It’s about time that women were recognized as having a fundamentally different approach to investments than their male counterparts. Applying a gender-blind approach to financial advice is as ineffective as is a gender-blind approach to medicine.
Through decades of work with hundreds of women, we’ve gained an understanding of what makes women clients different from men.
What brought on our reflections on this subject was another really smart article by Rob Carrick, in the Globe and Mail, entitled: “The Investment Advice Business Is Testosterone City”. Rob does an excellent job of identifying how fundamental are the distinctions. It’s not just about a lower appetite for risk or other predictable factors; it’s about a wholly separate mindset and financial objectives.
The problem extends far beyond the fact that a very strong majority of advisors are men. It’s also because: “the emphasis in many advice firms is at least as much on selling products and generating fees as providing advice.”
Reading Rob’s article made us finally realize why our clientele is heavily skewed toward women. It was never a conscious decision on our part to provide a women-friendly investor service, but our approach dovetails perfectly with how women view their finances.
Rob quotes Paulette Filion, a partner in StrategyMarketing.ca, as saying: “Women want financial planning and investment advice that is relevant to their life goals. For men, it’s about how much money will I make, how will my money grow? Women think of money in terms of, can I stay in my house or can I retire with enough income or can I take care of my ailing mother?”
Reading that, the light went on. We always build our advice based on discussions with our clients about life goals and then shape the investment strategy to satisfy those needs. Whether we’re talking to a man, or a woman, or a couple.
We believe it’s irresponsible to invest people’s money without asking those difficult questions. If you do that, you are investing in a vacuum, as if the client didn’t exist and it was just a question of out-performing the market. It isn’t. It’s all a question of balancing the client’s path with changing market conditions.
Many financial advisors at banks and other large institutions are pressured to focus on transactions and bonuses. We keep it simple – it’s only about helping the client plan a strategy that aligns with their life and then executing and adapting the plan to adjust to market volatility.
If you know any women who feel intimidated or disrespected by their current financial advisors, or feel uncomfortable even approaching financial advisors, please extend a personal invitation from us. Barbara and I are dedicated to making everyone feel at home here.
Thanks as always for reading.
1370 Don Mills Road, Suite 211, Toronto, ON M3B 3N7