At Equita Financial Network we have always prided ourselves on providing solutions to women financial advisors. The financial services industry has been male dominated since its creation, and while we can say confidently that women have made great strides in this profession, the playing field is far from even. This mirrors our country’s financial landscape as a whole.
Equita is comprised of many different wealth management firms, each of which caters to a unique demographic of clientele. While most Equita member firms do not work exclusively with women, it’s important to us as women to help our female clients maneuver some of their most pressing financial problems and stressors.
The Unique Challenges Faced by Women
Women face unique financial challenges throughout their lives. From earning less than men for performing the same job, to shouldering most child-rearing and caregiving responsibilities, women often have less time and money to save for their future. However, women struggling to make ends meet is just one angle. In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for women to earn most of the family income. And although times are changing, many women face heightened stress as female breadwinners or the sole earners in their homes. Trying to juggle a career, a family and a personal life can feel hectic.
“The majority of my clients are couples who are busy professionals navigating careers and kids,” says Katie Burke, founder of Method Financial Planning and co-founder of Equita. Burke shares that the woman is generally the one who reaches out to her. “These women understand that in order to reach their financial goals there needs to be a solid financial plan in place.” Burke, a working mom herself, understands their desire to focus on their careers and families and know that the financial piece of the puzzle is taken care of. She seeks to provide low maintenance services that fit into a busy schedule and lifestyle.
In addition to these challenges, there are unique considerations for women who fit into the 50-plus age bracket.
“Women who are 50-plus and nearing retirement need a comprehensive plan to understand where they are financially, relative to retirement goals,” says Mary Meadows Livingston, founder of Abeona Wealth. “Ninety-five percent of women will be in charge of their finances at some point in their lives, so women need to understand what they own and owe, where assets are, and who is on their team to help in retirement.”
Livingston also shares that long-term care is another valid concern for women in this age group. What are the options to pay for care if it’s needed in the future? What level of care would her assets support? Should she buy long-term care insurance? “With education and understanding, women nearing and in retirement can feel some agency over the financial choices they will make.”
How Can Advisors Better Serve Female Clients?
Livingston shares that advisors should strive to provide empowering and approachable financial advice to their female clients. “I believe that understanding brings agency, ownership and confidence, so my goal is to help women understand where they are, where they want to go and how to get there. I see women sitting on the sidelines and not taking control of their financial lives because of a (false) perception that they don’t know anything about personal finance and investing, shame about past decisions or not having made any decisions, or simply not knowing where to start.”
By empowering clients, Livingston believes that advisors can help reshape these false perceptions.
Stefanie Crowe, founder of AegleWealth, also believes in the power of approachability, especially when it comes to communication. “The financial world is overly-technical in all kinds of ways. If you can’t explain concepts in simple ways and in ways that make sense, it can 1) make a client feel unintelligent and 2) give the impression that you’re confused, too.” Crowe encourages client questions and urges advisors not to feel intimidated by them. “Questions don’t feel threatening, they tell me my client is highly engaged, which is the optimal place to be as an advisor.”
The Power of Women Helping Women
Equita Financial Network—a financial network created by women, for women — helps female advisors thrive in the financial services industry. This, in turn, helps these advisors assist women with their unique financial planning needs. “Led by men who have vastly different experiences and life challenges, our industry needs women to come together to help other women succeed,” says Bridget Grimes, founder of WealthChoice and co-founder of Equita. Reach out to Equita to learn more.