There are many reasons why financial advisors should want to attract more female clients, including the facts that women live longer and are expected to inherit more wealth than men; women control more than half of the nation’s personal wealth; and they usually share in or lead the financial decisions in households. But communicating with female clients can represent a challenge to financial advisory firms, especially firms that haven’t focused on female clients.
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“Women are different,” said Jean Chatzky in her keynote speech at this week’s Financial Planning Association conference. They’re consensus builders and they don’t want to be rushed making decisions; they care more about financial peace of mind than accumulating wealth; and they prefer to learn about how best to handle their money and finances from a person rather than a technology platform, said Chatzky, author and NBC “Today” show financial editor.
“Acknowledge these differences,” Chatzky instructed her audience of financial planners. “Take the lead.”
Hiring more female financial advisors may help advisory firms attract and retain female clients, but it’s not a slam dunk.
“More times than not, female clients are more comfortable working with a woman,” said Susan Bruno, managing director of Capital Wealth Advisors, who led a panel at the conference on “Women at the Forefront of Financial Planning.“
“They don’t feel dumb asking questions” of another woman, but she advised against assuming that all female clients want to work with a woman, said Bruno. Older women especially may prefer working with a male advisor because they’re used to that, said Bruno. “The cue has to come from the client.”