Women are disproportionately impacted by divorce when it comes to financial settlements. Many women end up in poverty following a divorce, especially mothers. Ameé speaks with a certified financial advisor and consultant, Rhonda Noordyk, to discusses the impact divorce has on women's finances and how to make better financial decisions when it comes to divorce.
Rhonda's organization, The Women's Financial Wellness Center, helps women gain confidence and protect them from financial vulnerability during the divorce process. Rhonda also had a podcast called Divorce Conversations for Women.
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Hello everybody welcome back to the show I have with me a guest, she and I had an opportunity to have a casual conversation as we got to know each other, we met through another mutual friend too. I know through the business end of my my life, which a lot of people coming into one broken Mom, you're starting to get a viewpoint of me from my my business and entrepreneurship background. I know for some of you that have been on the journey with me, if you didn't already know me ahead of time. You know, we've talked a lot about trauma and adversity and, and overcoming a lot and having frank conversations about mental health. And in this, this year coming up, because there's a lot really going on in our world as it relates to mental health and our workplace. It is something that has always been a passion for me. And so these episodes in season four have started to integrate some of the challenges that we experienced that we think of only as personal, you know, air quotes around that word personal issues, and how they actually leak into work, how work actually influences and affects them. So that we can have pretty much a much more holistic and balanced, you know, viewpoint of our life and what we're doing and how we're handling the challenges that we have, and not just keeping them in silos because we don't live in working in silos. So Rhonda is actually the founder and CEO of the women's financial wellness center, and she actually has her own podcast, which is called the divorce conversations for women. And she's an accredited financial expert who has gone through and the experience and understand that divorce is hard, it's painful, but it actually is financially devastating for many women. And so she had started her own business and practice in 2014, to help women through the financial aspects and to gain some financial wellness, through their divorce and after that, and and so I'm really excited to have you on to talk with me about this topic, because I have lived through three divorces. not proud of that, but it is just a part of my history. And I feel like it's like the Goldilocks thing, you know, the porridge was too hot, too cold, and just right. And my last one was the too hot, like hot mess bad. And so I feel this topic. Personally, I've lived this topic personally. And I know that many women go through some challenges with it. And so I'm really excited to have you here to talk with me about this.Rhonda Noordyk:
Yes, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for having me. You know, I think as we just kick off our time together, I just want to say, you know what, yes, our focus and area of expertise is educating and empowering women around divorce. But you know, if you're a guy, right, listening to this, right, we have some stuff for you, too. And women's financial wellness center does not hate men. We just want to bring some balance to the conversation. And most of the women that we talked to are feeling disempowered. So it's just I'm so glad that we're having this conversation today.Amee Quiriconi:
Right, thank you. Yeah. And so you know, I to prepare for this. I mean, I get excited, like, it's one thing to have a lived experience of going through divorce. And you know, and understanding, depending on the nature of the relationship, the quality of the relationship, and really the the behavior and personality of the partner that you're leaving or trying to leave or they're leaving you, that happens in divorce too. Like we're the like surprised one, it does dictate the how the process is going to go. And whether or not you come out of it unscathed, emotionally drained, bankrupt, you know, or whatever. And so I wanted to, to kind of look into and support, you know, our conversation today. And one of the studies that I actually managed to find, and for everybody that's listening, if you're interested, the link to the study will be in the podcast notes, if you want to nerd out on 40 pages of research, I got it for you. But this one was called the gender differences in the consequences of divorce. And it was a study of multiple outcomes. And so what this researcher actually did, which a lot of researchers will do, is instead of creating their own study, they will actually go and gather all the other studies, and they'll synthesize the information together and then see the, you know, see the trends in the studies that other people have done. And so for people that don't read research studies, that that's actually I think, is a fantastic element of a peer review, and seeing what other people have done because sometimes these independent studies, I'll just get lost, and it takes people to pull them all together and go, Oh, well, we look at 10 of these together. This is why we also see like the trend of the trends. Now this one here, I'm looking at the gender differences. You know, one of the things that he noted was, first of all, men actually appear to be more emotionally impacted negatively from divorce than women. And I think that's relevant to our conversation today. That's why I want to point that out. But on the other end of the spectrum, is that there is a big difference in disproportionate difference, though, for losses in household income and increase a risk of poverty and single parenting for women. So at one end of the divorce spectrum, you see that more men are emotionally impacted. And the result is on the other end. The women actually come out as the financial losers in the whole thing. And one of the things that this gentleman study of a, but again, a bunch of other research studies was that men's disproportionate impacts were transient. That meant that after there was a recovery period and emotional healing period, they were fine. Women's or chronic, starting off on the wrong foot coming out of divorce can be devastating and take a long time, if ever, you know, a recovery period, it actually happens. And so that's a bit about why we are talking about this, you know, in today, and the factors that, you know, the research shows that contribute to this possibly is, you know, when a woman is in a relationship, and they have to take on the parenting role, they actually have restricted access to income. So the the, the bills and everything were being paid by the, you know, the the earner in the