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Who Gets the Sky Miles?

When it comes to dividing your assets, you probably know you’ll divide the big ones: Your house. Bank accounts. Retirement assets. Maybe even some investment accounts.

But many women don’t know about, or think to ask to share, the less obvious assets. While you may not get a statement for them in the mail every month, they can have a lot of value.

Here are 3 often-overlooked assets you’ll want to include in your divorce negotiation:


1. Miles and Points

If you or your spouse have ever traveled for work, or use a rewards credit card (think Delta AmEx), or just plain like to vacation, then you’ve accumulated at least a few thousand airline miles.

I’ve had clients whose husbands had half a million or more SkyMiles just sitting in their accounts. Just 50% of those will get you and 2 kids to Europe and back, fly you home for the birth of your sister’s baby, and to your cousin Margaret’s wedding in Chicago next summer. Even if your spouse’s miles balance isn’t that hefty, whatever there is, it’s worth sharing.

And don’t forgot about those hotel points either. All the major ones have them: Marriott (which now includes SPG), World of Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, even Best Western.

Paying for your flight with miles and your hotel with points lets you save your Benjamins to use on your trip! (Case in point: I’m writing this article from a hotel room in San Francisco, that I used points to pay for, and I flew here on miles. Total cost of trip so far: $110 for meals).


2. Health Savings Account

Health savings what? Health savings accounts (HSA), created in 2003, are a type of account that lets you save pre-tax dollars to use for qualified medical expenses. Not all health plans allow for HSAs, so find out if yours does.

HSAs are different from “use it or lose it” flexible spending accounts. With a HSA you can roll it over and take the money out - tax-free - to cover qualified health care costs for the rest of your life. Think of it like a personal savings account, but one that you use to spend on medical expenses.

And there’s even more good news: HSAs are handled like IRAs and can be transferred from one spouse to another in a divorce. So if your spouse has a HSA, make sure you ask to divide it!


3. Tax Refunds Applied to Next Year

This is a sneaky one. While some taxpayers choose to receive their refund check, many others elect to apply it towards the next year’s taxes. This is especially true for business owners who are required to pay quarterly taxes. All fine and well, unless you’re going to be divorced from your spouse in the tax year that refund was applied to. Since you won’t be married anymore next year, that means you won’t share in that tax refund at all!

While you can’t technically split a refund that’s already been applied to next year (sorry, but the IRS doesn’t play that way), you can ask for your share of it to be paid out to you, now, in cash.

It might be tempting to ignore these “lesser” assets when you’re feeling overwhelmed with big decisions. Lady friend, I’m here to encourage you not to do that. 🙏🙏 There will come a time (I promise!) when the dust has settled, and all of this is behind you. Won’t you feel good when you’ve got extra miles to travel with, or dollars to spend? A few minutes could yield some pretty significant results down the road. You got this!


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