Heather Locus, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®
Why did you choose to be part of the BDF team?
For several years I owned my own wealth management practice in Minnesota and was relocating to Chicago. I was debating whether to stay on my own or join another firm. When I interviewed with Mark Balasa, I immediately knew we shared the same passion to help people and personal values. That meeting forever changed my life, and I have never looked back.
Why did you choose to lead the Divorce Practice Group?
Anyone going through a divorce has to make the most important decisions of their life during what may be the most challenging experience they will ever live through. People often experience shock, anger, and resentment along with significant changes in social dynamics. This often leads them to reassess their fears, dreams, and priorities. Helping them protect hope and maintain a proactive focus by gaining an understanding of their new lifestyle and options is very rewarding. Going through my own divorce, I gained a much deeper appreciation of how challenging it is to make sound decisions in the midst of any major life transition. The combination of my technical expertise and personal journey, along with over two decades helping people manage conflicting priorities, has given me a unique ability to help families during this challenging time.
What do your clients appreciate most about you?
My clients tell me that they appreciate how we hold time and space for them to reflect on what is most important in their life. We start our meetings by discussing what a full life looks like for them now. This ensures how they use their money is in line with their evolving priorities. What I appreciate most about our clients is all that I learn from them – many are true “life mentors” to me.
What skills or characteristics make you uniquely qualified for this work?
The combination of compassion and curiosity allow me to really understand what motivates our clients and what holds them back. My extensive training in executive coaching and divorce mediation, along with being a CPA and CFP® professional for over 20 years, collectively enable me to design practical solutions aligned with each client’s unique values. I work with our talented BDF team to ensure each plan is executed and updated as life evolves.
What defines your own personal “full life”?
A full life for me is being open to possibilities and experiencing all that life has to offer. I’m blessed with a wonderful son and daughter who provide joy and learning opportunities every day. My purpose in life is to raise them to be self-sufficient with healthy relationships. Serving clients together with our BDF team is very fulfilling as well. I feel fortunate to help so many families navigate divorce with the least amount of conflict and collateral damage possible. Through founding our BDF Women’s Service Team and my philanthropic work, I have enjoyed having a meaningful impact on women from all walks of life. I love to travel, enjoy new restaurants and wines, and take advantage of any opportunity to be active outdoors.
Heather is passionate about helping people make complex decisions. As a BDF owner, head of our Divorce Practice Group, and founder of our Women’s Service Team, she solves problems by balancing the emotional and behavioral components of financial decisions with the tax and legal issues.
Since taking the right steps at every turn matters, Heather empowers divorcing men and women to make sound decisions throughout all the phases of divorce. Often as the first divorce professional people talk to, she helps families hire the best-fit attorneys, mediator or other professionals needed. Heather and her team assist in key decisions such as whether to settle or continue negotiations, then fully implement separating assets and managing the investments to fund a full life post-divorce. Heather uses her technical knowledge and first-hand experience to guide people through this unsettling situation to create a full life as they redefine it. She authored The Next Chapter: A Practical Roadmap for Navigating Through, and Beyond, Divorce and is a regular contributor to Forbes.com
A Forbes “America’s Top Women Advisor,” Heather is also a six-time “Five Star Wealth Manager” according to Chicago Magazine, was named an “Influential Women in Business” by The Business Ledger, a “Top 200 Wealth Advisor Mom” by Working Mother, and an Investment News “Woman to Watch”. She has contributed to various publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, Family Lawyer Magazine and Divorce Magazine on topics ranging from how to protect an estate during a divorce to key financial considerations before signing a divorce settlement or prenuptial agreement. Through presentations including “The Financially Responsible Woman: Five Strategies for a Full Life” and “When I Do Becomes I Don’t: Five Strategies for a Financially Responsible Divorce, Heather educates women and men on how to transition through new phases of their life with confidence and peace of mind.
After earning a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Northern Iowa, Heather obtained her CPA designation in 1993, Certified Financial Planner™ certification in 1996 and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® designation in 2013. She completed a year-long executive coaching program in 2002 and Northwestern University’s Divorce Mediation coursework in 2015. Heather started her professional career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen LLP and then a local CPA firm in Houston. Her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in at age 24 when she started her own financial planning and investment management practice in 1995 before joining BDF in 1998.
When not helping clients, Heather enjoys learning something new every day from her son and daughter, traveling, being active outdoors and giving back to the community. She is a former board member at the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago and is involved with A Night Out, The Lilac Tree, and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
If you are contemplating or in the process of a divorce, please contact Heather to find out how BDF can help you navigate this process to create your next chapter.