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Ep. 18 – Earning Capacity

What is your financial situation after divorce or what will it look like?

What do you WANT it to look like?

Let’s do an exercise together…I have some questions you need to ask yourself!


Hello, my friends. So I’ve got a bit of a subject to talk to you about today. I wanna talk to you today about earning money and how you’re gonna reconcile that with. Alimony or child support that you’re getting. So the question is, Hey, do you go out and do you earn money on some level higher than what you’re earning now?

And how does that correlate or does it jeopardize your support that you’re getting. What does that look like for you? Let’s dive into it. What if I told you that your divorce could end up being one of the best things that could happen to you? I’m Doreen, Yaa, marital, and family, lawyer, and certified life coach.

I’ve been coaching and consulting women for over 26 years. I’ve seen it. Now I’m sharing my expertise and my own personal experiences to help you turn a difficult time into your amazing divorce. So let’s just talk a little bit of legal ease for a minute. And let me just tell you that I practice marital and family law as you know, in Florida.

So. If you have questions about what I’m talking about, please seek legal advice from a lawyer in your state, in your country, in your Providence. Okay. Alimony. In Florida is paid to a spouse, to someone based on a list of statutory factors that are taken into consideration things like did they give up their career in pursuit of the other person’s career?

How long was the marriage? What is their earning capacity? Now at that time sometimes called it imputed income. What are their needs based on the standard of living. And then there’s usually two components to alimony. Now, child support is another part of support. Of course, there’s support in Florida is considered either alimony or child support and, or both together.

But for the purposes of this, I am talking primarily about alimony. Now there’s two parts of alimony in Florida. There is the amount of the alimony on a monthly basis. Generally it’s paid monthly. And then there is the duration of the alimony. How long is the alimony being paid? Now, what happens is when you’re going through a divorce or you are post divorce.

you will hear lawyers. You will hear people tell you, or some people say not everyone, you know, be careful. Don’t go out and make too much money. Don’t get a job. Let’s assume you were a stay home. Mom, your husband or your, the other spouse was the person primarily financially responsible for bringing in the money as they say.

And your role, as you agreed during the marriage, was that you would stay home, take care of the home, take care of the children and let them go out and do what they needed to do. Right. And generally, at least in Florida, you get alimony because you gave up your earning capacity generally for the sake of someone else’s right.

But what happens when you get divorced? Now let’s assume like a client of mine recently came to me and she’s got an alimony award it’s for a certain durational period of time. And what she said to me is during, I am going through major anxiety every month. Because I don’t know one, if I’m gonna get the payment, if it’s gonna actually come in two, I don’t know if the amount is gonna be correct.

And three, I don’t know if I’m gonna have to call my lawyer or call you or call someone else to help me to get him to pay. And it’s causing me so much anxiety. And I said to her, then I put on my coaching hat. I talked to her as a lawyer, but I put on my coaching hat and I said, well, let’s talk about your earning capacity.

We know how much you’re getting paid in alimony, and we know how long you’re gonna get paid, assuming, and this is a big assumption that he pays you on time. He doesn’t play games with it. So tell me what that number is. Okay. And we came up with a number now, also tell me, what do you think you could earn?

What do you think your earning capacity is? Because in order for you to make a decision on whether or not you’re gonna pursue a certain career, a certain earning capacity. And I believe that earning capacity is, is based on the value that you give as a person to the world. You see, if you can provide a value, something of value to the world, they will buy.

Pretty plain and simple and every single one of us has value to give. We all do. it comes in. Look for me, it was a lawyer for many years for you. It could be that. You’re a great, you’re a great artist, which I couldn’t paint anything if my life depended on it, you know, so everybody has talent. Everyone has an interest.

Everybody has a passion and those interests and passions can change throughout your life. Right. So as you know, for many years, my pursuit was to be a lawyer and that was my main focus to be a litigator. And I was, and I probably went up to one of the highest levels in my field. But then as I got older, I felt kind of into life coaching, mostly for women going through and post divorce, because I saw that they had a need, I believe very much in self-help and I pursued that.

And eventually that will become more of a full-time passion and earning capacity. Me, but for you, you have to look at and really inside yourself and talk to yourself and say, Hey, what is my earning capacity? But then as you know, and as many of my clients know, um, meaning family, law clients, but Doreen, if I go out and make money, then.

