Love can get complicated. Protecting yourself financially before, during, and after a relationship doesn’t have to be. That’s according to the attorney, radio host, and author Naz Barouti. Barouti is a rising star in the legal world. She’s known to many as the “estate guru.” What makes her different from other lawyers? She’s a fierce advocate for women. “I saw countless women discouraged in protecting themselves financially either because they didn’t understand the law or didn’t have thousands of dollars to hire an attorney,” Barouti told Scope Weekly. “I wanted to write an easy to understand guide on how you can protect yourself no matter what stage in life you are in.”
If you’ve ever felt like there are simple, legal things you should be doing but aren’t, Barouti’s book is for you. Love, Death, and Money: A Woman’s Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself, covers the legal basics many women overlook, such as having a will. “The minute you turn 18 it is essential you have an attorney prepare an advance health care directive and durable power of attorney.” Most recent high school grads don’t have things like advanced directives in mind, but Barouti emphasized their importance. “These documents allow you to select someone to make medical and financial decisions for you when you are incapacitated. The same goes for a will: once you are 18, make sure to state who will inherit your assets.” Barouti also stressed saving and starting young. “I wish I knew at a young age how important it is to save money. Women outlive men, and as a result, they have to take care of themselves in old age.”
Society has labeled women who are proactive in protecting themselves financially as ‘difficult.
Many women avoid discussing finances with their partner, and Barouti has a theory as to why. “I believe that women have difficulty in discussing these issues because society has labeled women who are proactive in protecting themselves financially as ‘difficult.’ As a result, women don’t want to come across as “difficult” in a relationship. They don’t want to rock the boat with these important conversations.”
Barouti sees that gender politics also play a significant role in heterosexual relationships. “I find that despite the advancement of women, there remains a need to abide by male/female roles in a relationship. Typically, men are the ones that take care of the finances by selecting the accountant, lawyer, and financial advisers.” That’s why Barouti thinks it is so important for women to keep themselves from becoming financially entangled with their partners.
For me, what is mine is mine.
Naz Barouti has a unique perspective when it comes to merging finances in a relationship. For many couples, the joint checking account is a foregone conclusion, but it doesn’t have to be. “I’m not from the school of thought of “what is mine is ours.” For me “what is mine is mine,” Barouti told Scope Weekly. “I don’t mean to be a pessimist, but it is crucial to keep your separate assets separate. I’m all for couples building together, but whatever you built before the relationship should be protected.”
I want to see all women feel confident in their personal and professional relationships.
Reading Love, Death, and Money: A Woman’s Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself is like getting advice from an empowering best friend who also happens to be a fantastic lawyer. “I want to see all women feel confident in their personal and professional relationships,” Barouti said, “To speak up about what they want, need and what they will not tolerate.”
No one likes talking about death, taxes, or financial planning, but the subject matter doesn’t deter Barouti. “What gets me through the day is knowing that I’m helping people in a stressful and difficult situation,” Barouti said. “I also try to leave work at the office. When I leave I focus on re-charging. I spend a lot of time reading and doing yoga/hot Pilates. If I’m not mentally strong for myself, I won’t be able to be mentally strong for my clients.”
Naz Barouti’s Love, Death, and Money: A Woman’s Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself is a must-read for women and men alike. “While the book is targeted towards women, any man can pick up the book, read the cautionary tales I share, and apply to their lives,” Barouti told Scope Weekly. “Essentially the law does not change whether you are a man or a woman.”
More on Naz Barouti can be found at her website, www.nazbarouti.com. Her book, Love, Death, and Money: A Woman’s Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself, will be available soon where-ever books are sold.
Photos courtesy of Naz Barouti.