Financial advisors who ignore the wife and speak only to the husband are completely missing the point of modern finances and philanthropy, according to Claire Costello of U.S. Trust.

Advisors need to address wives with the same seriousness they talk with husbands, ask the wives’ opinions and seek their advice, says Costello, national practice executive, philanthropic solutions.

Wives are likely to inherit money twice, once from their parents and then from their husbands, and if the advisor has not built a relationship with women they will have no loyalty to the advisor, adds Costello.

U.S. Trust research shows that in 90 percent of wealthy households the wife is either the sole decision-maker or an equal decision-maker in philanthropic giving. In 80 percent of households, women either make or share equally in all financial decisions.

“For women, the issue of wealth is not just what they can buy but also what they can do for the good of the world,” Costello says. “Giving back is the most important use of wealth for 45 percent of women.”

“Forty-seven percent of women view their investment decisions as a vehicle to further their social, political and environmental values,” U.S. Trust says. Women now control more than half of the wealth in the U.S. and the number of wealthy women is growing twice as fast as the number of wealthy men, according to U.S. Trust.

“As the participation of, and leadership by, women in the workforce, academia and politics and the economy continues to grow the challenge for women is to recognize their personal and collective power to deploy their wealth in ways that will have maximum impact,” U.S. Trust says.