I’m not gonna get my alimony award. He’s gonna come back and he’s gonna say it should be reduced or terminated all together. And my. Answer as a family, lawyer might be different than my suggestion as a life coach, because as a life coach, what I say to you is, but look at what you’re going through every month to get that payment, the stress that you don’t have, the success and growth and everything else that stems from earning your.

Dollars. And if you are only receiving X amount of dollars, let’s say it’s a thousand dollars a month in alimony. How much can you make? So would you be willing to give up a thousand dollars a month to earn $5,000 a month? How about $10,000 a month? How about $25,000 a be a month? Hey, how about $500,000 a.

When you think about it that way, is it really free money to you? Is it worth it? If you have the capacity to earn so much more. So you have to understand that what your value is, and that includes value that you can provide. Like I said to the world that in turn can provide you financial independence and a strong feeling of self worth and likely a role model to your children that has a lot of value to it, but it’s not easy.

To make that decision or is it no truth? Be told it’s not an easy decision because you will likely place your support at risk. So you gotta think it through. And like I said, you have to get legal advice from your lawyer and your state as to what is best under your circumstances. Now turning to what is my earning capacity.

Like I said, your earning capacity is based on the value you can provide to someone who’s willing to pay for whatever it is that you are providing them. If it’s a service, if it’s art, if it’s legal representation, if it’s a widget or if it’s.

so some of you think that your earning capacity is a certain number, and I suggest that you need to expand that thought process. You’ll say something or people say something like, but in that industry, the most that can be made is $60,000 a year. Now you’ll know you are, Underearning when you want to make more money than you’re making, and you have the capability to make more money.

And you know what your capacity is, you know, you are capable because, you know, What your capacity is, you have to be honest with yourself. You may see other people doing it and you are not, or you see other people in a particular career, and they’re only making a certain amount.

And the number that you are making might be. Underearning for you. Some people make a million dollars a year and they are not earning to their capacity because if you have the capacity to earn more, to make more and you want to make more, then when you believe you can, through your thoughts. And creating the action and the results, then some of you can make more money than you’re ever AMA.

So the first thing that you have to do is sit down with yourself. Who else would you sit down with? Right Doreen, and be honest with your yourself. I want you to ask yourself the following question and just write down the number. What is the number you want to make a. But the second part of that is you have to believe it at least 50%.

Okay. So think about the number. But if you’re not believing it a hundred percent, but you kind of believe in your hard and har of hearts, that you have a pretty good feeling that you can make it. Then you’re on to something. It’s almost like a feeling of being excited and terrified all at the same time, but you have to believe it.

First, the second part of it. When you think about how much you can make, what you can earn is remember, you don’t have to make it this year or in 12 months, it could be a plan to make it within five years, 10 years or even longer. So think about that as well. Especially if you have a durational alimony situation or you’re getting child support through a certain.

So if you know that your alimony’s gonna end in five years, then maybe you could think about your earning capacity after five years and starting to build on that number now through experience through education. Through connections, whatever that looks like for you. What’s interesting. Also, when I think about, and I share my thoughts about how much can you earn no one, typically ask that question when you are in high school and you’re getting ready to go to college or you’re in college.

And you’re speaking with your career C. Very rarely do they ever ask you how much money you want to earn? And I wanna suggest that that is a mistake. I mean, I understand where the counselor is going with that because we are all taught that we have to enjoy what we do. And so that is a consideration and it’s important, but equally important in combination with that is how much money, you know, it’s interesting because I don’t recall ever really having these conversations with.

My daughters at length who are all now in college. But my oldest daughter, when I was speaking to her about what avenue after her first year of college, where, what direction was she gonna go into business school? Did she wanna be an accountant? Did she wanna go into marketing? She said to me, mom, I need to figure out not only what I want to do, what I think I like doing, but how much I want to make.

Last week. I was speaking to my middle daughter who is going to vet school. She’s in pre-med now she’s also the athlete that I speak about. And I said to her, are you sure that you, at least as of today, want to stay on the road of being a veterinarian? I mean, I understand this is a very challenging career on many levels and it’s very competitive.

She said to me, and I said to her, you know, you could be a vet assistant. You could look at other areas of medicine that don’t require as much training, competition education. And she said, mom, I wanna make a lot of money. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think we should encourage all of our children, especially our girls to be financially independent, to think about their careers.

