How Financial Advisors Can Explore and Better Serve the Often Overlooked Female Market (Part 1)

By Dr. Jack Singer

A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that 70% of widows fire their financial advisor within one year after their spouse dies!  Why would so many women dismiss the advisor who worked so diligently for their family, in many cases, for years?  The answer is enlightening:  They viewed the advisor as condescending toward them, often meeting only with their spouse and even in joint meetings, having eye contact and communication directed primarily at the man, as if they had no say or interest in the financial security of the family.  In short, they feel overlooked and undervalued, leading to a lack of trust in the advisor.

Why should you care about female clients?  Besides the ethical reasons, there are some very important statistics (studies cited and referenced by Holly Buchanan in her book, Selling Financial Services to Women and by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury in her book, How to Give Financial Advice to Women”):

  • Over the next few decades, it’s predicted that women will inherit close to 30 trillion dollars in intergenerational wealth transfers.  Because women are likely to outlive their husbands, women will control most of this wealth, plus, they will inherit their parents’ wealth.
  • 57% of college graduates are currently women. Female college graduates are currently in control of more than 60% of the personal wealth in the U.S.
  •  22% of women currently earn more money than their spouses.
  • Women make approximately 80% of their family’s buying decisions.
  • 89% of bank accounts are controlled by women.
  • 28% of homeowners are single women.
  • 45% of the millionaires in the U.S. are women.
  • In 2009, 40% of private companies were at least 50% owned by women, compared with only 26% of companies in 1997 in that category.  20% of firms with revenue of at least $1million are currently owned by women.

In short, women are earning more, inheriting more, and controlling more wealth than ever before.  This is a huge, untapped niche awaiting every financial advisor, if he/she understands some key points about women’s needs and desires.

Stay tuned for my next installment, where I will discuss why women become disenchanted with their financial advisors and what behaviors you should all practice in order to capture your share of this huge market.

Comments are closed