We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: women understand money. Our research reflects this, and countless real-life examples bear out this truth. In fact, women today:
- Control 85 percent of consumer spending.
- Make 70 percent of major financial decisions.
- Perform as the primary breadwinner for 40 percent of households.
- Expect their controlled personal wealth to grow to $22 trillion by 2020.
We also know that women are able to negotiate risk and manage their emotions when it comes to their earnings, savings and investments. While millennial women are more confident in their investing know-how, women across generations possess the skills and desire to take charge of their financial health.
Countering the good news and irrefutable evidence that women have what it takes to be financially successful is the sustained presence in many advisory circles of what we’ll call — for lack of a better word — “mansplaining.”
From patronizing advice about skipping lattes, to ignoring the very real and multiple inequalities women face regarding their wages, spending, loans, credit, business funds and domestic responsibilities, it’s easy to detect how some investment approaches dismiss women’s abilities to manage their money. Furthermore, surveys note that women with male partners report being ignored during meetings with male financial advisors, or presented with a more limited range of strategies when meeting one-on-one with men in the financial services profession.
A majority of women overall are not satisfied with the level of services they currently receive from their (male) advisors. However, in addition to the growing number of women who are in charge of their day-to-day finances, more women are taking the lead in retirement planning — both their own and their partners’ planning needs. And women who have lost a male partner are also more likely to change advisors when their spouse dies. It’s clear to us: As women continue to take control of their financial lives, they are beginning to expect better from industry experts.
While the financial services field remains dominated by male leadership, professionals are taking steps to be more responsive to women’s experiences, knowledge and points of view about their finances. As leaders and their employees work to do better by women, we offer some suggestions for how female investors can ensure they remain empowered when it comes to taking charge of their financial investments and planning.
- Find a supportive financial community. Whether it’s online, in person or both, develop financial information resources where you can go to feel comfortable asking questions and learn more about investing without being judged or patronized.
- Engage financial advisors who speak to you. Women often earn less, live longer and have fewer savings than men due to the demands and responsibilities of their combined life and work experiences. Find an advisor who acknowledges your unique financial reality; advisors should treat you as fairly and equally as any other client, and take your realities into account when helping you develop your financial strategy.
- Pay attention to how financial information is presented. Some industry employees have noted distinct differences in how male and female advisors present investment information to their clients. Whether it’s a “good ol’ boy” style (as described in the linked article) or one that hews closer to industry studies and data, make sure that you get information from your advisors the way you want it.
We at The Humphreys Group are inspired every day by women who are taking charge of their financial lives and encouraging others to do the same. We welcome the opportunity to be part of your financial planning journey. Contact us today to start a conversation.