Not only with what they’re passionate about and what they feel that they want to do. And I say, feel that what they wanna do, because it changes as we know, but also that they think about having a lifestyle and what that requires financially without the financial contribution from a spouse. I mean, it’s great.

If you are in love and your spouse makes a lot of money, more power to you, but it’s not a given when 50%, approximately 50% of everyone in that gets married, gets divorced. So teach our children, teach them that they got to be able to provide for themselves. Another example. I remember when one of my, the same, it was my oldest daughter, same one that mentioned to me.

She wants to earn certain amount of. I remember when she was younger, she wanted to be in education. And it is an amazing field. I have a sister who is a principal in dad, county schools. Her job, I mean is, especially with what’s been going on with the pandemic and everything. She is a godsend to so many people, but you, but you have to be understanding of the reality.

That typically in the education field, the amount of dollars that you can earn might be capped out at a certain amount, depending on what sector of the field, the educational world you get into.

So the first thing is I wanted you to pick an amount that you want to earn. The second thing is I wanted you to think about when you wanna make it, how long and how many years. And the third thing I want you to think about is what do you think, or where would you find the information to determine what it would take to get there?

Now I’m not gonna talk about the, how today we’ll do that on another episode, because I am a firm believer that when you set any goal, Between the dream of that goal and that reaching the goal itself is massive action. And I wanna talk at some later point about what that is, but that’s a whole separate episode.

Now, for some reason you can’t pick a number, then just come up with an amount, come up with a number. That feels okay for you doesn’t feel perfect, but it feels like, mm, this is a good number. I’m a little up scared. I’m a little like, how am I gonna get there? But it’s exciting to you. The next thing I want you to do is to put the number down of what you’re making today.

And if you’re receiving support. I’m talking alimony, then put that number down. Okay. And if you are a full-time mom or volunteering and not earning dollars as in money that you put in a bank, that’s okay, too. Because the answer today for many of you might be, I’m not interested in earning more money at this point in my life.

I’ve decided that instead of pursuing a career outside of the home, that I’m gonna spend my career right now, taking care of my children full time. And that is extremely admirable. And that is okay if that’s okay with you, you have to feel okay about it. Not anyone else. It has to be your decision. So take the number that you want to earn.

and take the number you’re earning now. And if that’s zero that’s okay. And then determine what the difference is. So for example, if you wanna make $200,000 and you’re making $50,000 now, Then the difference is $150,000. And remember, there is no judgment here. This is between you and me. And this goes no further.

This is for you just to look at for you to open up your thoughts about it. It’s an exercise of awareness. That’s it? Nothing more at this. Now many of you may have some difficulty thinking about making money, because we’re really not taught that in our society at 16 years old or 15 years old. When you start thinking about you’re on the tail end of high school, you’re gonna be going on, maybe going on to college, getting out there in the world.

We’re not typically taught. Especially as women to think about our earning capacity, people may say to us, and we may learn, what do you wanna do when you get older? And they. Talk about that, but they don’t talk so much to women about earning money at young ages. So this might be foreign to you. Again, this is just an exercise in opening up your thoughts to have awareness, to think about what your earning capacity could be, and then to determine what that number might be.

That’s it, we’re also taught in the world that. The world gets to tell us what we get paid. In other words, again, if you do this job, the most you can make is this, but is that really true? I mean, if you love being a teacher and you want to be a teacher and you believe that the earning capacity is a number well, what about if you owned your own school?

Now, what does your earning capacity look like? Now? You may be also thinking, but money. Isn’t, everything, money doesn’t make you happy. It doesn’t make you a good person. It doesn’t make you better or worse in someone else. And this is purely. looking at the aspects of your life and what you want with regard to making money.

And that’s it finding happiness. Doesn’t come from making money. It may bring you security and a feeling of success and accomplishment and independence and being smart and educated. But these things are not what makes you happy? Everything in life that makes you happy. Is the way you think about something.

So I hope you get that from some of my foundational coaching. So let me take a minute of that. When you feel happy. It is because something that has happened called the circumstance, like a big paycheck or landing a client, or I don’t know, spending time with one of your best friends, it triggers a thought, right?

Maybe your thought. Holy, you know what? I can’t believe that I just landed a paycheck that big I’ve really rocked it. Or maybe it’s. I just had the most amazing client that I just landed. Look, one person could land a new client and be super happy about it. And another person could have a. That it wasn’t a good enough client, that it’s not a client that she can make enough money from.