house, which tends to be the man, they don't get enough, sufficient child maintenance or child support, when the divorce, you know, happens, they that loss of income doesn't get made up in spousal maintenance. And then there's also the deficits that come from just being gendered and having your specialization happened to be the all the household stuff. And so you're taking on all this additional burden and labor, there's no time to go out and do anything else, or be compensated for it. And so that can really lead you into a you know, again, a path of where it's very difficult to make ends meet, when you have the single parenting responsibilities also placed on you and you're not getting enough financial support. And, and I think that the reason I wanted to talk or bring into the context of the of the men and the men suffering from the emotional consequences, just imagine, for those of us who've been through divorce, that if what we're seeing study wise, is men having this, this negative consequences, basically, let's just call it what it is being hurt by divorce their partner, for whatever reason, leaving the sense of abandonment that may be coming up and you know, boiling up inside of them. You know, this isn't an advocate or let's just say this isn't saying that it's okay that it happens. But when we are hurt, we do hurtful things. And the tool that when men have a position of power over the finances and the situation, their tool for getting back or for you know, for of displaying this hurt, can come out in disproportionately injuring their partner through the financial mechanisms that they have available to them, I'm going to punish them for leaving me, I'm going to punish them. By taking the money, I'm going to cut them off from their resources, whatever it all is, right? I mean, we can throw all of that into this mix. And sometimes it's true. And sometimes it's not true. But I do think that we understand there are two humans trying to separate their lives from each other, and they're doing what they can, and this is the experience that I've had, is that the divorce process can be a way of punishing your other partner. You know, and unfortunately, because of what we've seen so far, in culture and society, there is a, you know, supreme or extreme gender imbalance in terms of these responsibilities in these households and these expectations. And so I think it is valid, that we have to look at women, you know, differently here, and maybe bring in the context of, you know, just a little bit of an understanding, you know, of, you know, the men aren't on the other side all the way, they're not abusive all the time. Sometimes they are but they're, they're humans that are hurt, right, and that the tool we're using against this divorce happens to be, you know, this proceeding, so take that for whatever you guys want, you know, but I did want to make sure that, you know, we at least had this depth of understanding, you know, as you and I talk Rhonda about this. Yeah, so thoughts on that study, anything jumped out to myRhonda Noordyk:
gosh, where do I even start, right? Like to? I love these kinds of things, right? Because there were so many things that you sent me that just really resonate with, you know, what I have seen as we've been working in this space. And I think there's a couple things, right. I mean, certainly there is the, you know, gender conversation where I feel like the divorce process for such a long time has been this imbalance of power. What's happening though, with that is women. So there's two things one is, you know, you've got the high income earner or the person who's the breadwinner for the family. And then you have you know, somebody who's maybe working part time or, you know, sometimes you have dual incomes, but not always. And so when you have this imbalance of income coming in, it really can impact their view of the divorce process, their view of you know, how things should shake out. And I think psychologically, women have been in this spot where I see them saying, well, I'll cut out X amount of things out of my budget, I will not negotiate to get, you know, an increase in salary. I will let him have whatever he wants. He says it's going to be amicable, you know, like, and so there's there's two things going on. There's the divorce process in and of itself, that I think is because of history right has been still has an imbalance of power. And we have definitely some work to do there. On the flip side, I'm seeing women give away their power, rather than fighting a little bit. And when I say fighting, I don't mean like, Hey, we're gonna show up and be a be at the table, like, I mean, asking questions and advocating and making sure that you've got the right team and not feeling like you have to be the martyr to throw yourself under, you know, and, and well, I have a client right now who actually is on SSDI, she's 40 years old. And hopefully, she won't be on it forever. But it's been a temporary thing where she does have some money coming in for disability, her husband's an attorney, um, and basically, you know, has convinced her that, you know, she doesn't really need a whole lot, right? And so she's been getting, she's been getting weekly treatments, IV treatments of things. They're just really helped her get through the week. $65 a week, right? She says to me, Randall, when we're looking at my budget, I'm really just concerned and, you know, I will, I'll just maybe I'll only go twice a month. For those treatments. I'm like, Oh, no, no, no, your husband just bought an Escalade at $900 a month, you are not going to cut back on those things that you need to make sure that you're showing up in the best way possible for your kids, for the work that you need to be doing right, like no. And so I have been frustrated, right? Because I think, again, there's so many different dynamics that are going on with this. I do see on the back end, a lot of the study showing that the quality of life, the standard of living for women after divorce drops 41%, after the divorce is over. So then the question becomes, how do we make sure that the divorce process in and of itself, that women are having a voice, that they're running the numbers so that they know, right? Where things should land after? Because wide, right, I just want to get this done, I get it. But at what expense. And I was on a see, you know, course with some other divorce professionals, and there was an attorney in New Jersey. And he said, Rhonda, you know, it's up to the client if they take a bad deal. And I said, here's the scoop, if we're working with an individual, right, and they have all of the information. And, you know, they understand the consequences of their decision fully. And then they make a decision. Are they really making a bad decision? Or are they making an informed decision for themselves? And if we can do that, right, if we can help women understand what some of these