“While men often focus on potential returns and risk attributes, women tend to think more broadly about their finances and especially about how their decisions may affect the people and causes they care about.”
The Financial Industry is Shifting!
Historically, women have played a small “official” role in finances in general. Our society usually left the financial planning to the men. Our fathers and husbands were assumed to have taught us about finances. Unfortunately, that rarely happened for many of us. Traditionally, financial advisors looked for specific net worth in potential clients, but they also only called on the man of the house. As a result, these practices left much of the population, especially females, without a financial mentor at all.
Times have changed, ladies! We have gone thru many challenges as women to be seen as equals. Areas such as voting rights, buying land, fair wages, etc. So it seems our culture is finally starting to understand the fact that women control 80% of the household finances. Many households are dependent on a female income only. Today, women are delaying marriage or not getting married at all. They are controlling their own money, making their own financial decisions, and planning for their own retirement and legacy.
Why Are Women Disrupting and Dominating The Industry Today?
The financial world has moved the focus from investment management, to a more holistic financial planning model. The rise in new female advisors may be due to women being more interested as the industry is becoming plan based. This gives flexibility to the advisor to be able to create more personally structured plans. This also allows the advisor to meet the needs of a broader clientele base. Women, who enjoy problem solving and synergistic approaches, can now blend many methods together to get the best outcomes for their clients.
Females have been the backbone of financial offices for decades – as administrative assistants, research and analysis clerks, secretaries, etc. We’ve spent enough time listening to men in their meetings, and processing all of the paperwork. We decided – We Can Do This!
In today’s market, women understand the importance of work-life balance and taking a more holistic approach to address challenges. It’s no surprise they are emerging as leading influencers in the financial services industry using the same mindset and parameters!
Because We Know How to Do It All!
Gender diversity has come a long way. Women are seen as capable and qualified for many traditionally male jobs. For example, look at the women oil riggers and welders, female Marines, mechanics, and more in the past decade!
It’s beautiful to see women becoming what they really dreamt to be. Not having to adjust according to societal expectations!
Women have already established success with home based businesses, excelling in MLMs and direct sales. We also know how to foster personal relationships, not only business transactions. Women can leverage social media and community connections to spread awareness and increase visibility of their brand. We are naturally able to integrate mission and vision with the product. Women tend to be more emotional and sensitive. However, we can use this to our advantage to be more involved and dedicated to our craft. This characteristic helps female financial advisors outperform their male counterparts!
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a financial partner:
How is your advisor paid?
Fee Based: You are billed based on the time or type of service provided, similar to a lawyer or accountant. Many times these rates vary, but usually around $200 per hour or a flat fee of $2,000, to build a financial plan for you. Note that many CPAs cannot set up any of your accounts, they can only advise you what YOU should do.
Commission Based: These are captive or independent agents that are licensed and regulated by FINRA. They build your financial strategy and then get the appropriate accounts and policies set up for you. These agents are paid by the companies they represent, not by the clients. You only turn $$ over to them if you are comfortable with the strategy they suggest and want to implement it.
What professional designations and licences do they have?
There is no official license to be a “Financial Advisor”. Verify what makes them knowledgeable in the area they are helping you with. Licences may be state or federally regulated, or awarded by certain educational boards.
A few examples:
- Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Series 6, 63, and/or 7 Securities licenses
- Life Insurance License
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Last, but not least, do you connect with them?
The best financial advisors are those that we can relate to. Good advisors take their client’s entire lifestyles into account, not just the client’s net worth. If you get to know your advisor on a more personal level, this allows her to better navigate your specific financial challenges.This approach helps to create a holistic financial strategy, rather than just a cookie cutter retirement plan.
What can you do now to start securing your future?
If you’re a DIY gal, here are some tips to start taking control of your finances and keeping on track thru the years!
In your 20’s…
-Track all your expenses! One of the biggest factors in successful planning is TRACKING! What gets tracked, get improved!
-Set and stick to a budget. Check out Dave Ramsey for great tips on budgeting! DIY style – https://www.daveramsey.com/get-started/budget
-Learn how money works – take a Financial Literacy class near you or online. Check out groups like the National Campaign for Financial Literacy or your local library.
-Use debt sparingly and be aware of the negative effects of maxing out your limits and huge interest rates.
-Save for the unknown. You may not know what your big plans or dreams in life are yet. But we KNOW we will have big dreams and goals – so start saving for them now!
-Always look for additional streams of income, this will help building passive income to cushion your nest egg.
-Learn to, and continue to, live below your means. Cook at home even after you start getting those promotions at work. And keep taking the bus even when you have enough cash to buy a car but you don’t really need one.
-Lock in your health now !It’s likely that today is the best health you will ever be in, and today is the youngest you will ever be – so get a basic life insurance plan now while it’s the most affordable it will likely ever be.
-Start contributing at least 5% to your retirement plan – whether at work with a 401k or your own IRA account.
Remember, the Rule of 72 and Time are on your side!
In Your 30’s…
-Update your will and trusts. So, as you get older and add more assets to your bottom line, make sure those are properly distributed when you leave this world.
-Give your budget a makeover! Periodically check in with your budget. Update your income, expenses, and adjust your savings contributions as large ticket items are paid off.
-Crank up your emergency fund! Use the extra money from promotions, bonuses, and cash flow from paying off debt to ramp up your emergency/opportunity fund.
-Evaluate your SMART goals (3, 5, 10 year plans, etc)
-Review your life insurance and insurable need. Changes to your mortgage, children’s college plans, and other factors will effect your insurable need over time. Make sure your life insurance is adequate and priced right.
-Drive your vehicle as long as possible. Lull that baby to a nice resting place before you buy a new car.
-Increase retirement contributions to 15%.
-Advance your career or look at possible second careers – turning passions into income!
-Lookout for “lifestyle creep”. Many times we start adding little expenses to our lifestyle we may not notice – added trips to the coffee shop, going out to eat more often, etc.
-Keep investing and learning about how money works – you still have time on your side this early in the game!
A common mistake is to not give our retirement savings a high enough priority. Often we care for our families before we take care of ourselves.
In your 40’s and beyond…
-Lengthen the gap between your income and expenses.
-Diversify your retirement investments and make sure they are in vehicles less sensitive to market fluctuations. Indexed funds, bonds, etc tend to be more stable than emerging market stocks for example.
-Start putting real $$ amounts to your retirement ideal lifestyle and make sure your financial strategy is in alignment to reach those goals.
-Make sure you have Long Term Care coverage in place and a plan for your family to follow in case of medical emergencies.
-Convert your term life insurance over to a permanent policy, such as an IUL, where you are able to grow cash value that can be used as another “bucket” of money to pull from in retirement tax-free.
-Now that your cars and credit cards are paid off and the kids are becoming more independent, max out retirement contributions and cash value life insurance.