Female clients are nothing new – this is 2017, after all – but many women have begun paying attention to their savings and retirement plans and leveraging the expertise of an advisor to do so.
Here, then, are five facts about female clients that, while seemingly common sense, can help advisors better service more female clients.
Fact #1: Women have different needs – and their priorities may not lie where you think.
Simply put, says Rosemary Caligiuri, managing director of United Capital’s Langhorne, PA office, not all women are alike. They process information through a lens that represents differing values, circumstances and viewpoints. “But we as advisors need to not stereotype all women together,” she says. “Each has a voice and a life they bring to the table.”
Fact #2: Women want to be empowered to manage their own finances.
For years, the myth persisted that women can’t or don’t want to make financial decisions and have lower confidence in retirement planning.
“Women do like to verify information and collateral,” notes Caligiuri. “Their process is to confirm – get comfortable with information and ask questions. As advisors, we should adopt a role of advocacy and empowerment.”
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. She adds, “It is our role to empower our clients so they can make better decisions for themselves.” A woman might need an additional appointment to move through the planning process. This should be seen as having a deliberate approach – not low confidence.
Fact #3: Women can be rational, too.
Carol Fabbri, managing partner for Fair Advisors, says there are a ton of generalizations that advisors sometimes make about their male and female clients.
“Men are supposed to be more rational and women are thought to be more emotional,” she says. But, she notes, everyone is an individual – and everyone’s reality with money is based on their own experiences, what they’ve been taught and what they’ve seen.
Fact #4: Women can be great investors.
“The reality is women have certain predilections that can make them very good investors,” says Eleanor Blayney, special advisor on gender diversity for the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning. “They’re not chasing basis points of return.”
They’re more apt to stick to a plan and show patience when holding. One of the biggest threats to performance is expense, and when a client is buying and selling frequently, there’s more churning and more expense.
“Women tend to have a more long-term orientation that can bring them better results,” she says.
Fact #5: Women understand financial information and are interested in learning more.
According to Loreen Gilbert, founder and president of WealthWise Financial Services, women are very interested in planning for retirement. Studies show they may be even more concerned about it than their male counterparts. She also notes that her female clients really do want to be educated about their financial planning options and are more than willing to listen to an advisor who can offer smart and understandable advice on their personal situation.