Financial Advice is Not Gender Neutral

Why do women need different financial planning and wealth management strategies than men?

“My financial advisor doesn’t seem to listen to me.”

“I feel disconnected from my money and planning for my future.”

“I’m uncomfortable talking about money with friends and family.”

Throughout my career, I’ve heard these and other similar concerns from female clients. Women often feel overwhelmed and misunderstood as they attempt to build a solid roadmap for themselves and their families.

Many firms and advisors treat financial planning and wealth management with a one-size-fits-all approach. Financial advice and planning shouldn’t be cookie-cutter or gender-neutral. Here’s why.

We’ve discovered that women tend to have different concerns, considerations and priorities than men and need and deserve a tailored approach.

While women have made financial gains in recent years, they still often get paid less, accrue more debt over time, do more unpaid labor, and live longer – which often means relying upon less savings for a longer time period.

Financial understanding and learning also tends to be different between men and women. Studies have shown that when it comes to investing, women want more information and want to better understand the associated risks and rewards. Additionally, women tend towards a far more conservative approach than is necessary. It’s vital to choose an advisor who understands that and will go to the next level to make sure their client has all the information they need to make decisions.

What’s more, many women only seek advice – whether financial, legal or other kinds – during times of crisis or transition, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I consider many of my clients to be good friends whom I’ve built close relationships with and talk to frequently, not just during times of crisis. Women should feel empowered to take control of their financial wellbeing by partnering with an advisor or Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm that will take the time to understand their unique needs and long-term goals, and work alongside them to build the right plan.

That’s why it’s important for women to find advisors who acknowledge and understand these crucial differences and address the needs of female investors in a way that the financial services industry has largely overlooked.

Having the right advisors at the table ensures a female investor understands the full picture of their financial situation, and that they benefit from the creativity that comes from approaching a problem with a different perspective. After all, everyone deserves to find an advisor who will meet them where they are, start with what’s important, and make a plan to support sound financial decision-making through every stage of life.

This article originally appeared in the Talking Wealth Column of Crain’s Chicago Business.

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