not without a prenup. I'm a big believer in prenups. Love a prenup.

I do a lot of prenups. We talk a lot about that. Yeah, I do a lot of prenups.

And more people than anyone knows have prenups because in the age of social media everyone's like, oh, look, we're buying the cake, and oh, look, we're trying on this. But no one's ever like, hey, we're signing the prenup. But they're signing the prenup.

And it's not getting filed somewhere. It's not like you have to show it to anybody. But people get tons-- we do tons of prenups.

Divorce lawyers are constantly-- it's a quarter of our practice, if not more, is doing prenups for people. And it's something that I think the younger generation-- the people in their 20s and 30s getting married now are doing much more frequently. I've seen in the 20 years I've been practicing a marked increase in the number of prenups.

But with a prenup, I think-- I hate to quote Kid Rock, but he said, getting married is one of the most fun things you can ever do. Being married sucks. [LAUGHTER] And I think-- That's bleak. I don't think that's true, but I do think getting married is a lot of fun.

And I think that you can have a great time being married. My parents were married for 53 years until my mom passed away. And they had a beautiful relationship that I think made them both better people and happier people.

And like I said, I was married for over 10 years and it was wonderful. I left that marriage a better man. I think she left it a better woman.

We both adore each other still. There's 7.3 billion people in the world. I happen to love a lot of them, but I don't think I'd want to be married to any of the ones I've met.

But I think marriage can be great. If you love someone that much and you want to take that ride, go for it. Well, as the author of esteemed and noted article, I think prenups are more romantic than weddings, I could not agree with this more.

And interestingly, I think what is most compelling to me about prenups-- I mean, aside from the fact that I talk about money all day every day, so it would be really hard to miss that part is-- what I love about it so much is the ability to say in the time that you most love the person that you're with that-- 100% --this is what I think that you deserve and this is what I want you to have even if you don't have it with me. And I-- and I think that if you frame it that way and you understand it that way that you start to see it as true and meaningful act of love to the person. Yeah.

And I think you're-- It is totally unselfish. --you're totally right that when you have an abundance of optimism and affection for each other, that's the time to talk about those things. I talk about in the book that most people learn how to argue with their spouse while they're in an argument with their spouse, which is the worst time to learn how to do it. I mean, why not have a conversation while you're getting along about, hey, listen, at some point we're going to disagree, we're going to butt heads.

It might be small. It might be big. When we do, what does that look like for you?

Do you-- are you the like, I need a minute, let me process this, and then we can talk about it? Are you the I need to go in the other room and calm down? Are you the we got to hash this out tonight before we go to bed, because I can't sit on it when something's not right with us?

Let's talk about this before it happens because it's going to happen at some point. So I like conversations in relationship. And not just romantic relationship, in work partnerships, in parent/child relations.

Have a conversation about how you're having conversations and what your communication style is, because you want the person to thrive, theoretically. They want you to thrive, theoretically. I mean, that's the thing that's interesting about divorce for me is that nobody meant to get divorced.

In this increasingly curated world where everybody is constantly on social media showing how great they're doing, even if they're deep in debt and their life is miserable, divorce is one of the last things that you just can't pretend you meant to get divorced. I like, though, that you're advocating-- you're talking about it as if it's like go to the doctor before you get sick. 100%. Or like go to the-- [LAUGHTER] --learn about nutrition before you get sick.

Well, and it's a lot easier. I mean, my first book, which came out two years ago, is called If You're In My Office, It's Already Too Late. And it really talked about-- I was inspired by my sister who's a dentist.

And she was telling me that people come to the dentist when they have a toothache most often. And she said, by the time you have a toothache, I can't do anything for you. But if you'd come in before you had a toothache, you wouldn't have a toothache right now.

And I feel in my profession-- and that's why I wrote the book is-- look, I watch these things fall apart all the time. And if you're in my office, things are really bad at that point. If divorce is anything other than kind of a passing fantasy you have when your spouse does something really boneheaded, you're not in a great place.

So now's the time to-- when things are working out and people are in a good place, that's the time to say, hey, what's keeping us in this good place and how are we here? What's the glue that's holding us together? How are we staying connected?

Because it's easier to stay connected than to disconnect and find your way back to connection. Just like it's easier to maintain your weight than it is to gain a ton of weight and then have to lose a ton of weight. It's-- I really think people can do-- people's marriages go wrong the same way that Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities said people go bankrupt-- very slowly and then all at once.

It's a slow, slow, slow, and then a bang. And that's what happens with divorces. I think no single raindrop is responsible for the flood.

But when it goes, it goes fast. Well, speaking of books, you have a new one that I'm holding. I do.

But I only just started. I just got it. But it's very exciting.

So it's called How to Stay in Love. Tell us a little bit about it. It's practical wisdom from an unlikely source.

It's a how not to book. It's not a how to book. It's how not to-- I feel like I'm reading your want sheet.

Yeah. How not to screw up a relationship. It really is a collection of-- I guess I'll call it wisdom, although I don't purport to be wise, that came to me over 20 years of watching people who've broken their relationships, and who were in my office and I'm helping take those relationships apart.

And it really-- I got to a place where I said, I think there's something to be said here about how to prevent this. Because I don't know what makes a happy marriage other than an absence of unhappiness. Like I don't-- my mother used to say that she didn't know what smart was, but she could spot stupid a mile away.

And I feel like it's the same kind of thing that people don't-- people say, I want a happy marriage. Well, what do you mean by a happy marriage? Well, you mean the absence of a whole bunch of unhappiness.

So I like to talk in the book about what I've seen-- what I've seen are the causes of people's unhappiness. And then I try to be very practical about real solutions. Because I think everything I've read-- I tried-- I read a bunch of relationship advice books before I wrote one and I-- because I wanted to get the feel of them-- and I thought they were really vague.

They would say things like you should communicate better or you should really be responsive to your partner's needs. And I was like, well, what do you mean by that? Do you mean their sexual needs?

Do you mean their hunger needs? Do you know what snacks they like? I don't know what you're talking about.

