With women having more money and controlling more wealth, financial advisors need to engage with them so women can have money for retirement—and for advisors to see their own businesses grow, said Sallie Krawcheck, chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional woman’s network.
Speaking at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago on Thursday, she said women control $5 trillion in wealth on their own, not jointly with their spouse. With their spouse they control another $6 trillion.
“Their wealth is growing faster than gentlemen’s wealth. Women are going to be the majority of millionaires in the not so [distant] future,” Krawcheck said.
But many women aren’t investing, and much of it is because they don’t like their financial advisors. Two-thirds of affluent women say they’re unhappy with their financial advisor, and 86 percent say the financial-services industry does not serve them well.
“When the couple has a financial advisor and the husband dies, she leaves her joint financial advisor 70 percent of the time within a year,” she said.
Krawcheck said there are five ways to combat this:
• Talk to women, not at them, and don’t use industry jargon.
• Really focus on risk. “The majority of affluent women have ‘bag-lady syndrome.’ Women value wealth preservation seven times more than upside potential,” Krawcheck said.
• Women want a holistic view, not just a discussion about their portfolio. A woman’s greatest asset is herself and her future earnings. If a financial advisor can bring in a rounded view of assets and risks that includes her job, her spouse’s job, home and the like, she can put it in context.
• Women are more concerned about costs of living—sending children to college, buying a home, having enough to retire—rather than whether or not their portfolio surpassed the index that year.
• Values-based investing is important. Ninety percent of women want to have a social impact in the course of their lives and 77 percent want to invest in companies with diverse leadership, Krawcheck said, citing Ellevate data. Financial advisors need to show them the opportunity for this type of investing.
She offered that women are still being treated as a niche market, but that’s a mistake because helping women invest would “bring positive solutions to the retirement crisis, bring capital off the sidelines and use capital to have a positive impact. There are billions and trillions of dollars out there,” she said.