things mean? It certainly can be impactful. And to your point about, you know, them, the men being hurt. Yeah, they deal with emotions differently. So So what Rhonda, why do you work with women's financial wellness center, because when I first started my business, I was passionate about helping women. And secondly, the other part of it is that men are going to go to a retreat and sit around and talk about their finances, you know, their finances and their feelings and all that kind of stuff, right? what they're going to do is they're going to internalize, they're going to they're going to go inward, they're not going to talk about it. I mean, there was a, there was a guy that I had done a presentation with several years ago, he had gone through divorce, he was in the military, and nobody knew he was going through divorce. Three years later, he shows up at a function with another woman. And they're like, he's like, Oh, you guys didn't know like, because he's not talking about it. He shows up at work, he focuses on his thing, he tries to not really, you know, deal with the emotional part of it. And it's just, it's just an investment, whereas women, on the flip side, right, they're probably going to work and you probably know something's up there, maybe you're talking about it, they're looking for support they want you know, so it's just there's so many different dynamics, but I love that study and can't wait, I will probably nerd out on the 40 pages. Yeah, it'sAmee Quiriconi:
pretty fun. It's pretty fascinating. And like I said, you know, the context, I think, is is important for this conversation again, because it like I'd mentioned to you and I know, the listeners are out there, you know, everybody that's out here in the community, I know that it's like half and half, you know, and maybe some other percentages for you know, non binary. But the, the, when we can kind of bring in and understand, like we can see everybody's positions from an it doesn't make any of it valid or you know, nice, you know, to be manipulative and controlling. But unfortunately, the other you know, the other side of this coin is like you that brought up many times, which is that, you know, women by, by nature, not and I don't mean that as an we're born this way, I mean we are groomed into this, you know, our, our personality, our role in life, our role in relationship is, you know, really to be the caretaker of you know, again, that's what we're talking about this gender stereotype that says that women are the ones in charge of the relationships and maintaining The connection and therefore the ones that have to sacrifice themselves. That is the standard that we've set for how women behave in relationships. And actually, unfortunately, it shows up and how they behave at work sometimes, too. I mean, this context of like, you know, being able to create value or or feel value, like it do what I do, is it worth anything? Do I need to make a sacrifice? I see it all the time in business with women and salaries and charging for services. Yeah. And so that's the, you know, that's the big umbrella that comes into this is, am I actually worth more? How do I communicate assertively? Absolutely, I need more and not come off as mean, or, and I've been option one to, you know, to cold, where you know, and that was my first divorce, I actually was the breadwinner, I felt bad that I didn't want to be married to this guy anymore. And so I gave him all of my furniture. I mean, I pat, you know, I had to send him packing, I kept the house, but I, like just said, Take everything I can, I've got the means in the way to buy more stuff. And of course, people were like, do you really want to do that? And I did exactly what you said, I just want this over with. And and I felt guilt, you know, and so the woman who feels guilty or bad about the relationship gives it away, you know? Well,Rhonda Noordyk:
and can we talk about that for a second, right? Because that's exactly the stuff that I'm seeing, right. So then you have where there the roles have been reversed within a household, and one of them is staying home. And, and one of them is, you know, working right. And if the woman is working, I have several, you know, women who are in really significant positions of power, career wise. And the husband either is doing something he you know, enjoy some more more of like a hobby or he's home, right. And in these divorces, the women do, they are like they give more away, then they would ever by the court be required to give away. And secondly, they're more giving way more than their male colleagues would ever give away without a fight. And that's the dynamic that I'm seeing, like, why is this happening? And you know what, I think there's so much though, to around the attorney aspect of it, because, you know, the attorneys are, like, one of my clients was relocating from Wisconsin to New York, she took another position. And her husband's attorney was advocating that he meaning the husband should get a relocation fee of $150,000 to New York.Amee Quiriconi:
Wow, I would love a relocation fee of $150,000.Rhonda Noordyk:
Well, and and first of all, right, like no money, it doesn't even necessarily matter what the dollar amount is, I, in order for my clients, like I would have to, we would have to fight so hard to get them to do anything above and beyond the basic statutory aspects of maintenance or support. Now, we've been able to do it. And I've been able to advocate for clients that that really did end up in a better spot, not at the expense of their spouse, were getting them to where they probably should have been, which was an equitable distribution of the marital property, and a good amount of maintenance and support, right for the duration. But all that stuff is subjective. All I mean, and people will say, well, Rhonda, you know, what about the marital property states? I mean, it's, it's 5050 5050. Right? So why 5050 is your best day? You know, and, and so it's no, but again, it's knowing what questions to ask. It's knowing who the right people are, you know, for the for the attorney component, I always say if people have three key areas, you know, as they're going through the process, they will fare better through the process, emotionally, financially, and legally. And that is, you know, working with a therapist or a mental health professional, working with a financial expert who specializes in working with divorces, and an attorney that really understands the nuances of the divorce. And I think that's the hardest part on the legal side, is finding the right attorney, because you're like, Oh, well, this attorneys, you know, they said all the right things, and, you know, they're the super lawyer for the 25th year in a row. And yet, you know, we work with attorneys, and I see behind the scenes, how do they handle stress? Are they respectful to their clients? Did they communicate, you know, in a timely fashion? Are