Husbands in the Generation X and Y cohorts are starting to see the light about the benefits of not keeping their wives in the dark about finances.
Older men, alas, didn’t seem to get it, and their wives seemingly couldn’t care less.
Indeed, hiring a female advisor is the route many younger couples are now taking, says Amber Miller, senior financial planner at The Planning Center in Minneapolis, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.
“Often the husband will say, ‘I want my wife to be involved in this conversation so she can feel comfortable [about finances]. We sought you out because we wanted to talk to a woman.’
“So this is a shift, and those of us who are marketing that way stand out,” Miller says.
The advisor, 40, acquired her certified financial planner designation after a successful but not altogether fulfilling concurrent career as a theater-set designer and graphic designer.
When she lost her substantial job at a large company in a massive layoff, she embarked on a self-education journey to learn about finance, including stock options, as it applied to her personally.
Intrigued by the world of investing, she decided, “Maybe I should look into this as a career.”
In 2015, she joined The Planning Center, an RIA, where she specializes in serving pediatric health care professionals and successful women in high tech.
In the interview, Miller explains that a great many highly paid female tech executives earning big bonuses and stock options have little understanding of how the options work. That’s why she has gained expertise in the area.
Another specialization is sustainable, responsible and impact investing; for that, she earned the chartered SRI counselor designation.
A big impediment to growth for FAs nowadays, she says, is that charging clients based on assets under management — the most prevalent fee structure — prevents most young professionals from hiring an advisor.
Such prospects have the income “but maybe don’t have their assets built up yet,” she notes.
In contrast, her firm charges clients an annual retainer based on net worth and income — a better way to attract younger clients and at the same time, serve those with high asset levels.
ThinkAdvisor interviewed Miller on Aug. 9, only five days after she delivered her and husband Benji’s first child, Zahra.
“We’re so excited. We just sit here and watch her!” Miller exults.
Following are excerpts from our interview:
THINKADVISOR: As a female financial advisor, have you had to overcome any obstacles because you’re a woman?
AMBER MILLER: It’s been the opposite. It helps me stand out. There are more and more clients and prospects — both female and male — saying, “We sought you out because we wanted to talk to a woman [FA].”
With couples, often the husband will say, “I want my wife to be involved in this conversation so she can feel comfortable [discussing our finances].”
So that’s a shift. This is a new generation — 25- to 50-year-olds — who want financial planning. And for those of us [women] who are marketing that way and are interested in working that way, we stand out.
How do you make sure to address both spouses in a client meeting?
At my firm, it’s very important that both parties are involved in the conversation from the beginning.
We make sure that in meetings, we say, “Thank you for your answer, Partner A [name]. Partner B [name], what do you think about the same topic?” And be certain to have eye contact with Partner B.
You had a whole other career before financial planning. Please tell me about it.