And so all the advice I put in there, I try to have it be very, very practical, and very pragmatic, and very simple things you can do in a real practical way to stay connected to your partner, and to keep the connection positive and good. What is one extremely specific, extremely tangible thing that you say to do in the book? Leave notes for each other.

Leave notes for each other. [LAUGHS] Passive aggressive ones? No, no, no, leave sweet notes for each other. That's sweet.

I think it's the easiest thing to do. It takes 30 seconds of your time. But if you wake up in the morning and your spouse or partner has gone to work and there's a note that's handwritten that just says-- by your cup of coffee or by your cup of tea that says it was really fun watching TV with you last night and I can't wait to see you again, or I love you.

That's true. That's-- that takes 30 seconds. Cute.

And the worst case scenario is it doesn't blip on your partner's emotional radar. But the best case scenario, which I think-- all the people who've read the book, and tried these things, and written to me and reached out to me on social media, I've had people say to me, oh my god, this turned the clock on my marriage back 10 years. That's sweet.

And what happens is I think there's a snowball that happens, because usually what happens in marriages, I think, is people get resentful and then it makes them more resentful. So it's like, well, I want to go out with my friends Friday night. Well, I haven't been out with my friends in ages.

So really the logic there is, listen, I'm miserable, so you should be miserable too. And then everybody's more and more miserable. And then they-- whereas it can go the other way which is you do some kind, sweet thing for someone, and then they do something kind and sweet for you back.

And then they're kind and sweet. And it really can create this snowball and it's little things that make people fall in love and stay in love. My parents are huge note-writers.

My father is an Illustrator, so he's also a big-- Awesome. --drawer of scenes. I can't-- it's funny, I think because of that, that's like extremely not my love language. I had a boyfriend who would write me little poems.

And I was like, none of this. [LAUGHS] I'm not a fan. Poems are weird. [LAUGHTER] It's like when someone-- when someone sings to me, I don't know where to look. Oh my god. [LAUGHTER] Like that freaks me out.

If you sing to me, I'm like I don't know where to look. Because I look at you for a second, and then I'm like, OK, this is uncomfortable. But then I'm like, well, this is mean because now I'm just looking at the floor.

And so you look at them again. And it's very weird. So yeah, I don't know that poems is the way to go.

But yeah, I think everybody's got a different love language. Yeah. I mean, I think there's a lot of practical things people can do that I think just bring them closer.

Let's face it. Life is infinitely easier as part of a team on so many levels. Obviously, the financial it's a lot easier.

But it's also there's so many things that in a good marriage you are infinitely more willing to try, risks you will take, things that you will even dream of for yourself, I think, in a good marriage get so much bigger. So I mean, listen, I'm a huge fan of marriage. So-- Well, there's a reason why almost every species-- any intelligent species has pair bonding of some kind.

I mean, I think that it's something we crave as beings. And I think that, yeah, it has really tangible benefits when it's done right. Unfortunately, intimacy can be weaponized.

And that's how you end up in my office is that I think people fall in love very fast sometimes, and they fall out of love slowly most of the time from what I've seen. But when they fall out of love, it can be really, really intense and really, really painful. And I think it's the most vulnerable a person can feel is when someone who you trusted, and who you loved, and who you felt so close to is now weaponized against you.

I think that's the scariest feeling in the world. I have to say I am more scared of divorce than almost anything else possibly happening in my life. I am definitely feel like for my parents it's like that is just so-- they're so happy and so together.

My husband's parents the same. It's just like not something that was around. And having seen in other parts of my life what divorce can do to people, I just think it's become weirdly normalized in our culture because I guess out of necessity it happens to so many people.

But it seems-- in a lot of cases, anyway-- not all maybe-- but in its worst iteration it seems like even more painful than death of a spouse. Because they're not just gone. They hate you and want you to suffer.

Yeah. Well, they may. I mean, in some permutations of divorce, they do.

I don't think in all. I think you hear a lot about the ugly divorces because A, they're way more interesting. No one ever says to me, tell me about your divorce because my divorce is boring.

We're two people that loved each other in a certain way, and then learned that we love each other in a different way, and continue to be really close friends and good co-parents. That's not an interesting story. If I tell you about the person who was sleeping with the nanny, and then the nanny ran off with the other person, and then they firebombed the guy's car, that's a cool story.

You want to hear that one at the cocktail party. So you hear about ugly divorces. And also the people who tend to talk about their divorce a lot are people who went through horrible ones and they've been scarred by it.

And so it's part of their day to day discussion. You wouldn't want to hear about mine. It was boring.

It cost $1,500. It was really simple. So I think what-- but I think the fact that you're afraid of divorce is a good thing, because I think the mindfulness that that represents-- that you're mindful of the fact it could happen.

True. You're mindful-- you're not afraid of dragons because you know that dragons don't exist. But you know divorce exists.

And I think if you-- like Epictetus, the stoic philosopher, said, if you keep death in your sight, you're most mindful. It's memento mori. You're most mindful of life.

Totally. When I know when I-- if I have a toothache or a backache, all I can think about is, oh my god, I wish that just went away, I wish it just went away. And then when it goes away, for like a day, I go, oh my god, at least my tooth doesn't hurt or at least my back doesn't hurt.

This is great. And then after a couple of days, you just go back to that state of non-toothache, where you just forget-- you don't wake up and go, well, at least I don't have a toothache. Yeah.

You're not grateful about it. Exactly. And so I think having that mindfulness about this thing that you're afraid of, that's going to remind you, I hope-- [COUGHS] excuse me-- it's going to remind you, I hope, of the fact that love is not permanently gifted.

It's loaned. And that you have to tend to it and you have to pay attention to it. And that was the purpose of the book was to just say to people, look, most marriages end in divorce.

And so don't put yourself in that place. Remember that this thing is fragile and try to take care of it. And it doesn't take that much to take care of it.

It doesn't take that much. Healthy habits-- it's just like people's finances. Just take-- healthy habits, thoughtful habits, being mindful about finances, that's the key.

The key-- there's no trick. There's no secret trick that, oh, if you just do this one thing, everything else is going to be easy. I don't think it works that way.