they bullying them? Are they you know, all the things right? And that's the real value that I know we're able to provide for our clients. Is that inside behind the scenes situation that you just the normal consumer would not know. I mean, there's a there's an attorney that that unfortunately, there's going to be some some real challenges and and what I mean by that is, this is this is an attorney who it came forth from one of my clients that he was sexually harassing her. Yeah, and it will end and what's happening now is since that time, that name has come up multiple All times including a meeting I had this morning with somebody who was working on a project for me. And he used she used him as her attorney. This is now the sixth time that I've heard that he is sexually harassed these women. And we're working with I have somebody at the at the bar association on the on the committee, and I've engaged him to say, Listen, this is just not okay. And nobody had not, nobody has really been the whistleblower on, you know, this kind of stuff. Now, is it directly related to the cases? We could argue Yes, or no, probably. But it is. It is. Because you know, what he's using his influence in this situation? The women are feeling intimidated by him. He's like, you know, you made a bad decision. What are you doing? And they're like, Well, whatever, like, I don't know. And, you know, and so then their outcomes are awful. Because they're not feeling empowered to ask the right questions.Amee Quiriconi:
Mm hmm. Yeah, I mean, and that brings up how important the mental health support through divorce really is. And honestly, because at the end of the day, these decisions are all emotional decisions. I mean, really, they are and like, in for, you know, the work that you do, and having somebody like you on the team allows you the emotional, you know, cut off, so that, you know, things can be looked at, and at least you know, at you as an anchor, pull them back towards, you know, some reregulated state of making a decision that isn't based on you know, emotion because it does not matter. There's nothing unemotional. And in fact, good attorneys will constantly try to drive the conversations to the emotional level, because if they're smart about neuroscience, they know that if they can push this to an emotional level, then you're talking about not using executive functioning skills of your brain making, making conscious decisions, you're making emotional decisions. And I've dealt with that. sitting through a mediation with an attorney on the other side, who had her degree in neuroscience, and I knew her game before I came into it. And anytime she could keep pushing it to go down or to like trigger traumatize whatever it was, once it's done, you say you do you give up you, you fight back? You look, you look bad. I mean, I'll just put that like, you know, if you get triggered, and you look like you're overemotional in the process. And then it doesn't, it's not like you walk away, and it's all good. And that's why you and I were going to talk about like, it bleeds out into the other places of our lives, you know, it bleeds out into the work environment, you know,Rhonda Noordyk:
well, and I, you know, when you and I were talking offline, right, I said, You know, I think there's so much to this, and it's the the gravity of these situations is so big, like, you know, making sure that the attorneys fully understand not only the emotional component, but the trauma, like there are so many women that that these high conflict situations, honestly, the court systems are terrible at knowing how to deal with those, and the attorneys aren't far behind it. And it's not because they don't necessarily want to. It's a training gap. It's an understanding gap. It's a awareness gap, right? When you have a client who is perceived as you know, high maintenance, usually it's because there's trauma that's happened. She doesn't feel like she's being listened to. The guardian ad litem isn't listening, if they've been, I mean, there's just all these pieces. And, you know, it is challenging because for us, like, we have a coaching component as we're helping navigate through the process and manage expectations and teach women how to set boundaries and assertive communication and all the things. And, and yes, there's a financial piece to it, but we're not attorneys, right. So so we're working in a system that is we're running up the down escalator every single day. And, and it's it's exhausting, and rewarding, and all the things right, um, but I'll tell you what I mean, that I was, I was reflecting on a couple things. And you know, last week, he, you know, I've been doing this particular work for seven years. And last week, I literally probably had the first official meltdown, I think that I've had, I mean, I get emotional with my clients. I'll tear up when I feel like and i and i understand how they're feeling like this system is, you know, in just, and I have a real heart for justice, right. But it was hard, because I think that the hardest part of what I do is when I see people give up their power, and give up. And it's it's so that's of all the stuff that I do is the most challenging. And so I think if we can, you know, if we can empower people to ask good questions, and it kind of leads into where you were leading with, you know, yes, it bleeds into other areas. And I did a presentation for a rotary group. This was probably five years ago. And I was in a room of a lot of leaders within the community. Women and men alike, right. And there were a couple guys in there that were like I've been married for 25 years. And whatever this topic doesn't apply to me and, you know, whatever. And, and I kind of addressed it in the beginning, because I could sense that there was some, some sense of hesitation or dismissal of the importance of this topic. And I kicked off our my presentation by saying, I'm so glad that you as leaders are here. And I could say the same thing about the people that are listening to this episode, like, We're so glad that you're here listening to it, right. And if you're here, and you have a sense of influence in your company, in your community, in your family, right, you therefore have some sense of responsibility to be aware of these things, and an opportunity to be able to influence and impact people's lives. Right. And so the, the thing that you and I had chatted about was this study, marriage and family study, you know, from 10 plus years ago. And what I found, as I was reading that study, was, this is interesting, because the impact that divorce is having isn't just impacting families and friends, and social calendars, it's impacting corporate, it's impacting businesses. And yeah, I mean, I'd love to just spend a couple of moments and share with you.Amee Quiriconi:
