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3 ways advisors can better help divorced women

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Divorce can cause upend a client's life, particularly if children are involved. And for many women — 86% — financial security is a top concern, according to a recent survey.

"When we asked them more about this, the reason this topped their concerns is that they were scared to death that they wouldn't be able to provide for their children," said financial planner Stacy Francis, whose firm commissioned a poll of 150 women.

Francis, speaking to attendees at the FPA's annual conference, outlined three ways that financial planners could better help their female clients during this trying time.

First, educating clients will not only help them make better choices in the short-term, but it will establish stronger bonds between advisor and client, said Francis, who is the CEO of an RIA, Francis Financial, in New York.

Only a third of women in the survey said they felt financial secure post-divorce, and 15% said they didn't understand their financial situation enough to know if they should be worried.
"I have to say that is most worrisome because those are the women with their head in the sand. They don't even know what the problem is," Francis said.

Moreover, she noted that among the top post-divorce regrets women expressed was a feeling that they did not grasp what was transpiring when the couple's assets were divided up.

"They wish they more clearly understood what they were saying yes or no to," Francis said.

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Secondly, clients need a confidence boost, Francis said. Oftentimes, they find themselves vulnerable and feeling they lack support. What they need, she says, is to feel they have a team backing them.

"When you see a client going through a divorce, you're seeing them at their worst moment," Francis said.

Finally, women need a judgment-free zone to talk about money issues, particularly if they are starting with little financial knowledge. This is a particularly advantageous area for financial planners to make a difference.

"When women go out, they'll talk about sex, about work, about dirty underwear — but they don't talk about money. That needs to change. And being able to talk about money in your office is a great safe space for them," she said.

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