Women have made amazing strides in the field of finance in recent years. However, we still have a long way to go. There are fewer female investors, fewer female financial advisors, and overall, women have less confidence in their financial skills.
Now, I’m not pointing fingers… but financial advisors have unfortunately not always done a lot to help these situations. How do I know this? Because up to 70% of recent widows leave their financial advisor after their husbands’ deaths.
These women leave because they didn’t feel valued, respected, or taken care of. So, ask yourself… are you being treated as an equal partner?
Signs to watch for:
- Is communication regarding joint accounts addressed to you or only your spouse?
Remember, a joint account is as equally yours as it is your spouse’s. You both should be involved and informed.
- Who does the advisor hand the statements to?
Think back to your last appointment at your advisor’s office (maybe pre-COVID!). Your advisor hands over a statement. Who does your advisor hand the papers to? Your partner? You? Both of you?
I KNOW I have been guilty of handing statements to just one spouse who I ASSUMED was most in control of the finances. This is wrong wrong wrong because:
- I should never assume… because I might be incorrect
- Both partners need to see and understand the statements
- I inadvertently send a non-verbal message that the female partner is less important. I say female because unfortunately, it is generally the male partner who takes most control of the financial planning (at least from my own observations of working in this field).
- Are you engaged in conversation?
Are you being talked at or talked with? Pay attention to see if your advisor asks for your opinion, your personal goals, and about your own risk tolerances. Your financial plan and investments need to align with both you and your partner.
The most vocal partner is not necessarily the one who makes the “final decision” on financial matters. It is wise for us financial advisors to remember that.
If you think, “Hmm. My financial advisor has definitely handed only my husband statements” or “I am not nearly as engaged in conversation by my advisor as my husband is”… please, please don’t automatically assume your advisor is a bad person or a bad advisor! It means that they are human. Unfortunately, there are years of unintentional, predisposed prejudice and bad habits lingering around. Most of us are trying very hard to improve. Please share your concerns with your advisor and ask that you be equally involved in the financial planning process. Most advisors are good people who want to do better. Give them that chance. But then, be aware – don’t let them slip into bad habits of treating you unequally, or it might be time to find a new advisor!
I talked more on the topic of women and investing on The Invested Dad’s podcast HERE. Give it a listen.