Financial advisors have a bad reputation with women. Most feel slighted by the industry and see it as catering only to male wealth creators. They resent the assumption that women are disinterested in financial matters, are not good with money, and "should not worry their pretty heads about it." They are dissatisfied customers, who have real economic power. And they are unhappy that the financial services industry does not provide products and services to meet their needs
Women are in need of trustworthy, caring financial advisors. They want advisors who provide sound financial advice to help them navigate life's ups and downs. They want to be validated as an intelligent and competent person and feel like a client that you desire, not one you have to put up with. Overall, women simply want the same time, attention, and service you provide her male counterpart.
Unfortunately, this is not the experience for the majority of women. According to a State Farm Survey conducted in 2008, two-thirds of women don't trust financial service professionals.
Many well-meaning financial advisors miss the mark with their female clients. Why? Because the financial services industry was founded by men for men. Historically, women did not control wealth, earn money outside the home or achieve equal financial footing with men. Understandably, financial advisors sought the individuals with the assets. As the industry grew and prospered, best practices, marketing strategies, selling tactics and investment protocols were (and still are) developed with the male wealth creator in mind. Women felt left out because they were.
This does not mean you have to continue this trend in your practice. In fact, it makes good business sense not to. Here are some facts you may not know:
- Women control the majority of personal wealth in the United States.
- Women make approximately 80% of family household buying decisions, including those related to banking and financial services.
- Of affluent women, 88% are moderately or highly involved in the oversight and management of their assets.
- One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is woman owned.
- The economic impact from women-owned businesses is $2.8 trillion annually.
Women are an important part of the client population and will become more influential as time progresses. As a financial advisor, you can't afford not to learn how best to serve a woman and her family.
Many financial services institutions and advisors are taking action through women initiatives to better serve female clients. While some firms have made a real effort to change corporate culture and the products and services offered to women- many others have just given it lip service. Believe me, women know the difference. Women thrive on connection, authenticity, and partnership. If you offer all three to your female clients, you are bound to become a trusted advisor.
Female clients have money to invest and are inheriting and creating more financial resources daily. Their economic power is growing, and those in the financial services industry that are responding will reap the rewards. A woman makes the majority of the buying decisions, including if she and her husband are going to hire you. So isn't it time that you make the effort to really get to know her?
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury is the author of "How To Give Financial Advice To Women: Attracting and Retaining High-Net-Worth Female Clients" just released from McGraw-Hill. Kathleen is the founder of KBK Wealth Connection, and a wealth psychology expert and behavioral change specialist.
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