Yeah, that's, and that's what I want to see. Because, you know, like you had said at the beginning here, not everybody talks about the divorce, right? Especially if they, if they happen to be men, it's something that could be a sore spot, or again, and I addressed men's mental health on the show a lot. Men also because, again, the gender stereotypes that hurt women, they also hurt men, because men are given, you know, call it the opposite or different stories, especially when it comes to emotional relationships and connections. And those hurt them too. So when they're isolated, and they can't get support when they need it, that hurts and and you know, women, on the other hand, maybe can reach out for support, but but not all the time. So you know, this is happening in companies everywhere more than people probably would think or understand and an impact. And so yes, please, let's start to let's dig into what you had found and what you'd read and shared.Rhonda Noordyk:
Yeah. So we can unpack this a little bit. So I want to I want to just kind of take everybody to I read this, this, this research report. And I was sitting at my desk, and I was looking at the case study around this, this research. And so I kind of went through the exercise to kind of evaluate what I'm going to be sharing. And I literally put my head down on the desk. And I was like, This is such a big issue. Like how do we address this? Right. And the study was talking about the impact that divorce has on workplace productivity. And I've had several conversations with people and human resources, leadership positions, right? Where they say, we know that something is going on, we don't know what it is. Or maybe we do, we don't know how to approach it. We're feeling like, you know, we don't want to overstep our bounds. But we really want to be able to let people know that we're supporting them, you know, and I so I think what ends up happening is people say nothing, because they don't know what to say. And I said, you know, you could say something as simple as you know, how are you doing today? It looks like you're maybe going through a challenging time. Is there anything that I could do to support you or help you? I mean, again, like, it sounds so basic, right? But, but we get those ones are like, I don't know what to say is I'm not gonna say anything. I don't want to offend anybody. I'm not sure, like, just genuinely show up with a question of compassion. Like, let's just start there, right? And if you ask them, How are you doing today? Or, you know, is there anything I can do to support you and they start crying, then now you've maybe opened the door? Right? This study was?Amee Quiriconi:
No, no, no, no, no, I was gonna say I was gonna say that that came up in another conversation that I had that you know, that you bring up that sometimes people just don't know how to broach something that seems so deeply personal and emotional at work, you know, we know how to ask our friends, you know, if everything's going on, but we definitely have, you know, the, you know, there's a boundary at work, this professionalism, that people really, and that's that wall, you know, to be able to break through there that it doesn't have to be like, you don't have to open up a can of worms or whatever you think is gonna happen. But just a question of, what are you doing? Okay, like, I'm here. You want to talk about it? Yeah. You don't just let I just want to validate you, I see you. And I see that there's something happening for you. And that can be supportive to people to have that recognition.Rhonda Noordyk:
I have goosebumps with that. Because that's that's really the heart of where we're coming, you know, with this conversation, right, is we don't have to have all the answers. We just need to show some Yeah, genuinely validation, kindness, compassion, care for other people, right. Because divorce, as we know, right up there with death, right? Death, divorce, loss of a job, and illness top stressors. So it is impacting people's lives and they're not just leaving it at the door, you know? So this study basically I was talking about the impact that divorce has on workplace productivity. And, and the reason that I started looking for this was because I had a woman walk into my office one day, and she's like, Rhonda, this whole divorce thing is an open purse. Like, I just keep spending more money, I am so frustrated, I've been married for 25 years, I've been working for the same company for 25 years, I love my job, I feel like I'm struggling to show up and be present. And I've had to get a second job in addition to that, just to pay for the legal fees. And I could just see this, like internal struggle, right. So what what the study was showing, and I have seen this in my clients as well. So the numbers while they initially seemed high, I've been able to validate those, okay, so basically, if the impact of the person the individual is going through divorce is 50%, half of the time, that they should be focused on work, they're focusing on either in their head, worrying about a conversation that happened last night, worrying about their safety, getting a text message, getting an email, getting a phone call, having to reach out to their attorney, thinking worrying about the finances, not getting sleep, etc, etc. Right? So all those things swirling around, and then we're supposed to just like, okay, and I'm focused at work like, No, that doesn't happen. So 50%, right. So this case study was showing, okay, if we take a, an income range for a specific position, let's say, and we say, okay, half of that, half of that is being impacted on productivity. And then we look at the next layer in this kind of like Target, which is the out the next layer would be the people in their circle. So their colleagues, the people that they're interacting with on a more regular basis, and the impact of those individuals was about three to 5% on their productivity, so not definitely not anywhere near the person that's going. And to your point, it would be so easy for them to have the blinders on. And not say anything, right, because it's not really impacting them at the degree that is impacting the individual going through it. So then we have the next layer, which is the 1% impact for the supervisors, the trainers, the leaders within the organization. And again, it's, you know, it's it's maybe just a little bit of a problem, right for their productivity, but not nearly the impact. So then what we have as the people that are the key decision makers, are the ones that aren't really being as impacted by it, that are making the decisions on do we address this or not? Do we provide resources, you know, for our employees or not around this. And I just think that's kind of fascinating. And then you've got the people that they are, you know, the three to 5% that are frustrated, because the individual isn't maybe as present the workloads falling on them, they're around the watercooler or on the chat or whatever, you know, whatever that looks like complaining, because they're frustrated, you know. And so when I went through that, right, we just kind of had this ripple effect of the dollars and cents bottom line for the company. It was, it was absolutely unbelievable to me. So we're talking probably about a 70 total of after with the compounding, right, close to 75% impact. So if you're spending, you know, $100,000 on an employee, you're only getting about 25%. Productivity out of that specific situation. Yeah, and I don't want it to just be about the money part. But it is impacting the company. So what do we do about that?Amee Quiriconi:
Right? Well, in it, you know, and money speaks to business leaders, right? Because there's a bottom line and get your, your, your ROI on that. But, you know, the other thing to think about, it's like, it doesn't have to just be like an office person $100,000 your person, I mean, think about, you know, absenteeism as a part of what that looks like, it doesn't mean that they don't just show up and they're not focused on their work or hitting their deadlines or anything like that. They're not coming to work at all, their health is declining. You know, and I and I think about and again, I go back to my personal experience going through a divorce with an abuser, there is no good day. No, no, you know, every victory has a backlight to it. I mean, it is it is hard. And I part of my support system. In fact, my you know, aside from one friend, the only other support system I had, because my community was I cut off my community because just to be able to get away from the abuser and the network. I mean, you lose all your friends, you know, if you had shared friends, you know, you just have to like go through a complete cut off. And the only support network I had was the people at work and I am so grateful for the people that I had around me, but we spent some time talking about my problem, you know, and and it was a company culture that that was okay. But there was definitely, you know, there was a decline, you know, the hours spent You know that I was crying or having to leave or take a call with an attorney or you know, go to whatever kind of meeting or whatever I mean, all that stuff like I'm not I'm definitely not at my best. And, and then the stress on top of that of the financial consequences like I feel that person of like, you know it cost. And I got a discount because my attorneys I had two lawyers, a business lawyer and a divorce attorney, because I was unraveling businesses real estate. And the only way I could get the divorce was I had to use the Washington State law that treated our relationship as a meretricious relationship, because we never actually got married. So and that was the way of trying to get out of having to pay me any compensation, right, or my shares. So I had to bring in a divorce lawyer, and all done it was 10s of 10s of 1000s of dollars that I did not have while I was trying to support myself and two kids, and you know, so there's, you know, it, it's a huge, like, I know, what it was like to be that person and to show up, and I know what it was like to have the support of a company that could be there and help it. And, and if I had not had it, I am not entirely sure. what life would have been like without that. I mean, to be, you know, like it just right. Yeah, I mean, and that's, you know, and for leaders, you know, it is a you know, if they're not greatly impacted by it. And again, the the idea that, you know, divorce is a personal issue, and we should stay out of it, and it's not our deal. And you know, and I don't understand, and especially, I think that when we take the we go back to the beginning, the top of this talk about how men have been socialized to view challenges in one way, and women in another way, you know, if you're dealing with a leadership that may be very male, heavy, they may not understand, they might just want you to suck it up and deal with it on your own. You know, what I mean? And not make it a problem at work, figure it out? You know, and that's, you know, it's not, it's not productive, nor is it, you know, humanly possible, you know, to do that,Rhonda Noordyk:
no, and I think men are better at doing that, right, put it in the box, but at the shell, you know, on the shelf, it's not to say that it isn't there. But again, women right are going to show up and we can't, we can't separate those as as easily maybe, as you know, our male counterparts can. And so either we deal with it, and provide support, like your company did for you, or women are just going to be silently suffering, and it is still going to impact them. Like it's either we it's not whether or not we address it, it's still in it's still there.Amee Quiriconi:
I know. That's what I always say is like you can believe traumas not at work, but it's still there. Yeah, and I'll change you know, and I'll even say to this about, you know, men do a better job, I actually, I think they do a different job. Because when I go back to suicide rates are the highest with middle aged men, we already know the studies support the fact that men are greatly emotionally impacted. It may not show up at work, but it bleeds out in another part of their life. Absolutely. Oh, you know, if they can keep it siloed and out of the work life, it doesn't mean they're handling. And as a business leader, I think you need to be aware of that as well. Like, it may not be on their productivity, but it's hurting them in another place will eventually, you know, hurt you or your company or the people or you know, and if you care about people, then, you know, they may not show up, but I still think it's there. So I just wanted to add that into it. Because, yeah, obviously, divorce hurts us all. So yeah,Rhonda Noordyk:
absolutely. Well, and I think the other thing that I was thinking of too, is, you know, the average divorce is 52 weeks, that's an entire year, you know, and that's from when you just start the process. So I mean, there's all the stuff leading up to it. And then there's the process itself. And then there's on the back end. But you know, we've worked with several companies where they've actually hired us to be able to help their employees. And what we did with them, was we were first of all flexible enough to say, listen, let's set aside time over lunch, or let's set aside time after normal business hours, because divorce isn't a nine to five thing. And if we can carve out a little bit of time, and you know that you've got somebody who's going to deal with your concerns and questions, let's compartmentalize that and deal with it at this time. And it was a it was really an effective strategy for our clients because they didn't then feel like they had to spend the time that they were supposed to be working thinking to try to solve the problem, which was really this What if scenario that wasn't really productive anyways, and so so that was the first you know, that was the first thing um, but