People are so afraid. They'll go, well, marriage is-- I like when people say, marriage is hard work. Marriage is hard work.

No, if you marry-- if marriage is hard work, you're doing it wrong. It doesn't have to be hard work. It's mindfulness.

If you consider paying attention hard work, then, yes, marriage is hard work. But paying attention is not that hard. Well, I definitely agree that it's very similar to finances.

And we are about to get into our audience questions, which you guys came through with some extremely spicy ones. But before we get to that, let's talk about the right tools to have for your finances. So as I mentioned, one of the most valuable products that Intuit makes is called TurboTax, which this time of year is something that, frankly, should be on everyone's minds because we're all coming up on filing our taxes.

And interestingly, as you'll hear later in this episode, there are special tax implications to keep in mind if you are someone who may be going through a divorce. But we'll get to that a little bit later. The point is, when you are filing your taxes, you're going to want the right tool to help you understand your taxes, make sure you're filing them correctly, and to get the biggest possible refund that you're entitled to.

And now the makers of TurboTax also offer TurboTax Live, which offers all of that same guidance through the process, but additionally offers you access to real experts who are there to help you understand what you're doing, answer any questions you might have, and just real-time talk with you about what it is you might be having trouble with, so you can have that extra level of assurance. And worth noting that their video chat feature is one-way, so you can see them but they can't see you. So you are perfectly fine to do it in your pajamas.

If you've been interested in checking out TurboTax or TurboTax Live to help you navigate tax season this year, check them out at the link in our description or our show notes. So as I mentioned, we have a lot of spicy, spicy questions from our audience. I specialize in spicy.

That's good. All right. So you know this one had to be here.

Tell us about the craziest thing a client or their opposition wanted in a divorce settlement. Wow. The craziest thing that they wanted in terms of tangible goods, I had someone who wanted all the sex toys back. [LAUGHTER] Oh my gosh.

They were afraid that they would use them with future partners-- Ooh! --which I thought from a hygiene place, I didn't think people would. But yeah, so they were very insistent and they gave me a full inventory of what they wanted. That rules.

Yeah. And it was kind of a fun moment for me, because I'm looking through the inventory here and I'm like, OK, the riding crop goes to this. So that was fun.

I mean, that was-- it made me feel very boring. But it was certainly good. The weirdest thing I've ever had someone ask for-- weirdest thing or strangest thing-- I mean, people ask for crazy things.

People ask all the time that they want provisions that say that until their child turns 18, the other side is not allowed to date. And I explained that-- Reasonable, rationale. --the courts can't impose a chastity belt on anybody. But yeah, you get-- I mean, you do-- when you do criminal law, you see bad people at their best.

When you do divorce law, you see good people at their worst. So I've seen people-- I saw someone blow up a settlement in about a $3 or $4 million marital estate case over a toaster oven. And it was like a $45 toaster oven.

And I thought to myself, you just let this entire deal blow up over a $45 toaster oven. But divorce is one of those weird moments in someone's life where they could easily spend $5,000 in legal fees arguing over a $3,000 bank account. And then you say to them, if you're a responsible lawyer, you're going to spend $5,000 arguing over a $3,000 bank account.

And they will say to you-- Do it. --I don't care. Do it. I don't want her to win or I don't want him to win.

And the interesting thing I learned over the course of my career is that six, seven months later, they call you and they say to you, why did you let me do that? And you say, what do you mean why did I let you do it? I told you not to do it explicitly.

I told you that-- yeah, but I wasn't thinking clearly. You should have smacked me in the head or something. So now I tell people the first time they meet me in a consult-- I tell them-- the first conversation I have with them, I always tell them this is the kind of thing that happens and I am going to sometimes be really, really emphatic with you.

And it's not that I'm not your champion and not that I'm not fighting for you or on your side, but you're not-- whoever discovered water, it wasn't a fish. Like you're in it. And you don't see it clearly.

Look at that. My job is to see it clearly. So that-- I would say that-- like I said, I see a lot of crazy.

I see a lot of people at their absolute worst, and they ask for crazy things, and they want me to get crazy things for them, and sometimes that's my job. You know what I would say about that, it's interesting because I think part of the reason that I have such an enormous fear of divorce as something happening in my life is because I have two business partners with whom I own this company. And we have a fantastic relationship.

We've always been very equitable and charitable with one another, very compassionate. It's a marriage of sorts having partners. It's a marriage.

In many ways it has higher implications than my actual marriage. But it's interesting because we've had moments where we're negotiating over things-- the three of us. And we're very friendly.

We're-- our husbands love each other. And I remember in certain moments of certain negotiations, there were big stakes on the table. And I was like, I don't want to have to buy a plane ticket-- just the pettiest, stupidest thing.

And this is about someone I care about that I'm continuing in a relationship with. But you fixate on it because your mind becomes so winner take all and so focused on the principle of the thing that you completely lose perspective on it. And I know that-- I mean, again, we've had a-- been very lucky in how amicable everything has been, but I've seen even just a tiny taste of what can happen when money is on the table. 100%.

It's insane. But I think that what I've always felt about money is that money offers real solutions to imaginary problems and imaginary solutions to real problems. And that people-- it's really what the money symbolizes a lot of times for people.

I know this is as someone who grew up with very little. I grew up I would say poor. I think that's a fair estimate.

Working my whole life as a waiter. And I worked my way through school, got scholarships and things like that. And I remember money came to symbolize for me everything I didn't have-- stability, security, peace of mind, happiness, status, comfort in my own skin.

And then I got money and I realized it doesn't actually do those things for you. I mean it certainly makes certain things easier in life. But it didn't make those things all happen.

And I think when you talk about the example of why do I have to pay for this plane ticket myself or even with someone you love like that, it really is about the emotional connection that you're making there, which is like, well, wait, am I like-- well, how important am I? Isn't this a we thing? Shouldn't you be contributing to this because I'm doing this for us and I'm the one who has to fly somewhere?

