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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Advising Women Over 50

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You’ve probably heard that the “women’s market” is still untapped by financial advisors. While that statement is true, not every woman is a good prospect. That may sound harsh, but hear me out.

Not every man is a good prospect either, right? With any marketing effort, it’s all about targeting. In this case, you’ll want to target women who have financial wherewithal, are receptive to financial advisors and will respond positively to the services you offer. The segment that checks all of those boxes is women over 50.

The 2014 U.S. Census reported that 108,727,506 Americans were 50 years old or older. Of that group, 53.5%, or 58 million, were women. There’s no question that women are coming into their own financially.

Today’s estimates indicate that by 2028, women will control 75% of the world’s discretionary spending, and by 2030, they will own 66% of America’s wealth.

The increase in wealth controlled by women is driven, in great part, by two trends:

Gray Divorce: The Opportunity to Become Financially Empowered

About 25% of divorces now involve couples over 50, a rate that has doubled since the 1990s.

When couples divorce at older ages, division of property is often more complicated because, by that age, many couples have accumulated significant financial assets, real estate holdings and business interests. Having a trusted financial advisor to help them navigate the challenges of making financial decisions becomes more important than ever.

After a divorce, there is always the possibility of remarriage or re-partnering. In a 2013 study, Pew Research told us that although only 29% of previously married Americans between 18 and 24 had remarried, 67% of those between 55 and 64 had remarried. Of the number of Americans who remarry, men are more likely to remarry (64% of those previously divorced) versus 52% of women.

The financial implications of divorcing and remarrying or re-partnering after the age of 50 are numerous. Deciding to blend finances after 50 often negatively affects heirs and future generations.

There are a lot of opinions your client will be hearing when she decides to remarry, including that of her new partner, so a successful advisor will ensure she makes financial decisions that reflect her true values.

Widowhood: A New Financial Beginning

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three out of four married women are widowed by age 75. Given those statistics, it’s likely that, at some point, women over 50 will be responsible for their own finances.

These numbers do not bode well for a woman who has left the money management responsibilities to her husband, particularly when significant wealth passes to her after his death. She will need your help to become a knowledgeable and confident investor.

Women over 50 are highly receptive to working with financial advisors. According to a Hearts and Wallets white paper, 70% of women 55 and older are likely to work with a financial advisor.

Additionally, Delia Passi, an expert on marketing to women, reports that a female client is likely to refer friends and colleagues to a financial advisor 26 times in her lifetime versus a man who will refer 11 times.

After a lifetime of focusing on the needs of others, many women over 50 are ready for their #NowMe moment. They have money, welcome your expertise, are interested in becoming financially literate and will generously refer you to many others. Now that’s a group worth targeting.

Jan Blakely HolmanJan Blakeley Holman is director of advisor education at Thornburg Investment Management. Jan has spent 44 years in the financial services industry. Over the course of her career, she’s served as a financial advisor, an advisor to financial advisors, and a financial services corporate executive. Jan has a BA in political science from the University of Denver.


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