Does a financial advisor’s gender affect his or her business? Definitely.
Men and women have different working styles, and this affects how they interact with clients as well. While there are exceptions, there is a perception that male advisors are less willing to explain financial concepts to clients, especially women. Women tend to be more relational, which comes through in their financial interactions as well.
Right now, it appears the financial services industry doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of addressing women’s needs. In fact, one study found that 70 percent of women change financial advisors within a year of their husbands’ deaths. This shows that many women are unhappy with the way the financial advisors treated them and may not feel comfortable continuing the relationships.
Women appreciate advisors who involve them, even when their husbands manage most of the money. When a woman attends a financial advising meeting with her husband and the financial professional gets her involved by asking open-ended questions, it can work in everyone’s favor. The advisor gets a better sense of what matters to her, while she knows the professional is taking her financial concerns into account while developing the family’s plan.
Regardless of an advisor’s style, it is important to be cognizant of the differences in men’s and women’s investing preferences and needs. On a general level, women tend to take fewer investing risks than men. They tend to seek out education more than men and expect to find an advisor who takes the time to provide it in a comprehensible way.
So how can a woman find a financial advisor she can trust?
- Ask friends and family. Reaching out to one’s peers can result in finding someone who has the traits and knowledge she is seeking.
- Interview a number of financial advisors. This is an opportunity for a woman to understand each advisor’s style and demeanor as well as financial prowess. Such a meeting also provides an opportunity to determine how willing the advisor is to explain a range of investing concepts.
- Look for financial advisors who specialize in women’s issues. These professionals take into account that women tend to live longer on less and serve as caregivers to other family members over the long term. This kind of knowledge is often reflected in an advisor’s marketing materials as well as the conversation they have with prospective clients.
Why is it in an advisor’s best interests to appeal to female clients? Because, over time and when they have a positive experience, women tend to refer more new clients to the advisor. In addition, many of today’s younger women manage their own finances and do not rely on a man for assistance. This means they are in the market seeking advice on their own.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and should not be interpreted as individualized investment advice. Investment objectives, risk tolerances and the financial situation of individual investors may vary. Please consult your financial and tax advisers before investing.