It's about an emotional connection and the money is a symbol of that emotional-- Totally. --connection. And see, I'm a fan-- whether it's in a marriage or even in a business marriage, a partnership-- of let's get to that. Let's talk about that.

That's interesting. Let's talk about like, man, when you say that, it makes me feel this way. It's a feeling.

And lean into that. But as soon as the pride comes in, as soon as there is even that itch of like I want something, you want the other thing, and it feels like you're winning, it's like the pride, the ego immediately kick in. And it's very difficult to back away from that.

And I remember I've always-- my approach has always in business been very much like I would rather spend more money to keep everyone happy, and have everyone feel good and comfortable and seen, than to fight over something that we could afford. Absolutely. And it's funny because recently we had-- we were just buying a bunch of tech products for the team.

And one of my partners wanted a slightly nicer card-- a card for her computer-- whatever it was. Some really minor thing. And it like-- I was like but I feel like that's not fair because the other team-- like blah, blah.

And I remember making it a sticking point. And I remember she said to me, but you're so not the person who nickels and dimes over this sort of thing. It's so weird that you're getting stuck in the sand about this one thing.

And we got off the phone. And the next morning I called her and I was like I thought about that all night. I feel terrible.

You're totally right. You should get whatever piece of tech you want. But it is very difficult in the moment and in the flush of that conversation to back away and be honest and say, this is just my feelings and I will be rational tomorrow.

But see, I would argue you spent more. You spent more. But you spent more because look at the emotional energy that you spent that night before you had that phone call that made everything feel better between you and that person.

I try to say to clients all the time, I'd rather you pay her than pay me. I'd rather that you put your kid through college instead of mine. I'd rather that you make financial compromises early in a case rather than spend-- not just the money, but spend six months arguing and waiting for a judge to render a decision on something, or waiting for lawyers to negotiate with each other.

So yes, if you give $10,000 more, that's a lot of money. But if you spend $5,000 in legal fees and you spend six months arguing to get $10,000 more, is it worth it? Is it worth it?

And by the way, and damage your co-parenting relationship with this person-- Totally. --who you're going to have to someday be at a wedding with, and pose for pictures with, and sit next to at graduations and at play-- school plays. It's not worth it. It's not worth it.

So at the end of the day, I think it's all about-- it sounds like what you did in that phone conversation is you checked your ego and you said, hey, this made me feel this certain thing. But now that I think about it, that's not the best part of me. That's not the part of me I want to feed.

Totally. But I see in doing that how easy it is to slip into. In the moment.

In the moment. Yeah. 100% And how much your hackles get out. And that's very normal and very human.

And that's why lawyers can be dangerous. Divorce lawyers can be dangerous because we can stoke that up if we want. I mean, I get paid to manipulate people's emotional state.

Well, on that point, another very spicy question. Have you ever felt like you hurt a client's future relationship with their ex by encouraging them to ask for more money? No.

I don't think I've ever had that experience, because I generally see myself as someone who's there to facilitate the goal of the client, and to help them identify the goal, the pro and the con of the goal. So at the negotiating table and in the courtroom, I'm weaponized. But behind closed doors, I'm giving you very neutral advice and saying to you, look, here's the pro and con of this approach, here's the pro and con of that approach.

And I'm very neutral and unemotional about it. Sure. I don't put a halo on my client and horns on the other side.

I I'm very lucky neither of my kids has ever been very sick. But if they were, and the doctor came in and went, oh my god, your kids are sick, I'd want another doctor. I don't want that doctor.

I want a doctor who comes in and says, all right, here's what I'm looking at. Here's what I think it is. Here's plan A.

If that doesn't work, here's plan B. Here's our best case scenario. Here's our worst case scenario.

I want someone who can look at it clinically. Sure. So behind closed doors that's what I do with clients.

But I have never-- I have certainly taken steps on behalf of a client that I know would damage their future co-parenting relationship. And sometimes you have to do that. I mean, I think-- I try to say to the client, I think this is going to damage the relationship or this is going to amp up the tension.

And that's good for me from a billable hours standpoint, but it's going to be bad for you long term. And I'm very honest and blunt about that. And I think most good divorce lawyers are.

But sometimes the things you do to defend yourself are going to upset somebody and that's OK. We have to be-- we have to be comfortable in the conflict. The conflict is the clay.

It's the thing we're going to build our future out of. And so I make a point of saying to my clients that, yeah, you want to settle your case, you can settle your case easily. Just give the other side everything they want.

You're good. Your case is settled. But you have to advocate for yourself.

And you have to find the balance between advocating for yourself, getting the things you need, and maybe the things you want, because again, there's what we need, there's what we want, and there's what we're entitled to. And what we need, we're probably going to get. What we want-- there could be no limits to.

So it's usually informed by what we're entitled to. And that's what I encourage people to start looking at from the beginning. Good advice.

Thanks. It's usually $600 an hour. You're getting it for free.

I know, look at this. So you're saving money all over the place. I know, look at this.

So I'd love a yes/no to this one. Sure. Do prenups really save people a ton of mess?

Yes. Yes. Are the worst cases of divorce often because there is no prenup and everyone has to agree on the divide from zero?

Yes. I mean, that's an odd question, though, because the worst-- I mean, every divorce that has a prenup, that's a well-drafted prenup, is a really easy divorce from a lawyering standpoint. So in that way, absolutely.

But the worst divorces are there's usually not a prenup involved. I mean, but if-- I would certainly say that a prenup spares people a lot of heartache. Or if there's going to be a conflict about the terms of the prenup, you're having that conversation much, much earlier before you're super enmeshed with each other on finances.

Oh, and also, fun fact, everyone-- if you don't have a prenup and are married and feel like it's too late, go get yourself a post-nup. Mhm. No?

Dangerous advice. Ooh! Whoo-hoo!

I would have said to you five years ago that was good advice. It is no longer good advice. Oh my gosh.

I am no longer drafting-- Call me out. I am no longer drafting post-nuptial agreements and most responsible lawyers in most states, including New York, are no longer drafting post-nuptial agreements. Oh my goodness.

