What Women expect from their Financial Planners
Women are earning more, living longer, and controlling a larger proportion of discretionary spends and household investment decisions than ever before. Many women stand to inherit twice – first from their fathers, and then their husbands. And yet, global experts suggest that 5 out of 6 women feel that they aren’t being well served by their Financial Planners. What’s the secret sauce? To begin with, here are a few traits that women investors specifically seek from their Financial Planner.
When it comes to dealing with a Financial Planner, women greatly value transparency; which is a natural precursor to trust-building. For this reason, women clients are far more likely to be put off by jargon spewing product-pushers who are evasive when it comes to disclosing details of the investments they are recommending. An iota of doubt in the integrity of the Financial Planner will be a turn off.
A Financial Planner should be open about her shortcomings and limitations, while adequately disclosing risks and any critical information related to the investments they are recommending – exit charges and tax liabilities of portfolio - related actions, to name a couple.
A Financial Planner working with women clients would benefit more by cultivating reliability and solidity, than by aiming to be a “hero” who’s always on top of market trends and is quick to identify the next hot stock or tip. Most women look for safety of capital, even if the growth is moderate.
Reliability is also about following through on commitments in terms of service queries and follow ups. The best way for a Financial Planner to demonstrate reliability is to be proactive in providing updates about a particular investment portfolio or process, by communicating with clients frequently and clearly.
Money management is a sensitive business; involving the entire spectrum of emotions ranging from greed to fear, and inextricably linked to the quality of one’s foreseeable future. Hence, women investors are a lot more comfortable with a Financial Planner who adequately address the human side of investing, instead of running away from it. For instance, a Financial Planner who is working with women clients need to be a whole lot more sensitive to verbal and non-verbal clues that may signal mistrust, distress or discomfort, or may indicate that further information or clarity is needed on a certain aspect of their investment portfolios.
While women aspire for portfolio returns just as much as men, they tend to view the process of working with a financial planner more as a “means to an end” or a goal achievement tool, rather than something to brag about at the water cooler! Very few women invest just to multiply money aimlessly. For most of them money is a means to something more. If there is no specific goal, financial independence itself becomes a goal. Therefore, being a mere distributor of financial products is unlikely to impress women investors too much. Instead, financial planners need to hone their skills and plan for life goals, manage and mitigate personal risks, and help their clients plan for their retirement as well.