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A Note to Financial Advisors: 5 Powerful Insights Into How Women Think

Money can be a hard subject to talk about.

Honestly, who wants to sit around talking to a stranger about their annual income, their monthly expenses, where they want to invest, and then in the end write a big cheque with money you hope you see again?

I truly believe the best way for women to create wealth is by working with financial professionals. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, “fewer than one in five women currently has an advisor.”

Why? Because women can’t find anyone who understands them.

Advisors are talking to women just like they do men. Big mistake. True, money knows no gender. Women, however, are very different from men. Yet the financial world is based on the male model of communication.

Here are 5 powerful insights into how women think. By looking at these insights you can learn what to look for in your relationship with your financial advisor.

1) Women are all about relationships.  Women are ‘other’ oriented; men are transaction oriented. Women communicate to create relationships and make connections. Men communicate to obtain information, establish status, and show independence. These are 2 very different conversations. The message women want to hear: “I care about you. I understand you. I’m here to support you.” How can a financial advisor provide this for you? Ask lots of questions about your goals, dreams, time frames, lifestyle, opinions, your life in general. They should listen more than talk. Find out what you need, not what they think you need.

2) Women can be very emotional when it comes to money. But in the financial world, conversations about emotions are considered taboo, too touchy-feely, not part of the financial planning process.  Really big mistake. Your financial planner doesn’t need a degree in psychology, but they do need to invite you to discuss your fears, beliefs, and family’s attitudes toward money. Often by simply listening your issues, and addressing your qualms while explaining your options can be enough to get you past your emotional blocks.

3) Women want to be educated. Men like to learn through trial and error. Women like to be taught. In a study by Deloitte Touche,  90% of the women expected their financial advisor to educate them. They even rated service, advice, and education far ahead of performance. What’s one of the best ways to educate women? Seminars. Why?  According to an Emory University study, “the pleasure and reward centers of their brain light up if they can work towards their financial goals in a cooperative way with other women.”

4) Women define success differently than men. Men define success as being in control; women as how well they can help others. The financial media, and the industry itself, seem to believe that scary statistics, alarming statements, and worse case scenarios will actually motivate women. But clearly fear tactics haven’t worked.

Instead, look for a financial advisor who will talk to you about how investing allows you to experience the joys of philanthropy, the thrill of leaving a legacy, the satisfaction of helping people you loves and causes you’re passionate about.

5) Women clients tend to be more time consuming, especially at the beginning. Women expect more service, ask more questions.

In my 1st appointment with Eileen, my long time advisor, she told me: “My job is to see your needs are met. It’ll take time but I need to find about your goals and level of risk.” And she did. Then she gave me choices. “I see myself in partnership with you. Here are your choices. Let’s discuss each of them and figure out what is best for you.”

These are powerful insights that should help you to orient yourself around what is important to you when it comes to money. Instead of seeing the financial world as a man’s world, you can now reframe it around what you want and make the financial world your own. Keep these insights in mind when looking for your financial advisor and you’ll be sure to find the right fit for you!

**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections’ publicationWomen Who Run It.

Barbara Stanny

Barbara Stanny, the leading authority on women and money—is on a mission—to revolutionize women’s relationship with money. As a bestselling author, sought after speaker, workshop facilitator, money & wealth coach, and coach trainer, Barbara teaches women to earn the money they deserve, build the wealth they desire, and step fully into their power!