Tell me about this. Yeah. Well, consideration is a really important thing in contracts, both sides have to give something or get something of value.

The consideration of a prenuptial agreement-- because all prenups are is contracts-- the consideration, the value that's exchanged in a prenuptial agreement is I don't have to marry you, but I'm going to marry you in exchange for you agreeing to the terms of this contract. So people came up with the idea of let's do post-nups. We forgot to do a prenup.

We were in such a rush to get to Aruba to get married on the beach. We didn't do the prenup. So we'll do it a couple of days after we got married.

And now we'll call it a post-nup. Or you know what, I found out that she cheated on me, or I found out that he cheated on me, so now our marriage feels fragile, let's do a post-nup. Well, unfortunately, the Appellate Division said, what's the consideration for that contract?

I'm going to stay married to you. I'm going to continue to do something I'm already have agreed to do, that I've already signed a license to do. I'm not giving you anything in exchange for that.

So post-nups are now-- and most responsible lawyers are basically not doing them because if you have a contract that a higher court has said there's no consideration for that contract, they can overturn it. So it's getting-- but the way it happened is post-nups started getting overturned left and right. And I think now you're going to see that as a trend and you're not going to see responsible lawyers even doing them anymore.

So if someone is married and did not think to get a prenup, but thinks it's smart to have something of that nature, are they screwed? They are screwed in so far as doing a contract. What they should be doing is they should be mindful of their financial practices during the marriage.

I mean, look, you buy a house, you get a HUD-1, your lead paint disclosure, you get something from the lender that explains all the terms of your mortgage. You get married, you don't get a pamphlet. You don't even get a leaflet.

You just did the most legally significant thing you're going to ever do other than die and you didn't even get a piece of paper that says here's what just happened to my estate rights, my titled ownership rights, my financial interests, my retirement accounts, my ability to incur debt that another person could potentially be responsible for or that they could incur and I'm responsible for. No one explains it to you. They talk about the cake ad infinitum.

They talk about the dress ad infinitum. Nobody ever sits you down and says, by the way, do you know legally what just happened when you got married? So I think one of the smartest things people can do is A, know their rights and know what they just entered into.

And then engage in financial practices that reflect the law. So if somebody doesn't have a prenup, that doesn't mean they're just screwed. It just means they have to be really mindful of how they do things.

They have to think about what accounts do they commingle with other accounts. If they inherit money or if they get a personal injury award, don't put it in a marital account unless you want this person to be able to own half of it. Don't think that because something is in your sole name and was funded by your sole earnings, that it's your sole property.

If you buy your husband a Rolex watch, you bought yourself one half of a Rolex watch. If your husband buys you a tennis bracelet, he bought himself one half of a tennis bracelet. Title is irrelevant.

Whose name something is in has no meaning once you're married. You're one person in the eyes of the law. So people don't realize that.

And I think if you don't have a prenup, and you're in a situation whether you're happy or unhappy, understanding what financial practices you should be engaging in while you're married, and understanding how the legality of those things works is basic self-preservation. It's like living on an island and not knowing how to swim. Right.

Wow. My world has been rocked. [LAUGHTER] I rocked your world. That is crazy and terrible.

Man, we-- Well, it's not necessarily terrible. It's just it is what it is. No, it's terrible for me who's told people that post-nups were a thing.

I mean, to be fair, they are. Well, you are correct. They were a thing.

They were a thing. They were-- so were buggy whips, we just don't do it anymore. Ooh.

In my face. Yeah, I mean, that being said, from a financial point of view-- and you did kind of touch on this-- but in terms of individual financial decisions, there's a lot you can do in terms of-- Tons. --just making each individual-- something like buying property, something like your retirement accounts, your savings accounts. There's ways in which you can make sure that your finances are managed to the way you feel comfortable managing them.

And obviously I'm sure that doesn't preclude people from coming after you for those things in the case of a divorce. But at the very least, one thing that we learn-- that we talk about a lot in-- because the vast majority of our audience is women is that-- I want to say it's around-- it's got to be over half-- I don't have the number of the top of my head. But it's a staggering, staggering number of women who do not manage their own long-term financial decisions, things like retirement, et cetera, investments, until the case of death of a spouse or divorce.

And these are women who are, in most cases, contributing equally, if not sometimes more, to the household finances. So I think-- I'm definitely someone you do not have to tell that because those women come to my office. And they say-- They don't even know how to log into their Vanguard account.

And they just go, I don't have the passwords to anything. I don't know what we have. I've let him manage it.

I don't know where money is or where it isn't. I don't know what debts we've incurred. I just sign the tax returns or I sign the forms.

Oh, I didn't know we took a $500,000 second mortgage against our property. He just said, sign this, and I signed it. And men do it, too.

I mean, I see that kind of practice. And these aren't uneducated people. I've had-- I just-- I had a client recently who's a surgeon and a very successful one.

And she just basically said, yeah, just I'm busy working as a surgeon and I let him manage the finances. He liked it. I find it boring.

And I let him do it. But again, it's really a matter of taking the time to educate yourself. One of the things that is dangerous that people don't realize is that by being married, you don't have control over certain things.

You can't disinherit your spouse in your will. You can't-- they have what's called the spouse's elective shares. So they can say, I don't care what the will says, I want one third of that person's gross estate or a certain value, whichever is greater.

So you can't just cut yourselves out of your will. Most people who are married don't even know that. They don't know that they can't leave-- they say, oh, I'm going to leave my money to my kids.

No, you're not. No, you're not. Not if you're married.

Not if you don't have a prenup that says that you're allowed to reject the spouse's elective share. Or people say, well, I'm going to put someone else as the beneficiary of my retirement accounts in the event that something happens to me. No, you're not.

Not without your spouse signing off on something in the presence of a notary that says that you're allowed to do that. These are the things that when you get married, nobody sits you down and says to you, you need to think about these things. That these are the legal changes that are going to-- your spouse incurs $20,000 worth of debt that you don't know about it, you're on the hook for $10,000 of it, whether you knew about it or not.

So you got to be mindful of what's going on in your marriage when it comes to money. You cannot afford otherwise. Yeah.

