Season 1: Episode 3 of Silver Divorce features highly respected forensic accountant James Schaefer

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From the Annualization Gambit, and Moore/Marsden, to a Mediator’s Perspective on Efficient Settlement, James Schaefer shares insights on the importance of accounting in Silver Divorce. Click here to Listen.

December 2023: A Note from Actuary and Author Peter Neuwirth, FSA, FCA — I invite you to tune in for this month’s episode of my podcast and video show, Silver Divorce, where for 30 minutes, we unpack ways you can simplify the painful process of getting divorced in your senior years.

Meet our guest: Forensic Accountant James Schaefer

This month’s topic: Accounting Matters in Silver Divorce

Pete will ask Jim the following about the topics and videos he’s crafted for clients:  

  • You have produced a series of very useful videos highlighting a number of difficult issues that come up in divorce, including exposing the tactics that some forensic accountants use to gain an advantageous settlement for their clients, but in the end, it makes the process more costly and time-consuming. I particularly liked the videos on “Hoodwinkers” and  “Confusicators.” Tell us what you mean by those terms. Click here to watch Jim’s video, “Hoodwink Series: The Annualization Gambit.”
  • I have learned from you that dividing real estate, including the family home between divorcing couples, is not as easy as it might seem as even when you think you have determined how much home equity is community property and how much separate property, you still have to do a “Moore Marsden calculation.” Can you tell me what a Moore-Marsden calculation is and why it is important? Click here to watch “Moore/Marsden Simply Stated”
  • Regarding the range and roles that “experts” can and should play in facilitating divorce settlements, what is your view on which of them should be ideally involved in facilitating cost and time-efficient dissolution? Which makes the process more costly and time-consuming? Click here to watch “The Confusicator Hoodwink.”
  • Also, regarding recordkeeping and the increasing trend for financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, investment managers, etc) to destroy historical records after 10-20 years of marriage, how do you, as a forensic accountant, view this challenge? Click here to watch “A Mediator’s Perspective on Efficient Settlement.”

About our guest

Jim began his professional career with Peat Marwick in 1972.  In 1985 he formed his own CPA practice.  For more than 20 years, he has focused on family law forensic accounting.  Today his practice is 100% focused on serving family law attorneys and their clients primarily in the areas of tracing separate party assets, opining on income available for support and the marital standard of living, testifying in superior court, developing demonstrative exhibits, characterization of stock options & RSUs, proving reimbursement claims (FC Sec. 2640), and assisting counsel in answering document demands. Jim has also given testimony in Superior Courts of California for 11 counties and is a co-presenter of “Common Issues in California Divorce for Attorneys” on Vimeo, which features 30 short free videos. See those here:

Click here to learn more:

About Peter Neuwirth, FSA, FCA: Pete is an author and actuary specializing in retirement plan issues. He is a 1979 graduate of Harvard College with a BA in Mathematics and Linguistics. After leaving Harvard, he went to work at Connecticut General Life Insurance, now CIGNA, and for the next 38 years, he worked continuously as an actuary holding significant leadership positions at a variety of firms around the country, including most of the major consulting firms (Aon, Hewitt Associates, Watson Wyatt, Towers Perrin and finally Towers Watson). He spent five years as a chief actuary at a regional benefits consulting firm (Godwins), seven years running a small actuarial firm (Coates Kenney), and one year in a large accounting firm (Price Waterhouse). At the end of 2016, he retired from Towers Watson to focus on writing and researching financial wellness issues.

Pete continues researching various financial wellness issues, including using home equity to generate retirement income. In 2018 he taught a graduate seminar on this subject for the actuarial science department at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is currently associated with the Academy for Home Equity in Financial Planning at the University of Illinois.

His current books include “Money Mountaineering” and “What’s Your Future Worth?” Additionally, Pete’s research has been published in professional journals, including the Journal of Deferred Compensation, Contingencies, and Journal of Financial Planning. His articles have also been published in numerous online actuarial web publications. He is a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, Enrolled Actuaries, and Western Pension and Benefits Conference. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries.

Learn more about actuary and author Peter Neuwirth: • Listen to Pete’s podcasts on • Watch all of his video episodes: