August 15, 2012

Labor (Force) of Love: Advising Working Moms

Working mothers feel stress from economy, family responsibilities

Working moms are feeling the pressure from their twin roles of breadwinner and caregiver. These concerns led author Erin Flynn Jay to channel those experiences into a book to help women who were raising a family and working at the same time.

Erin Flynn Jay“Working moms are pressed for time,” Flynn Jay, author of the forthcoming book “Mastering the Mommy Track,” told AdvisorOne on Wednesday. “Often they’re the primary breadwinner. This is an extremely stressful time for them.”

Flynn Jay is founder of Flynn Media and has worked in public relations and as a writer for 10 years. Her book is due out Oct. 16.

A report from Prudential released in July found that 22% of married women and 53% of all female respondents are the primary breadwinners in their household. That report also found that despite many women being the primary earner, just 20% said they felt well-prepared to make financial decisions.

When it comes to financial planning and saving for retirement, “they aren’t even thinking about it,” Flynn Jay said. “A lot of women are working with reduced salaries,” she added, making saving even more difficult.

She recounted a conversation with an advisor at a networking event who described his clients’ inertia in financial planning. “Moms aren’t making drastic changes,” she said. “They’re uncertain about making major moves.”

Debt is another major issue that women have to contend with. “Advisors need to think about how to get them out of debt,” Flynn Jay said.

According to the 2010 Census, more than 20% of married couples and 7.2% of single women had children living in their household. Advisors with female clients who have children at home should focus on developing their role with those clients into that of a trusted guide.

“Advisors should know [working moms are] fearful” and tailor their sales presentations to address those concerns, Flynn Jay said. Advisors need to be understanding of their female clients’ situation and work to build their relationship. “It may not be an instant sale. Advisors need to be a confidant or a counselor.”

Advisors should also consider that this generation is different, Flynn Jay said. “As their spouses have suffered unemployment for extended periods of time, some moms have had to go back to the work force full time. More moms are providing for their families and have to come home and do chores. In some households, women are still held accountable for the way houses are run.”

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