Again, with the similarities between business partners and spouses, but we had that-- we had to go through that when we were looking at if you take on a loan as a business, all of the individuals who own more than 25%-- Jointly and severally liable. And they-- they're all-- they owe all of it. All of them.

Yeah. That's jointly and severally liable. And they'll go after-- That's what that means. --each and every one of you until they get their money.

Oh, yeah. When I was in law school-- It's scary. When I was in law school and we were in the corporations and contracts section of law school, somebody said to me once if you don't-- when you get on the test, if you don't know the answer, whatever answer would get the bank paid is always the right answer. [LAUGHTER] And it's absolutely true.

The law is always skewed in favor of making sure the bank gets paid. So-- Yeah. I mean, it's shocking to me the similarities between business partnerships and marriages.

But again, what you don't know is the thing that can hurt you. And I think that it's always best to be mindful, to be educated, to be vigilant. And again, vigilance doesn't have to be distrust.

It can be that, hey, we're all in this together. None of us should be-- nobody should be doing everything and the other person totally-- like look, if I don't like to cook-- if we're married and you like to cook and I don't-- I'm being gender stereotypical. So all right, let's flip it around.

I love to cook, so go ahead-- And I love to cook, too. --go right ahead with that gender stereotype. All right. So if you-- but you know what, here's a better-- because I do love to cook and you're apparently interested in finance. [LAUGHTER] So if I say, look, I love to cook and you're super into finance.

And you find that fun. And you think it's interesting to do that. You like playing with the QuickBooks and you like doing the day to day of that stuff.

Cool. So I don't mind being the primary cook. I don't mind that most of the time I'm going to cook.

But I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks. Are you going to just not eat? Are you just going to only eat takeout?

It's good to know how to cook a little bit. And it's good to know where things are in our kitchen. Because again, god forbid something happens to me, or even I'm just away or whatever, or you want to surprise me and do something nice like make me a meal, why can't we just say-- we don't have to all do everything equally exactly the same way, because we all like different things and we take pleasure in different things, but everybody should have a functional knowledge of certain basic things that god forbid you split up or one of us passes away, that I'm going to have that information.

Not to lean into gender stereotypes, but I indeed love to cook and cook almost every night. And-- I do, too. --I joke that when I'm out of town, my husband eats like a raccoon that broke into CVS. [LAUGHTER] He literally will eat nothing but chips and beef jerky. It's just disgusting.

Yeah, he's like an animal. All right. I want to find something-- oh, this is an interesting-- I guess this is pretty straightforward.

You mentioned this. But you didn't specifically mention credit score. When getting married, does their credit score impact the spouse?

Yes. Yeah. Yes.

You guys know that. You get married, you're going to-- your credit score impacts your spouse's credit score. Ooh, this is a true or false, because someone just threw this out there and I'm not even sure if it's true.

Not really a question, but I think more people should know that if you finalize a divorce in the late part of the year and you've been using married withholdings the whole year, you have to file single if your divorce is finalized before December 31. It can cost thousands of dollars. Yes.

Your marital status on December 31 dictates your filing status for the entire year. And a lot of people don't know that. So a lot of times people have been planning on a certain withholding, and that's why there is a massive rush right before the 31st, and there's a bunch of divorces that we hold off on until January 2, because the courts are closed on the 1st for New Year's Day.

And then on the 2nd we file all these divorces that people wanted to take advantage of the married filing jointly, because married filing separate is the worst possible filing status in terms of what it creates of available schedules. So generally, people will, if they're in the latter part of the year and they're finalizing a divorce, they'll say hold this until January 2, because that way we were still married December 31, and we can have the tax benefit of having filed jointly as a married couple, and both having dependency exemptions for our children and things like that. One of the things that's wonderful about the time we live in, I think, is that we're starting to realize things aren't binary.

Gender is not binary. Sexual orientation is not binary, necessarily. There's a spectrum.

And so why do we look at marriage in this old view of, OK, this person has to be my best friend, best partner, best conversationalist, best travel companion, best roommate, best co-parent, best financial partner, or they suck? I will say as not binary, but as sentimental as my view about divorce can sometimes be, I do think-- I've talked a lot about-- I find it just grating beyond belief when people go on about how their spouse is their best friend, because not only do I feel like there is an inherent risk in putting all of your platonic emotional eggs in their basket as well as your romantic. But I also feel like one of the biggest problems in a lot of marriages is that statistically speaking, a lot of older heterosexual men are very lonely.

They don't have really meaningful relationships outside of their spouse. And their spouse becomes their only sounding board, their social network, the person that keeps them going. And it's funny, my father-- he was telling me recently that he has a very, very good friend that he's had for years.

And they say I love you on the phone when they get off the phone with each other. Which is wonderful, but a rarity for men of his age. And something that I think-- Yeah, I think for men of his age, maybe.

But I think that a lot of marriages, I think, would benefit from having-- from really diversifying their emotional investments. Yeah. And you haven't-- you said you just started the book.

But near the end, there's a chapter called, "The You, The Me, and The We." And I am a big believer in the fact that when you meet someone for a romantic relationship, there's you and then there's me. And then there's the we that starts to happen. And the world is constantly telling you more we, more we, more we.

That's a good marriage. Totally. A good marriage is the biggest we possible.

And that you don't matter and me don't matter. That the other person-- happy wife, happy life. If I hear one more person say that at a wedding-- and the truth is, no.

The you, and the me, and the we are all important. They're all important and you should protect all three of those things. Totally.

And that you should keep all three of those things happy. Look, if I'm in love with you, I fell in love with you. I didn't fall in love with you and me as a permutation.

I created the you and the me-- the we. I created that we because I loved you. So why wouldn't I want you to keep parts of you?

Yeah, parts of you can change, and grow, and develop over time. You shouldn't be the same person at 30 that you were when you're 20 and shouldn't be the same person at 60 that you were when you're 30. You're stuck if you were.

