Jackson National Life Insurance is stepping up its efforts to encourage women to start planning for their retirement and doing so by helping male financial advisors communicate better with women.

Women are generally not preparing well for their retirement. According to a Fidelity Investments’ 2021 Women and Investing Study, only 42% of women have a retirement strategy, and of those, only 15% have a written retirement strategy. Meanwhile, they are not getting a lot of assistance as 27% of women are not offered retirement benefits. In comparison, only 17% of men are not offered benefits, according to the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.

It is a bigger concern for women as many who are 65 can expect to live an average of another 22 years. And half of women between 55 and 66 do not have any personal savings, according to the United States Census Bureau. 

To rectify that, last year, Lansing, Mich. -based Jackson launched its “Investing in You Campaign” that targets women looking to plan for their retirement. In honor of Women’s History Month, the firm has refocused its efforts and is reaching out directly to male financial advisors.

“We need to target the male advisors because they are the majority and we need them to engage in this important group,” said Kristen Billows, regional vice president for Jackson National Life Distributors LLC. “We’ve created a program that can build awareness around the opportunity, specifically for women and we can help show women how working with a financial professional can turn their retirement into a reality.”

The firm is conducting seminars for advisors and their clients to help advisors communicate more effectively with their female clients. They also help women feel more comfortable in confronting their financial questions.

To complement those presentations Jackson also offers advisors a series of marketing materials including a PowerPoint presentation with a workbook that includes an overview of the presentation, an infographic, electronic flyers, and an invitation for advisors and planners to use with their clients, according to the firm. Advisors can use as much or as little of the tools as they wish.

“Whatever medium is going to be comfortable to connect because the goal is to empower the female investor to be a part of the conversation,” Billows said.

The campaign helps bridge the gap of communication between the advisor and the female client. The workbook in particular solicits thoughts about retirement as it asks a series of poignant questions about the client's plans and expectations for retirement. The advisor can then use that information in their conversations with their client.

“The content of everything that we’re doing is gender neutral but it’s critical that our advisors embrace them,” Billows said. “Often times they think they’re going to have to talk about female things.”

The campaign focuses on male advisors, as female advisors already know how to speak to the concerns of their female clients. The problem is there is a lack of female talent among advisors. Encouraging more women to become advisors can help make other women feel more comfortable in retirement planning, Billows said.

“The challenge is there aren’t a lot of female advisors in the space, so we have to grow that space to help with it,” she said.

While Jackson has stepped up its work to encourage more women to get involved in retirement planning due to Women’s History Month, Billows said this effort should not be restricted to one month a year.

“This should be a conversation that can happen any day of the week and any week of the year [and] this is not just a March thing,” she said. “Let’s get on the bandwagon and talk about it right now because it’s trending and this is really important.”