The financial services industry’s record when it comes to helping women improve their financial literacy has been a mixed bag. However, several women and their firms are picking up the slack.

Financial literacy is considered a pivotal first step in helping women, who are poised to inherit a majority of the anticipated $30 trillion expected to change hands over the next 20 years as part of the so-called Great Wealth Transfer, break into the financial service industry.

“This is a topic that needs to be shouted from the rooftops because we have such a huge opportunity as an industry to seize this next generation client to serve women in a way that has not necessarily been intrinsically woven into the financial services industry up until this point,” said Shannon Spotswood, president of Birmingham, Ala.-based RFG Advisory, an independent advisory firm.

Some women in the industry are taking the initiative when it comes to financial education.

Jessica Perrone, who runs a platform for financial literacy entitled HerFinIQ, offers three online courses for women at the various stages of the investment cycle with the goal of giving them the confidence to understand the basics of finance so they are not afraid to participate.

“When you don’t know what needs to be done, you’re in paralysis, but when you know what needs to be done, then you know what baby steps are in front of you,” she said. “It’s a roadmap of all the ways that women can put their money together.”

The three online classes she is currently offering are “Before Investing”, “Investing for Beginners” and “Stocks and ETFs Simplified.” 

“What these three courses are doing is giving women the vocabulary and the framework to speak to a financial advisor and understand all the ways that their money can be put to work,” she said.

The cost for the courses is $200 for “Before Investing” and $250 each for the other two, Perrone said. She taught all three courses previously before small groups of women and included them as courses on her site to reach a wider audience.

She is hoping to expand her online course lineup to include one about self-directed investing and another on stock market sectors and industry groups.

Perrone is a veteran of the industry who co-founded Trade The News, an online service that provides real-time news, analysis, and market data for active traders and institutions.

RFG Advisory, meanwhile, has launched StrongHer Money, a platform dedicated to empowering women through education to live financially fearless, according to Spotswood.

The firm introduced the platform five years ago in response to reports about women feeling left out of the conversation when talking to advisors. It offers a series of educational tools to help women better understand finances, including a glossary of jargon-free financial terms, she said. 

The firm also hosted two education series. One helps women manage their finances and the other shows them how to live without fearing finances, according to Spotswood. Those events are an opportunity for women of different generations to come together, learn from each other, and support one another. 

"There is a hunger and an appetite and a passion for financial education,” Spotswood said. “This is all about leaning in to delivering education and that is the secret to the success that we’ve had with StrongHer Money.”

RFG plans to expand the platform later this year with a new website, new online education videos, an “Ask Me Anything” segment, enhanced services for advisors, and all new marketing materials. It will also be building out its dedicated StrongHer money team, she said.

In addition, the site will provide an opportunity for clients to connect with advisors who align with their values and interests, according to Spotswood.

Some firms say they are trying to be more attentive to women's needs in their day-to-day operations.

Angeles Wealth Management of Santa Monica, Calif., says it is taking a more targeted approach by addressing the specific questions and needs that are on women’s minds. The firm is also making sure they are accessible to all their clients and in particular women, according to Chloe Wohlforth, a partner in the firm's New York office. 

“I’m always pretty transparent with people to let them know that it is not their job to become an expert. That’s our job,” she said. “So, it’s really up to them to be transparent into how much into the weeds they want to go, and we can get them up to speed in a way that makes sense.”

However, she pointed out that many female clients have a strong understanding of finances through their family’s needs and goals. 

“Women are coming to us in many different life stages, but they have a very good understanding of the pulse of their family,” she said. “Women become very well-versed in financial literacy just from having a good understanding of what their family needs are.”

New York-based Domain Money is taking a similar approach when it comes to helping women become more comfortable with the financial services industry.

“We are trying to de-mystify the financial institutional speak and put it into terms that people can understand,” said Joanne Bradford chief money officer at Domain Money, in an interview. “Specifically at Domain Money, we’re building tools and a process that is very transparent and very focused on your personal situation to answer the questions you have at a particular moment in time.”