So it’s all in the way you think about things. So money in and of itself doesn’t make us happy. It is the thought about whatever the circumstance is today. We’re talking about earning money. That’s what makes you happy? Your thought? one person could get a paycheck and it could be, let’s just pick a number $500,000 and one person could think, wow, that’s amazing.

Look at this. I just rocked it. And the other person could be thinking it wasn’t enough. This episode today is about having your destiny in mind of what you. As far as yourself and how to start to get there. So many of us have been raised to have these feelings surrounding money about shame and how people that make money are unkind or think of any other adjective.

I’m sure many come to mind. Then I want you to ask yourself why you are not making the amount you want to. This is not again to cause any shame. It’s simply to open your thoughts about earning dollars. Some people, when they think about making a certain amount of money, think they’re lazy. But this is about their perception that in order to make money, they have to work extra long hours or they have to have no life outside of work or that they will sacrifice spending time with their kids.

I get also a lot of people that come to me and tell me that they don’t wanna leave their current job because they’re unwilling to let go of that security. What they’re thinking is security in their mind to take a risk they’re afraid of the unknown and how they’re gonna get out there and survive.

Others tell me that they feel stuck in the job they’re in because they’re financially dependent on receiving that amount. So people have to reconcile all this to feel more comfortable with whatever it looks like, as opposed to what we need to ask ourselves. You know, you start getting paralyzed when we don’t know how.

And we get stuck based on confusion. When we think about earning that’s another subject. That confusion that I’ll never get there. I don’t know how that’s your brain trying to protect you and to keep you stuck where you are, because that’s what it knows your brain. Wants to keep you where it feels comfortable and what it feels comfortable is what it knows what it’s learned, time and time again.

It’s our brain. It’s our thoughts. Trying to protect us, stay here, where we know what to expect. We know how much we’re getting. Because we don’t wanna go out there in the world and try to earn more, be a different person in a different career because that’s unknown. That’s scary. So where do you fall in with all this?

But the reality is that anything that you want in life that’s unknown, it requires risk. It requires getting past the fear. It may be just as much as asking your boss for a raise or asking your client to pay more for your service, ask yourself, what are you afraid of and try to dig deep for the answers here.

If you are not putting yourself out there in the world to get where you need to get, because you’re staying isolated to be safe. That’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Literally rejecting opportunities because you’re afraid to put yourself out there. And so many us carry forward. These beliefs from a very young age, others of you are just afraid of failure putting yourself out there.

But I like you to consider that. All of the failures, all of the nos, all of the rejections are one step closer to a yes. No, it doesn’t feel good when it happens. And a client says, no, I don’t want to buy your service or your widget. I’m not interested. But if you know why, then you can make the product, the service better.

You need to have the, no to gain the knowledge, to get out there and make something successful to produce that value that the world wants. I can bet you that if we went on the Googles right now together, and we looked up the most successful people in the world, that those people. Failed many times over before they made it and this doesn’t feel good.

I know it doesn’t feel good to you cuz what I’m trying to sell you on is that in order to gain anything, any goal, including a career or earning capacity that you want. It’s not going to feel good right away. You’re not gonna go from zero to a hundred percent. It doesn’t work that way. You have to go through the feeling terrible because it’s just feels scary.

This, my friend is the only way to get there. So again, if you are receiving Alimo. Think about that number, think about it in a total package amount. Think about what your earning capacity is. Think about what you really want to do. And whether you make a decision for yourself that you just don’t want to go out and earn money from a third party, you wanna get your alimony payment and you wanna focus in on your kids.

That’s a great decision if that’s what you want, but if you feel uncomfortable about it and you know that you have more value to offer. Of your home outside of what you’re bringing to your family, to your children, and you feel a need to go there. Do the math, open yourself up to the possibilities and think about it.

Okay. My friends, little bit of a heavy subject today. Love to hear from you all love yourself. Take care of yourself and yes, you can do whatever you set your mind to.

And until next time, have an amazing rest of the day. And remember, yes, you can buy everybody. Thanks so much for listening for tips, updates, and expert advice. Be sure to visit your amazing And remember my friends. Yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce. See you there. Views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by YFA family law group or your divorce law center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.

The content of your amazing divorce is for entertainment and educational purposes. Only none of the content on your amazing divorce should be considered legal advice, nor does anything here. End create an attorney, client relationship as always consult a lawyer for your legal questions.

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