But grow in ways that let you each retain autonomy, and individualism, and investment in your separateness. Because I think it's-- you want to talk about heartbreaking-- I think it's heartbreaking when, as you said, someone loses their spouse and they're just lost. They're just lost.

When my mother passed away four years ago after a long battle with cancer, my dad who'd been married to her for so long, he just-- there were parts of-- he didn't know how to do anything. He didn't know how to-- he came to my house and I was showing him how to cook chili, because I was trying to show him here's something you can make a big batch of and then you can-- Freeze it and portion it. --put it in the freezer. Because my mom loved to cook and she loved to take care of my dad in that way.

It was an act of love for her to feed people. And she loved that. And so he never developed that muscle.

He never really learned how to do that because he had this person who was so good at it, and loved it so much, and enjoyed that. My dad was great at managing the finances. They were very traditional in some of the gender stuff.

But the reality is is that when she passed, he was ill-equipped to be able to deal with that. And I think it would be a very good thing for people to have that at least basic diversity and basic literacy in all of the important spheres of our individual lives. Well, now that we've talked all about the meat and potatoes of what you do, we have our rapid fire questions which are a bit lighter fare which we-- Let's do it. --ask all of our guests.

Let me pull up my pinned chats. And here we go. So rapid fire-- doesn't have to be a word, but whatever comes to your mind.

Got it. Number one, what is the big financial secret of your industry? Lawyers don't detail their bills enough and they end up over-billing clients.

Not on our bills because we go through that stuff with a fine tooth-comb. You deserve and should demand that your lawyer gives you detailed bills. If they just write review email, that's not enough.

They should-- review email about A, B and C. And like you better be spending a lot of time driving up those invoices. Amen.

I never get mad when a client asks questions about their bill. And I never charge them for time discussing their bill. I think you should ask questions.

I think you should stand by your time. When I'm on the phone with a client, I make a point of saying to them, we've been on the phone for 8 minutes, 37 seconds. We're about to click into the next 6-minute segment.

Are you sure you want to do that? I try to be really mindful of it. I set an egg timer with my lawyer.

Good for you. Smart. What do you invest in versus what are you cheap about?

Oh boy. You mean financially or emotionally? Let's go financially.

Financially-- I invested in New York City municipal bonds. Oh. [LAUGHS] And closed. Yeah, I do like to dress the part.

Not just so my clients have that feeling of comfort and that they feel like, oh, this person looks like a lawyer, but also I feel more like a lawyer when I'm wearing the lawyer costume. You do look like a lawyer. Thanks.

First thing I said when you walked in. Yeah. What are you cheap about?

What am I cheap about? I'm cheap about-- I won't give anyone more of my time than I think they're entitled to. I don't waste time.

It's a non-renewable resource. So I don't like when people waste my time. If a client wants to pay me to blather at me, they can certainly do that at $600 an hour.

But I don't like having my time wasted, so I'm very cheap about my time. If I don't want to do something, I don't do it. If someone invites me to something and I'm not going to be interested in going-- I take the position that if you invite me to something next Tuesday, I think to myself, if this was tonight, would I say yes?

And if the answer is not I would say yes excitedly, then I just say, no, I'm sorry, I can't make it. What has been your best investment and why? Single best.

Financial-- so I'm going to stick with-- Oh, but it could be something you bought. See, I'm looking very existentially at all these-- like what's my best investment? No, but that's fine.

I mean, I think my kids have always been my best investment. I think that I love the investment of time and energy and finance that I put into them, and watching them grow up, and watching them be who they are and become who they are. That's been very rewarding.

My best investment in terms of-- I think my best financial decision I've ever made is I've never paid a penny of interest on a credit card in my life. Ooh-ooh. I've never borrowed.

I've never bought-- I grew up without money. And I figured out really quickly when I got to college and they were offering you get a Frisbee if you sign up for this credit card. And I was like they're not just giving Frisbees for no reason.

And I remember thinking this is not a good idea to buy a bunch of stuff I can't afford. And I just never did it. I don't buy anything-- I use credit cards as a convenience, but I pay my bill every single month in full.

And if I can't afford it, I don't buy it. Man, I got suckered in by the Frisbee. Most people do.

What has been your biggest money mistake and why? I sold Amazon at $13 a share. Woof.

I actually I'll tell you a funny story. I had a financial-- a financial advisor at the time. I was quite young.

It was 1991, maybe '92. Yeah. No, I'm sorry.

It was like '92, '93. Amazon had just come out, basically. And it was an online bookstore.

And it was really, really remedial. And I loved it because I've always been a voracious reader and you could get obscure books that you couldn't get anywhere else. And I called-- I got-- I remember I got a $5,000 tax refund.

And I remember thinking, oh my god, this is all the money in the world. Like I will-- like so much money. So I called my friend who was a financial advisor and I said to him, I want to find out if there's stock for this company called Amazon.

It was publicly traded at that time? It had just gone public. I think it was like '93, something like that.

So I had my first job. So I got my first big-- first real job where I got my first real tax refund-- $5,000. It was like all the money in the world.

So I said I want to invest all of this. And he said, all right, I'll look it up. I've never heard of it.

So he looked it up, and he calls me back, and he says, look, man, yeah, it's publicly traded. It just went on. They've never posted earnings.

They don't have any information about them. So you don't really know their P&E. He said, I would not put everything in this.

I don't know much about it. No one's ever heard of it. And I said, no, I really-- it's so cool.

It's like an online bookstore and you can like get obscure books that you couldn't get at like a Barnes and Nobles or someplace else. And he said, all right, listen, if you want to do it, at least do half of it. And then the other half put in something reliable.

And I'm not making this up. So I bought $2,500 worth of Amazon and $2,500-- because he told me I should buy MCI WorldCom. Oh my god.

Why was he-- why was the other half in individual stocks? Why didn't he have you put it in a fund? I don't know.

He wasn't a good investment advisor. Oh my god. Go back in time and punch this man.

Well, if I go back in time I wouldn't have-- I held the Amazon stock and I think it went up to like-- I think I bought it at-- I don't even know-- $13 a share. And it went up. It doubled.

