The Emotional Life of a Woman and Her Money

Judy was panicked over her investments and frozen in indecision about what to do next. The market wasn’t doing well and she wasn’t sure what all of this meant for her. She was in her mid-fifties, didn’t have a pension (darn those years of doing her own thing) and was single. Late at night, while lying in bed, she was obsessed with the haunting images of ending up as a bag lady, pushing a cart down the street and wearing old clothes. She knew this was irrational- after all she was well educated and considered a success by any objective standard. But she couldn’t get these thoughts out of her head.

Whenever she heard from her investment advisor, she grew more frustrated. He just didn’t seem to get it. The more she expressed her anxiety, the more he talked about numbers, ratios, forecasts, averages, and projections. By the time he got to his third piece of information about her portfolio, she wasn’t even listening anymore. Oh, she was polite enough and looked attentive, but she was overwhelmed by the rush of emotion and the overload of data. She didn’t feel her advisor really understood her- he was a successful guy who looked so confident. And whenever she told him she was anxious, he just responded by giving her more information. She wanted to scream- or cry. All she wished for was to be understood and reassured. Maybe she should find a new advisor- this situation was never going to change. And there was no point in bringing it up to him- he just didn’t seem to understand. She didn’t trust what she was hearing and she certainly didn’t trust that he appreciated her situation.

This is a real scenario and typical of what is happening in the financial services world. Women are frustrated with the inability of most financial institutions to realize that their approach to investing is unique and not like a male approach. This is the reason so many are demanding female advisors. The industry, however, is sadly under-served by women As a result, the business is neglecting the needs of women and are thus ignoring hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue and profit.

It is time for those in financial services to take charge of the situation and give women what they have been asking for. If not, women will find something else to invest their money in, and it won’t be the market.

One of the first things advisors need to understand in dealing with women is that the relationship is all important. This requires advisors to shift mindsets from selling to listening. Advisors also need to slow down and invest the time to develop the relationship. Throw out the script and the process- it won’t help here. What women; no, all customers, want is genuineness. They want advisors to be real. And to know that they are sincere. They want to be reassured that not only are they being listened to, but that they’re really being heard. That advisors are invested in their dreams, their ambitions and that their fears and insecurities are understood.

Right about now, you’re probably thinking that we’re advocating that you become well-versed in managing your advisor. Absolutely not. But we are advocating that women learn how to have a meaningful conversation with her advisor. It’s not impossible and doesn’t require you to change women to change who they are or to fake it. There are skills and methods which will make it easier. But it’s important for women because, at the end of the day, women need to be in control of their money.

Building a trusting relationship with women investors is a different journey than building one with men. If a woman feels rushed into buying a product, she will likely be turned off or scared away. Women want an advisor who understands them, know how they think and what her values are. She will want to ensure that her advisor’s values align with her values. If an advisor can achieve that, he or she is one step closer to building a trusting and good relationship with women clients.


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