I had the good fortune to spend last Tuesday in Washington D.C. with over 150 other women from across the country at the Women Financial Adviser’s Summit, sponsored by Investment News magazine.
The day was jam-packed with timely information on the special financial needs of women in transition due to divorce, widowhood, and other life events; business succession planning for female advisers; encouraging more young women to join our thriving profession and earn their credentials as Certified Financial Planners; and effectively serving the needs of breadwinner woman, who bring home the bacon but don’t feel they are getting what they need from the financial profession.
Here are a few key takeaways from this very special day:
- Women still make up only about 20% of our profession, and that’s a shame considering that women will control an estimated two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade. Eleanor Blayney, Consumer Advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, outlined some of the obstacles discouraging women from pursuing a financial career. At our firm (which as you may know is currently 100% female), we are actively looking for opportunities to get in front of young high school and college women to tell them how great this profession really is and how they can make a positive impact in people’s lives. You don’t have to be a math genius, and it’s not selling used cars. If we can talk with your group, please give us a call!
- “Life happens” – marriage, divorce, illness, kids, death, job loss. These unexpected and often traumatic events can make it hard for even the most grounded people to cope. Susan Bradley, Founder of the Sudden Money Institute, detailed how your financial adviser can help you untangle some of the financial repercussions and put your life back together again, opening the door to new opportunities down the road.
- Women are now the breadwinners in two-thirds of family households, but feel most financial professionals just don’t give them the support they need. Heather Ettinger, Managing Partner of Fairport Asset Management, presented her research on this fast-growing demographic group. Almost all breadwinner women say they need extensive financial planning support and 60% say they are “leaving money on the table” by their failure to plan. They want customized financial advice tailored to their needs and more financial education, not product sales, from their advisers. That’s a perfect fit for firms like ours that provide financial planning and investment management services on a fee-only (non-commission) basis. No hustle, just advice and education.
- Final observation: No way could I ever move back to Washington D.C., my former home of 8+ years. Don’t get me wrong. I love Washington and all the great restaurants, smart people, and urban vibe. But I’m totally spoiled by my (less than) 5 minute commute in Boca Raton. If I had to commute up to 1½ hours each way, I’d up and retire, pronto. Sorry, Washingtonians! I love to visit, but I’m staying put here.