the companies that we had worked with really saw the value in the fact that it was impacting, you know them and they said, Okay, if we can invest in our employees, if we can provide them with essentially divorce education, right and support, they're going to be in a better spot. And by the way, they're going to be able to not only be more productive, but they're also maybe not going to leave. So that's a whole nother issue because When I'm helping women navigate through on the budgeting side, we're taking a look at income and expenses. And we're saying, Okay, well, here's what you have coming in from your job. Here's what you may be having coming in from support, right? Here's the gap. So how do we fill the gap? Well, we either go back and we ask for more, most of the time child supports a statutory calculation, it is what it is. So the flexibility would be on the alimony or maintenance payments. Okay, so we can advocate for that we've been able to move the needle so that that's an area that we could do, depending on the state, but the real gap is in the income. So now we've got the income gaps for women coupled with, you know, them leaving these situations. So we've been able to actually coach women on, hey, what if you could actually askUnknown:
for a raise,Rhonda Noordyk:
which sounds counterproductive, I'm going through this really challenging time, I'm already maybe feeling like, I'm not totally, you know, productive as much as I could be. And yet, I'm going to be asking for a raise. But the reason they were able to do that was because we were coaching them on showing up. The the company saw that the women were more confident that they were able to handle their, you know, responsibilities. And they also knew that this person is valuable. And they happen valuable, and they're just going through something really challenging. But if we can keep them, we're not going to have to replace them. What's the cost of that? And so we have taught women how to negotiate those salaries, and it's worked every single time. And it's been awesome to see that. So I don't know, do we have time for me to just share this acronym really quickly?Amee Quiriconi:
Yeah, absolutely, please. Okay,Rhonda Noordyk:
so the acronym that we use to help women negotiate is called a knot. And it's a and o t. And basically, how it works is I'll tell everybody what the letters stand for, and then I'll explain it. So the a is acknowledge the N is naturally the O is obviously and the T is the ask, okay? So, so the acknowledgement is, you know, having those conversations with the decision makers to say, Listen, I just want to thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of this culture to be able to work here for you know, this many years, whatever I value, not only what I'm able to contribute, but what you guys are doing whatever, right, so just a genuine acknowledgement of gratitude. The naturally is naturally just acknowledging that people as much as they want to think about other people there, they do human beings think about themselves, right? So naturally, I fill in the blank, okay, so naturally, I want to be able to continue to work here to continue to be able to, you know, show up and do a good job to continue to support my family or whatever, right. So we just acknowledge the naturally I and obviously, right is, obviously you meaning the company. So obviously, you need to, you know, stay within your budget range, a healthy range for, you know, salaries, obviously, you know, you need to make sure that you're, you know, have the long term projections in play. So whatever it is, right, and then the asked could be, it doesn't necessarily mean that the that it's like, we asked right away for the race, sometimes that's Hey, the Ask could be, can we have a conversation around, you know, my career path here? Can we have a conversation around exploring if there are some opportunities for increased responsibility or income? Or could we evaluate the fact that I have been doing to people's jobs, because, you know, we eliminated that position, and there wasn't any compensation for taking on those additional responsibilities. So we can tee up a future conversation. If it makes sense, we could say, Hey, listen, can we talk about, you know, increasing the compensation, but most of the time, people are going to feel a little bit like Rhonda, that just feels a little too direct. Okay, then let's just tee up the conversation. And it's worked. It's worked every single time. And, um, I think that's a way for women. Again, it goes back to how do we not give up our power? We ask, we asked, right,Amee Quiriconi:
which is not I mean, it is honestly, it is. And I know there are men out there that feel that too. But I mean, again, study after study, you know, it shows that women just have lower levels of entitlement, you know, and that's, that is a taught learned behavior that we just keep propagating and promoting over and over again, and this is how we break those as we change the way we message and communicate and model for our children are, you know, our boys and girls and everyone, and then we start to as adults, practice undoing it by taking on, you know, something that feels uncomfortable and, and working through the discomfort and it's hard to do that alone. That's why you and I are talking about it. That's why I do the show that I do. That's why I work with businesses and individuals. It is not easy to do on your own. And that's why support systems are vital. You know, and there's and i and i love that. I mean, I That's a great way to be able to provide a burly easy, how easy it is to be assertive. And to acknowledge both positions yourself and the other person, it's a validating way of approaching it. And I was gonna ask you what the T stands for. But now you said it's t up, right? Like it either. Next conversation, but you'd at least get the you know, you get it going there. And I think that's amazing. Um, well, you know, I, I appreciate, you know that you have this. And so let's talk about if anybody's been listening to this. And they're like, Oh, dear God, I've got to go work with Rhonda and hear it. Like, let's talk about the experience. And how does somebody come to you? And what does it look like for you like, because I can see, like, we just talked about how women can be, you know, in a weak position financially, the last thing they can think about is paying another person to join the divorce team. You know, you know what I mean? I'm just feel I'm absolutely there. So what is it like? How do you come in? And how do you support these women that absolutely needed this additional help of getting their power and not being bankrupted? At the end of all of it?Rhonda Noordyk:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, there's a couple of things. So one of the things that we've been able to notice over the last seven years in doing this work is a couple things. One is that