When you meet with a husband and wife to discuss their retirement plans, do you only look at the guy? I mean you must figure the woman doesn't know a thing about investing, right? Or perhaps doesn't care? After all, women are from Venus and men are from Mars, no? SmartMoney, in a recent cover story, concludes: "All too often, women come out on the losing end" when it comes to the "male-centric" world of retirement planning. They get a raw deal because they are women! Is that a load of crap or what?
Perhaps it isn't. After all, women do live longer and so have to save more earlier. But I think it might be a little bit crappy. The article, in the October issue of SmartMoney (the Wall Street Journal magazine for peronsal business, as it used to be called and where I worked as a senior editor back in the day) calls women when it comes to financial matters, "The Forgotten Majority." It cites surveys of women saying they fee underserved by the financial planning industry and, when financial firms do aim at women, it'll advertise a patronizing pitch, such as, give your finances a makeover.
The most telling of all, the magazine says: "Seven out of 10 widows and divorced women leave the advisers that their spouses used, according to a study by financial -services giant Allianz."
Firing advisors is nothing new by heirs. But I wonder what that stat would look like if you take out divorced women from the survey. I mean, what divorced woman wouldn't fire her ex's FA? Perhaps the number of disgrunted falls.
So it turns out that on average women don't like financial jargon, according to SmartMoney. They don't like the hard-charging advisor . . . That may be, but to call women the forgotten majority seems overstated. Which is why here at Registered Rep. avoid "gender" articles, such as other magazines do ("America's Top Women FAs!"). I hate that gender stuff. Financial plans should be centered around a person's individual circumstances and that includes longevity estimates and acutarial tables and not just risk tolerance. That seems elemental to me. Perhaps the problem is on the side of the female: She may not be an informed consumer and so feels put out, left out and unable to understand what the financial plan is all about. You don't have to be a female to be put off by financial jargon, but the fact is, an advisor needs to put financial concepts in ways that their clients can understand, whether they are male or female. Think of it as having good "bedside manner."