By Debra Taylor, CPA/PFS, JD, CDFA™
We often discuss how women’s wealth is growing fast and that we are seeing more and more women in our practice with “a seat at the table.” But, the facts are coming in to support these anecdotal observations. Indeed, according to a recent study by Simon-Kucher and Partners, women’s total wealth in the US and Canada is growing at a pace that was 180% faster than men’s between 2016 and 2021. This Simon-Kucher Study, entitled “Wealth Management: Building a Winning Client Experience for Women,” details what makes some women reluctant to invest and examines the investing and financial planning priorities of 951 women residing in the US and Canada with annual household incomes between $150,000 and $1M+ and a net worth of between $150,000 and $100M+.
From 2016 to 2021, men’s wealth grew at a 6.2% 5-year CAGR, compared to the 17.4% 5-year CAGR of total wealth controlled by women. That’s a huge difference. More important, couple those numbers with the fact that 90% of women will be managing their own finances one day, and that creates significant ramifications for our clients.
Despite their rising economic status, women are investing 22% less of their wealth in financial instruments compared to their male counterparts, according to the Study, costing an estimated ~$14 billion last year. But why is this?
The bottom line is that women can’t be treated the same as men. At TFG, we work hard to listen to our women clients and treat you well. 1. Women Want Education, Training, and Tools
The Simon-Kucher & Partners Study found that women value holistic advice, as well as education, training, and tools that will help them with long-term planning. Women feel more driven and qualified to invest if they’re given greater exposure to financial information, including through self-study and webinars, and feel empowered by access to long-term financial planning and budgeting tools. Women also focus less on income creation than men, and more on income protection.
Men, in comparison, tend to search for more “tactical” investment strategies that leverage current market conditions and value the ability to bounce ideas off friends and/or advisors. So, emails like “Top 10 stocks to buy now!” will be much more attractive to men compared to women, while (for example) outreach with long-term advice about sound investment strategies and taxation would be more popular with women. The prevalence of such headings contributes to the 45% of women who indicate that their bank sends them offers and mailings that don’t reflect their needs and preferences, compared with 34% of men.
Women are more likely to value the ability to independently self-study, so we include lists of useful resources when communicating with you. We send a weekly newsletter about the markets, but we also send a monthly planning letter that’s wholly conceptual and focused on retirement and tax planning topics, keeping our women clients in the loop. We also hold monthly “all client” calls and quarterly webinars to constantly be communicating and educating all of our clients, especially our women clients.
We are also holding quarterly women-only client events that include an educational component as well as a fun activity (like a cooking class or dinner). The idea is to get women together, create fellowship, and provide an informal and non-intimidating forum for your questions.
- Women Want In-Person Offerings
During COVID-19, offices moved to online meetings, and though in-person meetings are back, Zoom can be more convenient for many advisors. So is Zoom the new meeting-room? Not for female clients. The Study found that investing behaviors and preferences were different between genders, notably regarding in-person vs. online advice. Women were found to value in-person connection, with 65% of women who invest willing to pay a 20% premium for in-person advice, according to the Study. And, 30% more women than men want to receive financial advice in-person.
25% more women value personalized one-to-one interaction; 79% of women prefer a personalized one-to-one interaction in contrast to only 64% of men. Clearly, offices that are reluctant to give in-person prospect and client meetings are missing out. Though online meetings can certainly be convenient for both parties, we continue to offer the option to connect with you one-on-one and in-person — an experience female clients tend to value 25% more than men.
- Women Want to Be Understood (And TFG Listens)
Women want to feel their financial advisors are advocates for them and truly understand their wants and needs. But women financial advisors only make up to 15-20% of all advisors, according to Barron’s magazine, meaning women walking into a prospect meeting are often meeting with someone they can’t fully relate to. Given 90% of women are or will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, advisors should examine the female representation at their firms and more proactively tailor their outreach towards women.
As you know, TFG is woman-founded, woman-led, and is committed to advancing women.
We make every effort to understand the needs of women, beyond not just treating our women clients the same as men. We also hold a women’s advisory board where we solicit direct feedback from our women clients.
In addition, our communications reflect a genuine focus on serving the needs of women. Taylor Financial Group does this by sending out a women’s quarterly newsletter (the one you are reading right now!) that is designed to appeal specifically to women’s issues.
We also know that women can be focused on community and giving. So, we give clients the option to choose philanthropic ventures that support women centric causes around the holidays, putting our money where our mouth is. Our firm provided TisBest charity gift cards to each client, where clients were then able to choose the charity that the money is put towards.
For Thanksgiving, TFG also supports Heifer International, a developmental organization that focuses on increasing income and assets for farmers, ranchers, and female business owners by investing in livestock or agriculture. Women and girls are primary beneficiaries of Heifer, and we included an informational pamphlet in our Thanksgiving Announcement to educate our clients on the difference that our contributions are making.
In conclusion, the Study recommends that financial advisors take the following four steps to create value for women investors.
- Establish transparency — how and how well are you serving women today?
- Make an intentional effort to understand women’s needs as clients
- Prioritize offerings to women
- Develop a go-to-market strategy for women, including communications, sales, and organizational capabilities
We work hard day in and day out to fulfill the needs of our women clients and we look forward to working with you and addressing your unique needs for years to come!
Please reach out to us if you have any questions.