It’s Never too Early to Plan your Financial Future
Whether they seek firmer financial footing in the lead up to a divorce or a well-crafted, tax-efficient investment strategy, clients find an advocate in Loretta Hutchinson of InSync Financial Group
by Phil Gianficaro

Six years ago, Mary Jane’s life had turned in an unexpected direction. She had reached a crossroads: After three decades of marriage and four children between the ages of 10 and 19, she and her husband were divorcing.

Mary Jane, who was employed then and now, maintained the care of their home and children; her husband managed the couple’s immediate and long-term financial plans. With the divorce came an alimony settlement and the distribution of assets. However, an uncertain financial future and the lack of a clear financial strategy required to navigate those turbulent, uncharted waters weighed on her.

Enter Loretta Hutchinson, president of InSync Financial Group/Financial Divorce Plan and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). For Mary Jane, a chance meeting with Hutchinson at the health club turned into a gift from above.

“I’m so grateful I went to see Loretta,” Mary Jane says. “She became a calming force in my life when it came to my finances and planning for the future. She was a godsend. It was toward the end of the divorce—I wish I had gone to see her sooner—and I was in the process of wondering what to do with my assets. My husband had handled all that, and now I needed to know what to do in terms of taking care of myself.”

Hutchinson planned it all out, five to seven years at a time, advising, “This is what you need to have, and this is what you need to invest.”

“She went so far as to organize monthly bill paying, and set up a whole filing system,” Mary Jane says. “She looked at everything from my settlement with a fine-toothed comb, and planned it out on a personalized and detailed spreadsheet so I could see what I needed to cut back on, what I needed to change and what needed to stay the same. Loretta took the worry and fear of the unknown and put it down on paper. I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

Headquartered in Yardley, InSync Financial Group provides both financial and divorce planning services, as well as investment management. As a fee-based advisor and CFP, Hutchinson works with clients developing their personalized financial plans and investment strategies to fit each client’s unique financial needs. Some of her clients come for just the financial planning services to ensure they are on track for retirement, while others want a CFP to manage their investment portfolios with an eye toward tax efficiency. A typical client has a net worth of $500,000 is usually at least 45 years old, and is starting to seriously invest and plan for longer-term goals, such as retirement. Services offered include comprehensive financial planning, tax management strategies, investment management, 401(k) recommendations and tracking, insurance analysis and retirement income planning. With each client, Hutchinson provides a detailed review of the current financial situation, discusses financial goals at length, and the
n creates a plan to help realize those goals.

“What I do for all my clients, divorcing or not,” she says, “is to first complete a comprehensive financial discovery. Since most individuals are looking to manage their tax burden, we also take a deep dive into their tax return and develop strategies and a timeline to minimize their tax bill … legally. For the executive who has recently cashed out their stock options or the business owner who has sold their enterprise, we come up with investment and income strategies always with an eye towards tax management. Common questions that we help the client to answer: ‘Is this a good time to cash in my options and how will that affect my current tax bracket?’ ‘Is it better to take my pension as a lump sum or a payout over time?’ and ‘I’ve been depending on my business or employer for an income but now that I’ve retired, how should I structure my investments to provide an income?’”

Through Financial Divorce Plan, which is another side of the practice, Hutchinson serves as a financial advocate for clients who are going through a separation and divorce, making sure the decisions made in the divorce settlement are equitable and will help protect a client’s future financial life. She outlines not only the details of the agreed-upon distribution of marital assets but also how that will affect each individual’s long-term financial planning. Hutchinson also brainstorms with her clients on managing their future financial planning concerns.

“Divorce is a huge upheaval personally and financially,” she says. “Decisions are constantly being made, and it is important to feel fully informed about the implications of those decisions.

“Divorce attorneys and mediators are good at what they do,” she continues. “They know the law and how the process works. Most have some insight into what the financial implications are for their clients in the short term. But investments and personal income tax laws have become increasingly complex and, for most divorcing couples, divorce is the unwinding of a complex and long-term financial partnership. Through collaboration with clients and their divorce team, we at InSync determine a continuous and dynamic list of next steps and a clear path to a financially secure future for the long term.”

Hutchinson has been married for 31 years to her husband, Mark, while her parents, both 88 years old, have been married for 65 years. In other words, Hutchinson values marriage. However, she understands that there are deal breakers in a partnership. “By the time clients come to me, the decision to separate has been made,” Hutchinson says. “I don’t influence them one way or another. Although I always advise counseling and provide referrals, ultimately they make their own decisions.”

Although Hutchinson works with a varied list of couples and individuals, a lot of those who inquire about her financial planning and wealth management services are women, married and single. The reason, she theorizes, is women simply feel more comfortable working with another woman. Also, she believes that even though many women are employed professionals and becoming less dependent on their spouses financially, couples still divvy up the family duties. The long-term planning often falls on one individual while the other manages the more day-to-day details of their personal and financial life. Because of this dynamic, many women often feel under pressure and ill informed when financial decisions need to be made, according to Hutchinson.

“I keep my clients on the front lines of their financial lives; it’s a collaborative process,” she says. “Everybody has different goals and values—how they think their money should be used. I also help my clients plan how to best to pass family wealth to the next generation—again, keeping their goals and values in context.”

When asked what advice she would give to those going through a financial transition such as retirement or divorce, Hutchinson replies, “Seek both personal and financial coaching early on. Friends and family are an important support system through many of life’s transitions, but you need objective and specialized expertise. It is never too early to seek financial advice, but it could be too late from a distribution perspective. Decisions, some ill informed, may have already been made and the papers signed. If you seek advice early, we can be proactive in planning. If you come early, you gain information and educate yourself before committing to anything. Early and proactive planning is always better.”

Six years ago, Mary Jane found Loretta Hutchinson. Now, six years later, she has the gift of reflection, as well as the firm financial footing she had been seeking. She understands the tremendous value she gained from Hutchinson’s counsel, both financially and emotionally. She found that counsel so valuable, in fact, that she chose to retain Hutchinson as her financial adviser.

“Loretta really helps you get a handle on what you have and where you need to go,” Mary Jane says. “She is knowledgeable, honest and calm, and she really cares about you. Like I said, I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her.”

InSync Financial Group/Financial Divorce Plan
1669 Edgewood Road, Suite 202
Yardley, PA 19067

Photograph by Terree Yeagle, The Moment Photography