Women are intelligent. Women don’t necessarily need more financial advice than men, like some might suggest. Women just want it delivered in a different way. Women are listeners, they communicate with story. Women are nurturers; they are mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. And women want to feel nurtured themselves. How many times has a man, whether your boyfriend, husband, or male boss told you something that you (quietly) disagree with, when later that same day your best friend tells you the same thing or provides the same advice, but hearing it from your girlfriend is so much easier to believe? It’s just the way it is; women get women. We don’t need a man to tell us what to do, but our sisters and best friends are the ones we rely on for advice.
It’s the same thing when it comes to advice about your finances. Imagine walking into your Financial Advisor’s office, there behind a big, fancy desk sits a middle-aged man in a gray suit and a tie his wife picked out for him. Yes he’s friendly, smiles when you arrive, but does he understand you? More importantly, do you understand him? He starts by telling you about the recent happenings in the stock market as you nod and pretend to know exactly what he’s talking about. He tells you about your portfolio, talking all sorts of investment jargon only a trained professional would follow. Not to mention he has no idea you just got a haircut or that you changed your outfit three times before leaving the house today. Feeling understood is huge.
If this man tells you that you need to exchange your growth mutual funds for dividend paying stocks, will you? Will you ask why? Will he explain why? Maybe you’ll say, “Go ahead, you’re the professional. I’ll just do whatever you think”. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but what if he taught you things along the way and helped you to understand the reason for his suggestions? Of course, there are male financial advisors who approach financial planning this way, but when you have a woman talking to you as an equal you may be surprised how much more information you have retained and leave her office feeling confident that you are making smart investment decisions.
This isn’t a sexist thing. It’s just reality. Many women that we work with have expressed this sentiment to us. They are so grateful to sit across from a woman who makes them feel comfortable, has common interests, and treats them like a friend who can help them. She might also tell you that you need to make changes to your portfolio, but you won’t hesitate to ask why. There’s no need for anyone to feel embarrassed or belittled for not understanding the very complex world of investing. You should feel safe asking more and more questions; that’s where female advisors shine. She gets you, she respects you, she understands that you haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in weeks because you have two little kids or that on your days “off” you spend the entire day cleaning or running errands.
When choosing your advisor, consider meeting with a woman. Meet with a man, too. Do whatever makes you feel secure and confident because ultimately the whole purpose of working with a financial advisor is to take the stress out of trying to do it all on your own. They are the people handling the money you have worked so hard for so that you can live the kind of life you deserve. If you’re lucky, you may even gain a new friend in the process. We have found that to often be the case with our female clients.