As evidenced by the fact John Gray’s “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” sold 50 million copies and was the highest ranked work of non-fiction of the 1990’s, there’s no disputing that men and women view the world in vastly different ways. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, the facts are the facts. The differences in male and female perspectives show up in many aspects of life including what men and women want in a financial advisor.
As a financial advisor to a large number of both men and women, I see many stark differences in what’s most important to each gender when they sit down with me for a meeting. For example, men like to talk facts and hard numbers. They like to look at charts and discuss past performance. Many men want to speculate about how much their portfolio could go up or down in a given year. They want to talk about the state of the market, the possibility of a recession, oil prices, how the election could impact their investments and if the unrest overseas could move the meter. Women, on the other hand, have a much different set questions and concerns when we meet, which brings us to the question, what do women want in a financial advisor?
First and foremost, most women want to know that their financial advisor is trustworthy. While it’s important for women to feel confident in an advisor’s knowledge, it’s even more pressing that they trust the advisor has a good moral compass and will always uphold their fiduciary responsibilities. After all, if someone is handing over what could be their life and retirement savings, it absolutely has to be to someone with whom there is an immediate sense of trust.
Women want their financial advisor to educate them. Studies show us that women are not as confident in their financial planning skills as men, and therefore they are looking for someone to explain things to them in understandable terms instead of getting an earful of financial lingo and jargon. Most women learn best using real life scenarios as examples. Women want to feel and always should feel that the only dumb question is the one they don’t ask. They don’t want to feel intimidated to ask extra questions if they need additional clarity on a specific topic.
Women like to feel a sense of connection with their financial advisors. As a woman advisor, I feel that one of the greatest benefits to working with other women is the immediate connection of obviously being females, but also having the ability to discuss various topics such as children, familial relationships, the challenges of being a working woman and so much more. A good connection will lead to a strong relationship.
Women want a financial advisor who is reliable. This means that when an advisor says they‘ll do something, they will do it. Whether it’s following up on a question or merely checking in when promised, reliability is an absolute must.
Women want to feel their financial plans are put together for them based on their specific needs and unique circumstances. They are not interested in a “one size fits all” approach. Instead, women want to know that their advisor fully understands and appreciates their goals and objectives and can create an investment plan based on that specific information.