Financial Planning - - CONTENT - To learn more about in­vestor psy­chol­ogy and how FAS can bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate with their clients, go to Hart­ford Funds’ Hu­man­cen­tricin­vest­

“Women want to en­vi­sion the fu­ture they are sav­ing for.” — Gail Blanke

Why do you think women who have over­come the hur­dles to en­ter­ing the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor pro­fes­sion are in a bet­ter po­si­tion to coun­sel their clients than male ad­vi­sors?

The traits of a good fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor—build­ing re­la­tion­ships, nur­tur­ing them, form­ing emo­tional bonds and re­ally lis­ten­ing to your clients—are all traits that are tra­di­tion­ally as­so­ci­ated with women. Which is not to say that some men don’t have them. But most women start out a step or two ahead in de­vel­op­ing those skills. Th­ese traits are par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant when coun­sel­ing fe­male clients. Women don’t just want to know that their fi­nan­cial plan is built to amass a cer­tain amount of money by a cer­tain date. They also want to en­vi­sion the fu­ture they are sav­ing for. They want to know what the money is for and what they can ac­com­plish with it. That’s an at­ti­tude another woman may be best suited to ad­dress.

So if an ad­vi­sor is sep­a­rately coun­sel­ing two clients— one male and the other fe­male—about their in­di­vid­ual re­tire­ment plan­ning, how would you rec­om­mend they ap­proach those clients dif­fer­ently?

For a woman, I think it would be vi­tal to ask, “What do you want your life to be like at re­tire­ment?” For her to be mo­ti­vated to want to do the hard stuff it takes to save for re­tire­ment, it’s im­por­tant to have that vi­sion in front of her—the fun she’ll be hav­ing, what she’ll be do­ing with her grand­chil­dren, the dif­fer­ence she might be mak­ing in some­one else’s life, etc.

While some male clients might be best mo­ti­vated by the same ap­proach, for many men, money is a way of keep­ing score; it’s about math. What do I need? How long is it go­ing to take us to amass it? How can I be guar­an­teed that this is go­ing to add up the way I want it to in the time frame that I’ve got? Pe­riod.

How have you seen th­ese in­ter­per­sonal dy­nam­ics play out with the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors you coun­sel?

A fe­male fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor I know well is there for her clients in ways that a close friend would be. She at­tended the fu­neral of a client’s wife, and the col­lege grad­u­a­tion of the child of another client. She doesn’t do this in some phony way. Sure, by car­ing about other peo­ple she builds their trust and their con­fi­dence in her. But she takes en­ergy from do­ing those things. And she’s formed not just re­la­tion­ships with clients, but bonds that are un­break­able.

For many clients, money is an emo­tional com­mod­ity. When an ad­vi­sor un­der­stands not just what a client thinks about money, but how they feel about it, they can do things to­gether that they never would have ex­pected they could do.

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