And I ended up getting rid of it. But it was like two years later. And if I'd held onto it-- What's it trading at now? --it split so many-- well, it split since then I think-- I don't even know how many times.

I mean, I figured it out one day just to depress myself, that the amount I owned at that time, at that value, it would have been over a million at this point. Jesus. Yeah.

It was just a completely bonehead move. Yeah, because that is a-- that is quite a share of Amazon to have to have been bought in at that point. Yeah, it was really early and it was really like-- and no-- it was-- I bet some of their employees had that kind of stuff going on.

Yeah. Oh my god. And what was funny is I was actually going to buy double the amount that I bought.

But I bought-- But that would have-- Now that would have felt worse for you. [LAUGHTER] I ended up buying a stock that went completely in the tank. So that was the worst financial decision I ever made. Yeah.

I have to say that's probably been our best answer yet on that question. What is your biggest current money insecurity? I don't have any.

That-- really, none, zero? No. I'm very-- I'm very-- money is only something you need in case you don't die tomorrow.

And I really don't-- I don't do what I do for the money. I mean, the money's kind of how you keep score, I guess. But I-- money never really bought me much of anything that really was that important to me.

My favorite things to do are still really, really inexpensive. I grew up without money and I never really let the money become something that was the guiding force for me. I'm very lucky I make a lot of money.

Doing what I do for a living, if you do it well, is very profitable. But I overpay all my employees. I'm wildly generous with the people in my life who I love.

And I like to give money to-- a lot of money to charity because I don't know that money really buys you that much that will make you that happy. I represent a lot of rich miserable people. I have clients worth hundreds of millions of dollars who are absolutely miserable.

They're addicted to drugs or alcohol. Their health is in shambles. They're just-- they have all kinds of issues.

And they're terrible parents, some of them. I mean, again, I represent some rich people that are super down to earth. I have a client right now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the most down to earth best people, great parent, great person. But I see a lot of really, really miserable rich people at their worst. And so I just never attributed to money any significance that would make me be insecure about it.

I don't really care. What is the single financial habit that helps you the most? I think not using credit cards that incur an interest rate.

I think that probably helps me the most. Well, using them but paying them off. Yeah.

Use them and paying them off. And I would say that or I would say I just track things. I don't obsessively track things.

But I just pay attention. It's the same thing that I advocate for in marriages-- just pay attention. Pay attention, guys.

Just watch where your money is. Watch what it's doing. Watch what your spending really looks like.

I think those are good habits to be in. And also, before I buy something, I really think about is this something I really need and do I really-- am I trying to fill an emotional void with this or is this something that I really will legitimately use? I would also say, too, I'd rather own fewer things that are high quality than own a bunch of garbage.

So I would rather have eight suits that I really love and fit me well than to have 15 suits of inferior quality, or three or four I actually reach for. And lastly. What does the word "successful," quote unquote, mean to you and when did you first feel it?

Oh, that's a great question. Thank you. Successful would mean to me being authentic to yourself and happy.

Because I think you could be happy but you're not being authentic to yourself. And I think you could be authentic to yourself but be miserable. So I think if you're both authentic to yourself and happy, that's a wonderful thing.

Authentic to yourself, happy, and making the world a better place, I think that's even a better combo. When did I first feel successful? Gosh, that's a great question.

I think-- I haven't thought about it. I think the first time I felt really successful was probably one of my first court appearances, I think. I had wanted to be a lawyer for a really long time.

And I remember being in a courtroom and it was like an inherit the wind kind of courtroom. Like all oak and it was this big-- The marble. They had an old school courtroom with a big jury box.

And I remember walking up and saying like-- when they called the case-- James J. Sexton for the plaintiff-- and I remember thinking like, oh man, you invested so much time and there were so many obstacles to this, there were so many-- I was a waiter for so many years. I used to-- I used to get home at 3:00 in the morning smelling like prime rib all the time.

And this is like the culmination of all of that. And I remember feeling like just really proud of myself and really proud of-- and thankful to all the people on the way that had helped me get there, and all the people that supported me, and loved me, and gave me the strength to do it. And I think when you work hard at something and achieve, to me that's the greatest feeling.

So I would say it had to be one of my first court appearances. But they've all-- over a 20-year career, they've all blended together now. But I look back on baby lawyer Jim when I first got out of school and how exciting it was to be a lawyer.

But the truth is I haven't lost that feeling. I still get really, really weirdly excited when I get to walk into court and get to advocate for a client. I just love what I do.

Well, thank you so much for being here, Jim. Thank you for having me. This was a very entertaining conversation.

Absolutely. I think you're asking great questions and I think that you're empowering people in the right way, especially women. I really think that the work that you're doing and the things you've advocated for are really, really important.

Thank you. And I think that you're doing a real serve-- you are, I hope, being authentic to yourself, happy in what you do. All day, every day, baby.

Happy in what you do and making the world a better place. I think you're empowering people. Thank you.

That's a great thing. Well, everyone, please-- thank you-- and everyone, please, do check out Jim's new book, How to Stay In Love, and his previous one, If You're In My Office, It's Already Too Late. That's it.

Nailed it. Stuck the landing. Very good.

Well, thank you guys as always for being here and we will see you next Monday with The Financial Confessions. So we talked a lot with Jim about the various kinds of high-level financial decisions that you'll be needing to plan for when it comes time to get married. And when it comes to making those decisions, you want the most powerful tools possible to help you understand the depth and health of your finances.

Turbo is a totally free app from Intuit, which offers you that really intense, nuanced view of your finances with things like your credit score, your debt to income ratio, and things like your verified income, which is a number that, for example, lenders will use in order to decide the terms of a loan you might be receiving. When it comes time to making these bigger financial decisions, sometimes you'll need enhanced tools which help you get that bird's eye view of all of the different aspects of your net worth and your financial health in a more long-term and substantial way. And Turbo is a perfect app for doing that.

Whether you're getting married or divorced, or just trying to manage your own long-term financial health in the best way possible, you are going to want a tool like Turbo. Check them out at the link in our description or our show notes. [MUSIC PLAYING]