“My husband died unexpectedly and I barely knew anything about our finances” – unfortunately, I’ve heard this from my clients too many times.
Financial security isn’t usually a journey you tackle by yourself. Often, you’ll need the support of a knowledgeable guide who can navigate the tricky world of finances. But expertise isn’t the only thing that counts.
Building a foundation of trust and mutual understanding is just as crucial. For women, this connection with their financial advisors is even more special, influenced by societal perceptions and historical roles.
The Three Main Things Women Need from Their Advisors
Historically, and unfortunately even today, women sometimes find themselves on the sidelines of financial conversations. This can occur due to societal norms or even self-imposed inhibitions. One glaring example of this is how often women might leave the financial decisions to their male counterparts.
A friend of mine and her husband maintained separate financial accounts throughout their 25-year marriage, keeping their financial matters private from one another.
For the sake of privacy, let’s just call her Susie. One day, I urged Susie to familiarize herself with the details of her husband’s bank accounts, investment portfolios, and life insurance policies. She approached her husband with this simple request, to which he responded rather irritated by scribbling the details on a paper titled “Susie’s Demands”.
Three weeks later, Her active and healthy 61-year-old husband suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away. Amidst the overwhelming grief, one small relief was that she had the necessary financial information at her disposal.
This story underscores the critical importance of both partners in a relationship being aware of their collective financial situation.
1. Understanding Women’s Unique Financial Challenges
Every individual has their own financial challenges, but women often face a set that’s unique to them. Financial planning, contrary to popular belief, isn’t a one-size-fits-all service. For instance, women pause their careers to focus on family much more commonly than men, which can affect their overall earnings, retirement savings, and career trajectory.
Moreover, women tend to outlive men. This longer life expectancy means that their savings have to stretch further, covering medical costs and other expenses for those extra years.
Financial advisors need to be not just aware but also proactive about these challenges. By doing so, they can create a framework that ensures a robust financial future tailored to women’s specific needs.
2. Caring, Trust, and Clear Talk
The world of finance, with its numbers and charts, can often seem cold and impersonal. Yet, the foundation of any successful financial plan lies in the human connection. This bond becomes even more significant when advising women, many of whom seek advisors who can empathize with their unique situations.
A good financial advisor doesn’t just crunch numbers; they listen and understand. They acknowledge a woman’s past experiences with money, ensuring that past missteps or societal biases don’t cloud the future. Clear, transparent communication is key, explaining intricate financial jargon in a manner that’s accessible and relatable.
Trust, however, is the cornerstone of this relationship. In a world where women sometimes face systemic biases, a trustworthy advisor can be a beacon of hope, guiding them from being mere spectators to confident decision-makers in their financial journeys.
3. Personal Financial Planning
Every individual’s financial journey is as unique as their life story. Women, in particular, have a financial narrative that often diverges from the norm due to societal and biological factors they contend with.
When offering financial advice, it’s essential to view it through a tailored lens, much like a custom-made outfit—it should fit the individual perfectly. A generic approach to money might be akin to offering the same medication to different individuals, regardless of their unique symptoms.
For women, such a broad approach could be especially detrimental. Not only do women’s financial journeys often deviate from the “traditional” career to retirement path, they tend to do so in very individualized ways in response to unique family, health, and work situations. A one-size-fits-all strategy fails to recognize these nuances, potentially leading to missed opportunities and less-than-ideal financial outcomes.
A comprehensive financial plan is holistic. It looks beyond just immediate needs and dives into a future outlook, from understanding various income sources and analyzing spending habits, to long-term goals like retirement planning or even philanthropic efforts. Every piece of the financial puzzle should fit together seamlessly, creating a clear picture from the present to the future.
What Does It All Come Down To?
A combination of understanding, empathy, tailored advice, and transparent communication forms the backbone of an ideal advisor-client relationship. For women, these elements are more than just desirable traits—they’re absolute necessities.
If you’re a woman on the lookout for an advisor who embodies these principles, or if you simply wish to gain a deeper understanding of your financial well-being, reach out. Your unique financial story deserves the right guide, one who understands and respects every chapter of your journey.