I know it’s not always popular to say financial planning for women looks different than financial planning for men…but it’s 100% true. As a woman who’s worked in the financial industry for years, let me tell you, women and men take a different approach to money.
Money has no gender, of course, but the way we deal with money varies. Ladies, if you’ve ever felt your financial advisor talks down to you, throws credentials at you, or fails to address your needs, you know exactly what I’m saying! And it’s not your imagination, either. Financial planning for women requires an exceptional approach.
If you’re seeking investment advice, here’s why you should choose a financial planner who understands and appreciates YOUR needs!
Financial Planning for Women Requires a Unique Approach
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with a wide variety of clients, but when I stepped back to assess, I came to a funny realization. There were three types of clients drawn to work with me over and over: 1. Engineers (because I’m able to answer their questions down to the nitty-gritty), 2. LGBTQ couples (because I’m empathetic and understanding of their needs), and 3. Women.
Let me just tell you, as a woman in the financial industry, I loved working with other women! I found they were receptive to my advice, smart, savvy, and forward-thinking. Always open and candid. Best of all, women are intuitive. When women trust their gut, it never steers them wrong.
Male clients, generally, would ask big questions. They wanted to know my qualifications. They wanted to know how to grow their money fast. They often came in swinging with this “how much more wealth will I gain?!” King Kong mentality.
Women, on the other hand, are often more thoughtful and strategic when it comes to investing, whether it’s for retirement or another purpose. They’re concerned about helping themselves, but they also want to know how many people they will benefit by investing. They want to know how they will care for their loved ones with their money. They understand how to foster growth because they’re natural nurturers — they can tuck away a nest egg and care for it until it’s ready to hatch.
That said, money is money. As I said before, money doesn’t have gender or emotions. Women and men aren’t dealing with a different beast or economy, but their approach to tackling it is often different. That’s why each person must find a financial advisor they trust and feel comfortable working with.
Now, I’ve found that at some point, everyone is nervous and uncertain when it comes to money. Money is important; our financial security is vital to our well-being. Women are simply more willing to admit their questions, uncertainty, and doubts. But at the same time, women aren’t always sure how to ask for the right help they need or how to articulate their concerns clearly. We don’t want to come off as vulnerable or stupid.
It’s important to remember that money concerns are universal. So ladies, if you feel like you’re not with an advisor who “gets” you (or you’re with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable), it’s time to move on!
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Women Need A Financial Advisor Who Listens Carefully
I remember working with a client who was going through a divorce. Her partner was a high-profile celebrity, and financially, she was left entirely in the dark throughout their marriage. When she came to me, she was embarrassed. She didn’t know where to start, and she felt she’d made mistakes and lost control over her money. She knew the name of their bank, but not who’s name their accounts were in or any details.
We started slow. We broke it down into bite-sized pieces and got her finances back on track. She was very savvy once we funneled the mass amount of information down. She was able to rebuild and become confident in her financial goals because she had a financial advisor who understood her and was listening to her concerns.
So many male financial advisors tend to miss the mark on financial planning for women, and that’s because they’re men. They try to get into a woman’s head and to over-explain. The truth is, women want a financial advisor who thinks as they do.
To understand where women are coming from, financial advisors need to do their psychological due diligence (and as women, we should demand it). Financial advising is a close relationship built on trust. A woman needs a financial planner who will listen to her and really hear what she’s saying. So many people are typically waiting to respond or reply, they don’t even register (or take the time to fully understand) what the other party is communicating. Listening is an art form. Those who listen to a woman, understand and read between the lines, will build rapport and trust.
I’ve seen big companies spend thousands of dollars attempting to figure out how to target women (and still fall short). Women are tired of being talked down to. We want to be understood. We want to work with a professional who realizes our feelings are valid!
