For the first time, women have surpassed men in controlling U.S. private wealth. According to a BMO study, women are expected to control $22 trillion of U.S. personal wealth by 2020.
With the growing amount of financial assets held by women, our industry is increasing the number of women-specific advisory firms and platforms. But do women really want women-only approaches?
Many major financial firms have published studies about what women want. My takeaway is that they are not looking for gender-specific advisors, but rather an understanding of the way men and women tend to differ when it comes to their views and communication styles relating to their finances. So, what do women want? Women want exactly what men want: solid investment advice. BUT, they do not want it dressed up in pink, nor dumbed down, and especially not coated in jargon. Female clients want well-tailored portfolios. They also want their advisors to explain in plain English what they are doing and why, at an appropriate level of detail. And then women want to go beyond the bottom line.Education: According to a 2015 study by Fidelity, women are looking for an educator. They like someone to explain the investment world without making them feel ignorant. It is not so much knowledge, but rather confidence that is lacking for a lot of women. Educationally oriented conversations will stimulate women’s confidence, which in turn will empower them to think and talk more about financial matters and take charge.
Authenticity: women want a real connection with their advisor. No one-size fits all solutions, but an approach that is tailor-made for them.
Listening: women want to work with an advisor who is a good listener and wants to understand the full picture. For many women, financial comfort translates to the well-being of the whole family. They are also looking for the reassurance that they will never become a burden to anyone else.
Trust: authenticity and the ability to listen well build a foundation of trust between client and advisor. A relationship that is rooted in trust is what female clients – and dare I say all clients – are ultimately looking for.Holistic approach: a women’s view of finances is all-encompassing. According to a Pimco study women say that quality of life – in the here and now – is immensely important. 92% of women say health and wellness are as important to them as their financial longevity. Conversations around finances should therefore happen in the context of a financial plan that addresses this wealth-life balance.
All advisors at CFM try to recognize the similarities and differences in the way men and women approach their wealth. If you would like to learn more about this or are interested in any of our women-specific initiatives, please reach out to your advisor.