- Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
It’s time for New Year’s resolutions for many people, time to finally straighten up and fly right in 2012. Not for this guy, a firm believer in the old adage “Man plans, God laughs.” I make my resolutions as I go along.
Cal Brown mentions the saying in his new financial planning book “When Life Strikes: Weathering Financial Storms” (Brown Book Publishing Group, Dallas, TX, 280 pages, no index, $24.95) but he fails to give it the proper attribution. “Man plans, God laughs” (Mann traoch, Gott Lauch) is a Yiddish proverb and historically Jews have known first hand about unexpected events — or even expected ones.
As the title indicates, Brown’s book covers crises such as “What if I lose my spouse?” “What if I lose my career?” “What if I lost my investments?” and “What if I lost my marriage?”
The latter intrigued me as I saw in my old newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, that the NBA’s highest paid player, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, has been sued for divorce by his wife of 10 years — a benchmark which qualifies Vanessa Bryant for a bigger cut of Kobe’s fortune.
Believe it or not, Kobe and Vanessa didn’t have a prenuptial agreement, a subject Cal Brown discusses in his chapter on marriages. A marriage lasting longer than 10 years is defined as a lengthy one in the great state of California (funny, I thought it was 10 MONTHS!)
Big Mistake for Kobe! Absent a prenup — which Brown recommends in many circumstances — Vanessa is entitled to half their community property in community property state California. The story has a comment from Christopher C. Melcher, a Woodland Hills, CA family attorney: With a prenup Kobe “could have saved half his fortune.” Estimates put Kobe’s net worth at $150 million and Vanessa will probably get at least $75 million of that “in addition to ongoing spousal and child support.”
Divorce is something Cal Brown knows first hand, and he gives sound advice about when to get a prenup — and when not to. Throughout the book he cautions readers with the usual disclaimer about legal advice — consult your attorney, ideally one with the proper specialty. From the circumstances of the Bryant marriage, I’m pretty sure Brown would have recommended a prenup. Kobe made almost $25 million last year for running around the hardwood in his shorts and endorsing many products.
Brown practices his profession of fee only financial planner with the Monitor Group in Virginia, a non-community property state. (The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin). In addition to divorce, Cal Brown has experienced most of the life crises he deals with in his very useful book, with the exception of having his identity stolen. Thanks to his years of experience as a financial planner, coupled with various tumultuous events in his own life, Brown is able to give general guidance and specific financial tips to help ease the stress of these inevitabilities.
About the author
Cal Brown, CFP, MST has over twenty-five years of experience in the financial services field. He received his master of science in taxation (MST) from American University in Washington, DC, and his undergraduate BSBA degree from the University of Arkansas. He is currently an adjunct professor in the MST program at American University, teaching estate planning. Brown is vice president of planning for The Monitor Group in Virginia, a wealth management firm working with over 250 clients and managing approximately $500 million in assets.He also plays guitar in a classic rock cover band in northern Virginia.
Publisher’s website: www.themonitorgroup.com/books