The truth is, women are very complex. We experience a vast range of emotions regularly, and this extends to the way we view and handle finances. Men mostly operate with two or three emotions: happy, status quo, and asleep. Women need a financial professional who takes the time to foster our relationship with us and understand what we need when it comes to money; it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Some issues specifically affect women. The gender pay gap, a longer lifespan, and concern for childcare, all contribute to a woman’s financial worries and fears. Women want a financial advisor who will address their situation and help them deal with issues like end-of-life and estate planning. Women tend to be more future-focused, looking to the horizon and worrying about their estate (men, on the other hand, believe they’re impervious to death — at least in the earlier years).
Don’t Underestimate the Strength of a Woman
My motto is to “fly under the radar.” As a woman (and let’s face it, as a blonde), people often underestimate me. People have never given me credit, but I’ve learned to see it as a strength.
When you fly under the radar, people never see you coming. They don’t expect as much of you, but when you’re able to surpass their expectations, they’re surprised and equally impressed. In many ways, this is a universal strength of all women. We’re used to being underestimated.
Women have incredible intuition. Mine’s never steered me wrong. I find most of us have been told not to trust our gut for so long that we’ve started tuning out those feelings. Instead, we should listen to ourselves! We often know what’s best.
Because women are resourceful and because they fly under the radar with how much they really know, they tend to come off as reserved. Women don’t verbalize their concerns. A man in the same situation will sit there and explain how smart they are and how they know everything. But, of course, women still want to grow their money!
It’s not to say women should always work with a female financial planner, but it helps. I’ve seen many male financial planners talk down to women (not always, but more often then I’d like). When this occurs, it’s just wrong. Worse yet, this approach shuts down female clients.
If I don’t know the right answer in a situation, there’s a little voice in my head that says, “I don’t know what I need to do, but I’m going to figure it out.” I think this is true of most women. We go into an unknown situation, and we make it work. We aren’t always willing to pay for help if we suspect we could figure it out on our own. We’re natural DIY-ers because we’ve had to be.
Women are more than willing to work with a savvy professional in terms of their long-term financial goals, but we need to understand it’s worth the price. As women, we definitely have the capacity to talk about more than just shopping, credit cards, and budgeting. We simply need to feel a connection and a special kind of attention.
At the end of the day, what women need from their financial advisors is R-E-S-P-E-C-T! We need respect for our strength, our intelligence, and our gift of intuition!
Women Are Budget-Minded
Because women are resourceful, they aren’t always as willing as men to invest in financial advice or expertise. It’s not because we don’t want it, but we tend to think in terms of our comfort level and our budget. We have a tough time paying for services if we think we could figure it out ourselves or if we aren’t comfortable with the situation.
However, it’s important women remember that long-term financial planning is a worthy investment. There’s no better way to grow your money in the long term than to invest it with the help of a trusted financial advisor. Think of financial planning as self-care — a vital step for your future security and peace of mind.
Because women are worried about others, they’re often spurred on by thoughts of taking care of their family after they’re gone. We want to ensure we provide for our loved ones. We want to know we can afford our long-term care, so we don’t burden our children financially in our senior years. We’re long-term thinkers.
Women are also self-reliant. We are great at stretching our money and ensuring we always save enough for our needs. It’s crucial to tap into this self-reliance when you consider retirement and long-term care. How will you take care of yourself? If you’re married, how will you ensure you’re financially stable should something happen to your spouse? Single women also need to be savvy financial planners.
I find once women set a financial plan in place, they’re excellent about sticking to it. Women’s intuition and budgeting strength both come into play. Once a woman finds a financial advisor who listens to her and respects her, she will stay on track to grow her money.
So ladies, find a financial planner you feel comfortable with. Seek a financial professional who listens to you, who respects you, and never talks down to you. Make sure they explain everything in clear detail and address your concerns, rather than smothering you with jargon or credentials. If you feel like your financial planner doesn’t fit the bill, don’t be afraid to cut ties and move on.
You certainly aren’t alone in your financial needs as a woman (or as a human being), so stand up for the quality financial planning you need!
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