Celebrating Women’s Financial Accomplishments for Women’s History Month and 4 Tips to Better Serve Female Clients
Did you know that Abigail Adams (1744-1818), the First Lady of the United States, is one of the earliest documented female investors in U.S. history1? Why does this matter? Well, it’s Women’s History Month and we wanted to take some time to reflect on and celebrate some of the achievements women have accomplished throughout the years. It’s also a great time to remind ourselves of some of the challenges women still face financially, and provide you with a few tips where you, as a financial advisor, can help women overcome some of those challenges.
There is immense opportunity with the female market. According to a 2018 study by Ellevest, only 17% of women feel they are getting competent financial advice, and only 47% feel they know how to achieve their financial goals.3 Other studies gauge the number of women who switch financial advisors upon divorce or widowhood at a whopping 70%.3 What these numbers should tell you is that addressing these challenges for women should be a top priority to ensure you retain business, but even more than that, that there is great opportunity for growth due to an unsatisfied market.
With that, let’s start by looking at a brief timeline of some female accomplishments within the U.S.:
- 1744-1818: Abigail Adams, the First Lady of the United States, is one of the earliest documented female investors in U.S. history.1
- 1889: Anna Bissell, of the sweeper and vacuum Bissells, moved into the CEO spot becoming the first-ever female CEO, soon earning the manufacturer its international recognition.2
- 1967: Muriel “Mickie” Siebert was the first woman to purchase a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in December 1967.1
- 1970: Victoria Woodhull and her sister Tennessee Clafin opened the first female-owned brokerage firm on Wall Street.1
- 1972: Katharine Graham became CEO of The Washington Post parent and broke a new barrier for female CEOs, becoming the first-ever female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.2
- 2018: For the first time in its 226-year history, the New York Stock Exchange named a woman, Stacey Cunningham, to lead the organization as NYSE’s 67th president5
It’s clear that women have come a long way in terms of leadership and in the financial industry, but there are still ceilings that are yet to be broken. To better help women achieve their own financial goals, and help them continue their path of success, we are going to share two challenges that can have a big effect on their lives and provide you with a few tips to help you be more successful when serving your own female clients.
It’s no secret that generally (but not always), women make less money than men. “That is, for every dollar earned by a man working full-time, year-round, a woman working full-time, year-round earns $0.80.” * This gap starts at a young age, around 16-19 years old. It makes sense then that because of lower earnings, it can be harder to accumulate savings. Take a look at the median income American women and men earn annually at every age.
16 to 19
20 to 24
25 to 34
35 to 44
45 to 54
|55 to 64||$55,016||$45,188||$9,828|
On average women live longer than men (an average of 5 years6). When you’ve earned less your whole life, but need to save for more years in retirement, that can be a difficult situation to navigate on your own. Additionally, living longer can mean spending more money on healthcare, which can quickly take a bite out of any of the savings that have been accumulated.
So, what do these challenges mean for you as a financial advisor, and how can you help? Here are a few tips for how you can start making a difference this March:
Tip #1: Goals
As financial professionals, what can we do to help women combat the challenge of the pay gap? One of the best ways to help women battle the pay gap is to focus on their goals. Just because someone earns less, doesn’t mean financial goals are out of reach. Mapping their goals to a timeline can help bring clarity to their financial future and determining short-term and long-term goals can keep them on track.
Tip #2: Planning
Remember, just because a woman is earning less, doesn’t mean she isn’t earning a lot. For you, earning less is merely something to consider as a domino effect when planning throughout her earning years, similar to what you would do with compounding interest or inflation. A 2016 study by Financial Finesse suggested that a 25-year-old female who works full-time for 40 years, and retires at age 65, needs to save 1.5% more than a man, every year, in order to reach her target savings goals.3 These bits of information are something to relay to your younger female clients whose accounts you may manage as a favor to your larger or more profitable clients. You could also have them beef up saving in the years where the pay gap is closer together, to help make up for when it takes a larger divide.
Tip #3: Assurance
Women “want a [financial] plan that is tailored to their unique situation. For women over 50, reassurance that they will not run out of money or be a burden on their families is critically important.”6 Providing women with an income distribution plan that takes into account the many factors that they could face in retirement such as inflation or market volatility can help put them at ease. But even more than that, it gives them a better understanding of their finances and how they need to draw down on their money. Tools like NextPhase can give female clients a sound plan for retirement, which gives them clarity for their future. Not to mention it is delivered in a short, digestible format and not a humongous book of information that you need a finance degree to be able to understand. This in turn can provide that comfort that they want and need.
Tip #4: Healthcare
Healthcare can be a large expense for anyone in retirement, but for women who tend to live longer, it carries extra weight. Looking into and explaining solutions like Long Term Care insurance or LTCi Hybrid plans can help them pay for things like home health aides, which can mean relying less on family members, but still being able to remain in their homes, and help them afford the care they need. Hybrid plans also combat the fear that you’ll lose your premium if you don’t end up using the policy. Explaining these options to your female clients could mean everything to them when determining if they can retire the way they want. If you want to get a better understanding of how these types of products work, you can reach out to Highland Capital Brokerage to get some complimentary guidance.
Of course, all women cannot be lumped into one category or thought of as having the same financial needs or long-term goals. Each woman is an individual, however trends do show that this demographic does differ from many of your male clients. Developing an approach to gain their trust and help them succeed is a significant opportunity for you, and for us all.
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