Watch Our Women & Wealth Webinar on Planning Your Financial Future

Couldn’t tune in live? Don’t worry – you can still watch it here.

On June 29, Milwaukee Magazine Associate Publisher Katie Williams hosted a free webinar discussion with Associated Bank‘s Kosana Stojcevic, a portfolio manager, and Nicole Kowalski, an associate fiduciary officer.

The discussion covered life’s big transitions – marriage, divorce, buying a home, estate planning – and how to plan for turbulent times. If you missed the livestream, click here to check out the archived video.

They started by tackling student loan debt.

“I consolidated all of my loans after I was finished with law school,” Kowalski said. “So I would say, after you’re done with all schooling, consolidate all your loans if possible.” She added that when consolidating student loan debt, you should only consolidate public loans together and private loans together, never mixing the two. If you were to consolidate them together, all the benefits that come with public loans, such as fixed interest rates and deferment options, would be removed.

They moved on to discuss marriage, and strategies for securing your future.

“Anytime that a couple is thinking about getting married they should be having a conversation about finances, about what debts they have, how much money that they’re going to be contributing to the marriage,” Kowalski said. “Wisconsin is a community property state … so if you get a divorce, you would have to prove at that point that [your assets] are not community property.”

If one spouse has assets that they would want to retain in case of divorce, such as a house or land, Kowalski advises seeking help from an attorney before getting married to draft a marital property agreement that would keep certain assets out of that joint marital property.

The discussion included steps to take before making a career change, like checking to see how close you are to being fully vested in your 401K. If you’re close, you might want to consider staying in your job long enough to keep all of the money that your employer has contributed to the fund.

Moving on to estate planning, Kowalski advised making your plan when first you buy a house. A house can’t be passed on to another person through probate, so if you want to ensure that your assets go to a particular person or place, you would want to set that up through an estate plan.

Near the end of the discussion, they turned to the current state of the economy. Kowalski and Stojcevic explained that financial advisers can calculate your percentage chance of achieving your financial goals in the best and worst economic climates.

“Times like right now are why it’s really important to have a financial plan,” says Stojcevic. “So that in the good times, you’re on solid foundation, and in the bad times, the buffer that those good times have built up will ride you through.”

If you want to check out our previous Women & Wealth webinars, click here. And email any recommendations you might have for future Women and & Wealth webinar topics to