Let’s talk man to man.
The old approach of connecting with client couples might be outdated. No, it is outdated.
There’s nothing wrong with meeting the husband at the golf course, but if you want to talk business, you better make room for at least one more at tee time — the wife.
According to the latest Allianz ”Women, Money, and Power Study,” 51 percent of women report being the chief financial officer of the household. “Women are taking a larger role in managing household finances and are gaining more responsibility for the financial success of their family,” says Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe.
The study reveals that women, in many cases, really can do it all. More married women (37 percent) report being the primary breadwinner of the family (compared to 31 percent in a 2013 iteration of the study). In addition, 53 percent of women report they either have a “great deal of responsibility” or they “do it all” when managing the household’s long-term savings and investments.
Savvier than the average spouse
The Allianz study “found the majority (58 percent) of women feel they are more financially savvy than their spouse or partner, and nearly seven out of 10 respondents (67 percent) report that becoming more knowledgeable and involved in managing finances made a difference in their quality of life.”
Related: On women, power and money
However, some uncertainty remains about financial decisions. “While women may be satisfied with their current financial situation, having more financial knowledge can help build a better future and instill confidence,” says Libbe. “By utilizing available resources or working with a financial professional, women can gain the insight they need to achieve financial security.”
Finding the right support
Remember the golf course analogy? It’s real. According to the study, women often feel left out when money talks start with a financial professional — even when the woman is the financial decision-maker.
“More than half (51 percent) claim the professional treats their spouse/partner as the decision-maker, and this happens regardless of whether the financial professional is male or female. Choosing a financial professional who understands the needs of the modern family and can help sift through investment choices is a key factor for women.”
Research indicates that too many advisors leave women out of family financial planning, even when the woman is the head of household. (Photo: iStock)
Leaning in or out?
While much progress has been made on the home-front, the real battle, for many women, is at the workplace.
Despite having such a large impact on household finances, the number of women who say they “have more earning power than they’ve ever had” has decreased to 50 percent (compared to 57 percent in 2013). Factoring into this perceived decline in earning power, less than half (44 percent) claim they have ’leaned in’ at work by asking for a raise or promotion they thought they deserved.
Google executive Sheryl Sandberg kickstarted this conversation with her 2013 book, ”Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” The book and its call to action for women to take charge of their lives and their careers — a call that shouts, yes, we can have it all — has created a groundswell of support.
Lean In is now a nonprofit organization and online community dedicated to helping women achieve their goals. The 2016 Women in the Workplace study is a partnership between LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company that examines the role of women at work.
However, the study found a disturbing trend: “Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager — so far fewer end up on the path to leadership — and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see.”
The higher you look in most companies, the fewer women leaders you see. (Photo: iStock)