whatever are the initial investment is with women's financial wellness center, women are getting a 10 times return on their investment on the back end, at least, I mean, usually it's multiples of that, but at bare minimum, a 10 times return on their investment. The second thing is we're able to reduce the amount of attorney fees by up to 50%. And the reason for that is because first of all, we're selecting the right tourney's right out of the gate, ones that understand the value of working together as a team, ones that are open to streamlining their processes, the ones that are you know, all the things right. And so their overall fees for divorce are up to 50% less, it's huge. Because we make sure stuff gets done, like that sounds so crazy, but like, it's stuff that should be happening and women knowing what's going on, rather than calling their attorney and spending all this time on the phone, trying to figure out what's going on, when we've already been doing that, you know, so my approach is always very proactive to say, what's next, let's get through this point, then this, then we're going to do this, then we're going to do this, then we're going to do this. And the reason that we're able to get them a better outcome on the back end is because we also have a team of people that are working with us mortgage brokers, so experts on real estate, experts on mortgages, experts on taxes, experts on you know, mental health, we have all the people. And so then it's our job to actually not only help with the financial aspects, but pull in the right people at the right time. So that they that our clients understand that piece. So we're either working with women individually, to be able to help advocate for them. Sometimes we're behind the scenes that people don't even know we're working with them. Sometimes we're in the meetings as an advocate and a financial expert client facing. We can also do expert witness testimonies and stuff like that. So the level in which we can participate is huge. Those are usually for litigated cases where they have attorneys. And then we also are doing mediations where that can look at two different ways. One is we're working again with the woman behind the scene, or the individual behind the scenes as their secret weapon. Or we're part of the team working with the husband and wife together as more of a financial neutral position. And the reason for that was because women were reaching out saying, I really think that genuinely speaking there, there isn't narcissism, there. I mean, there's hurt, right, but there is there's not these extra layers of high conflict. We really think we could work it out. Great, then let's start there. And so we can be a really important asset. So we're helping with budgeting, we're helping review property divisions, we're helping review calculations for support. We're helping advocate, we're helping negotiate, and we're helping make sure that everything is done in the best way and the right way, you know, possible. And it's not to say that the attorneys are not necessarily doing that, but they're the lens in which they're looking at this is from the legal lens only. We're looking at it from the financial perspective, short term, what's happening now? How do we get through the divorce process? And then where are we going? And I think that's the part that's often missing isAmee Quiriconi:
the impact. That's what I was gonna say is, you know, get you know, a lawyer is to get you through the here and now and, and what you're talking about, and that's and that's how we end up getting trapped, you know, into this chronic situation is that we have foreshortened our future view of what's going to happen in one year from now and 12 months from now you know, all the things that actually are to sustain ourselves and and because we're feeling the pain of the here and now and we're feeling the high the emotions here and now of course we're making you know, thoughts and decisions. You don't do long range planning when you're under stress. That is a that's a that's a brain thing right there. You were not you were thinking about I need to get out right now right now right now safety. Right. And so what with you coming in and seeing this and being able to be that long term view for Somebody i think is, you know, I think Well, I mean, obviously has an impact on the people that you've worked with right now. But again, too many women end up in poverty. You know, the year after my separation, as I was going through divorce, my tax returns will tell you $30,000 in income, that's what I made, because I left a situation in which my I was, you know, a part of a business. And I got cut off from all of that. And I was a single mom with two kids on $30,000 a year, folks, that does not work, thank God, that kid's dad actually paid his portion of their child support that we had. But it's been a long haul to come back from from that. And there are many women that that don't, you know, and that's devastating. I mean, it's truly devastating. Yeah. So before we go, then I'm working with businesses and some advice for leaders out there. So we've got some of them listening into this. They're they're probably going oh, my God, I've got these women now coming in asking me for raises, you know, but really, what do we want a company culture to bring in and understand and adopt when it comes to seeing like divorces prevalent? Like it's in there, it's in, you know, all of your employees in some form or another? So what would you What would you tell business leaders to what they could do to help support this so that it actually has a better outcome for them as an organization, as well as for their employees?Rhonda Noordyk:
Yeah, I think there's really a couple things, awareness, awareness of the people around you and what they're going through the compassion, right to just ask a just simple, compassionate type question. And then lastly, connect them right, connect them with resources and people that could help them and women's financial wellness center certainly can be a great one stop shop to say, Hey, listen, reach out to this organization, right and see if they can help you because from that point, we're going to make sure we've got all the other people to be on their team and it is going to be helpful for them. So it's not that you have to have all the answers. It's just you got to point the people in the right direction and show the compassion that you care about them as a human being.Amee Quiriconi:
Yep, absolutely. That's awesome. Well, Rhonda, you know, my life I always love this. I always I'm always grateful for you know, how making changes in my own personal life have just introduced me to so many amazing, you know, people around and you know, you're one of them, and I'm so excited that we got to know each other and that we were able to have this conversation. So thank you so much for everything today. Absolutely. Thanks so much.