This is a TRUE LIFE telephone conversation between a friend of mine and his soon-to-be ex-wife regarding the division of his 401(k) as part of their divorce. (slightly paraphrased) I was in the room when they had this telephone conversation and I could only clearly hear his side. Her side comes from him after he hung up.
Man: You need to open an account with the brokerage house. I will provide them with the settlement details. They will split my account in half and deposit your half into your new account. You can than then choose to do with it what you want. You can sell everything if you want and transfer proceeds wherever you want. Everything is at a loss right now so you won’t have tax implication. In fact, you will get a benefit from the loss.
Soon-to-be-Ex: What if I don’t know what to do? You’ll help me won’t you?
Man, a bit shocked: No, you need to decide what you want to do with the money.
Man wanted to say: I guess you shouldn’t have gotten rid of that Finances for Dummies book, eh?
I would have said: “We’ll be divorced and it’s not my job anymore to take care of you anymore. You need to stand on your own two feet and figure out how to fend for yourself. Now go to the school and buy the Finances for Dummies book you just had to sell.”