Savings & Investment

Do Women Get A Lack Of Respect From Their Investment Advisor?

Yes, according to a study, or at least that is the perception from the women. Of course if you are the financial advisor the perception is all that matters. I am skeptical for a number of reasons but primarily for the fact that the study interviewed millionaires. But there is no doubt that a high percentage of women are anxious about the choosing of a broker to help them with their investments. That can be for a number of reasons, but to a large degree it may come down to the fact that men tend to take a more macho attitude toward investments (not all of them!). Where men may be just as nervous in choosing the right broker, they also feel a bit of a suck-it-up attitude and plow ahead. A no pain -no gain paradigm exists in the investment world and for whatever reason that seems to be an outlook more prevalent in men. Of course, there are many ways to reach one’s goals and no approach is necessarily better than another, although the actual plan is of paramount importance. On the advisor side of things, women may be misunderstood:

Advisers, meanwhile, have complaints of their own. Some have told me (in my capacity as a financial writer) that women tend to be more plodding in their decision-making and need more hand-holding than men and that they’re less willing to take on aggressive investments then men, even when it’s wholly appropriate to consider them.

While the first paragraph may hint that I agree with this statement, I really have some problems with it. Obviously, in a post like this as well as the linked article, there is a requirement to sort of lump huge categories, like men or women, into these unified masses. Naturally, there are lots (and lots!) of exceptions to these perceptions. The advisors that are being lumped together in that blurb actually sound like jerks. I have a feeling that they are New York City brokers who feel as if their time is of utmost importance and they can’t tolerate their peon clients not immediately taking their advice as if it came from God.

There is some useful advice at the link as the author goes over a few things to look for in a broker. Some of it may be a bit silly in the real world, such as asking a potential financial advisor how many clients of his are women. Uh…why? Every broker has some women clients. What if he says, say 43 — is that good? Is 59 better? Generally though, it’s decent advice and I especially agreed with this:

“You will know in the first 10 minutes if someone really understands you or only wants to talk about your investments,” O’Connor says… If all the questions are about how much money you have and how much you earn, you should look for another adviser.

While it’s a bit vague, it is also spot on. No investment advisor worth his salt will be asking nuts and bolts questions such as how much do you earn, net worth etc. in the first ten minutes. Why? Because it is irrelevant. If your broker doesn’t know what you are trying to accomplish by having investment advice then the whole process is useless. Any good broker will be asking all sorts of questions about your goals and aspirations for your investments. Detailing to the penny your net worth is something required near the end of the conversation not the beginning. Now, in the real world, the potential investment advisor probably knows the approximate amount before the meeting as the potential client usually describes the situation during the appointment setting. But it is important regardless. An advisor should learn about a client (men and women by the way) somewhat in depth before coming up with any suggestions. As I say, there are some other good nuggets at the link so be sure to give it a look. I tend to have a different perspective and therefore my next post will be about my views on how women should choose an investment advisor — so stay tuned!

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