At 58, without ever having a career or being involved in the finances for her family of 7, my mother was given the news that her husband, my father, was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. He was just 60 years old.
Our family was hardly unique.
With the aging population and women living longer than men, it is imperative for women to become educated about finances. I’m not saying we need an academic understanding of the stock market, mutual funds or various annuities. But we women must have a familiarity with the way things like expenses, income, health care costs and personal care options can impact our lives during (and after) retirement.
I am not an advisor because I love numbers or am quick at math. I am a woman advisor because I care about people. I care about how they think, behave and feel; about what’s important to them and their family; and about forging relationships with my clients. My crystal ball is about as clear as everyone else’s. But I do know for certain, through my own life and through 18 years of experience helping others plan for uncertainties, that ‘bad things happen to good people’. As a general rule, many people are not well-prepared for impacting financial events. I have seen families devastated because of the lack of planning, or because they worked with an advisor who did not cover all of the appropriate matters by, for example, only selling investments.
As women, we are inbred to be care givers. We are daughters, sisters, mothers and wives. Being a working mom of three wonderful children, I know what is important to families. I have been seated across the table from other mothers who opened up their hearts and shed worried tears about their parents, children, grandchildren, friends or spouses. These clients weren’t worried about which stock to buy. They are worried about having certainty, a plan, and being there for those who may need them in the future.
I feel that we, as women advisors, have a gift to share with our clients; the gift of understanding and caring.