A mentor once told me to “go where people are not going,” and I’ve kept this advice in mind as I work to help financial professionals grow their businesses.
I talked with a very dear advisor recently. When we discussed how he could grow his new client business, I asked him this question: “Are you marketing to people who look like me?” He had a confused look on his face and asked what I meant. I continued, “I am a 46-year-old, successful businesswoman who works for a large national firm. I am a single mom and an empty nester who makes a very good living. Are you reaching out to people who look like me?” After a long pause, he admitted he was not.
In talking with him, I could tell it hadn’t occurred to him that those women are generally underserved when it comes to financial advice and that this could be a very strong focus for him. We brainstormed and came up with a few attorneys with whom he could work with in this area, and we started putting the framework together for an interesting women’s event.
Today, women control one-third of U.S. household financial assets, or a total of $10.9 trillion, according to a McKinsey & Co. survey. However, many women lack the “safe space” to ask questions to qualified financial experts and educate themselves on how to increase their financial security. This can lead to low confidence in investing, which translates into fewer women investing in the market. This also means that women may not be getting the opportunity to do foundational risk planning with life insurance, long-term care insurance/linked benefits, disability insurance and annuities, all of which are crucial to a woman’s overall financial plan.
I recently attended Virago, a women’s summit put together by an amazing team at Prudential, to discuss financial and insurance challenges unique to women. We shared so many stories of ways advisors treat women differently when they are part of a couple and how women aren’t being marketed to when it comes to significant financial decisions. Yet there is such a need to fill this void.
We learned that by 2030, women will control as much as two-thirds of the nation’s wealth (up quite a bit based on the present numbers). McKinsey, in their paper “Women As The Next Wave Of Growth In U.S. Wealth Management,” broke this down further and said that “By 2030, American women are expected to control much of the $30 trillion in financial assets that baby boomers will possess—a potential wealth transfer of such magnitude that it approaches the annual gross domestic product of the United States. After years of playing second fiddle to men, women are poised to take center stage.”
So what can you do to grow your client base to include more female clients? I believe that it starts with more education. Offering events that cater specifically to women on topics such as planning after divorce, how finances are impacted when a spouse dies, extended care planning (for women as well as their parents), planning for moms who work in the household, planning for female business owners, and even how COVID-19 created increased financial challenges for women are all great topics to address. Advertising that you put special time aside for women’s general financial planning conversations and creating that “safe space” to ask questions, basic or advanced, could go a long way in better serving the female population.
And the next time you meet someone who looks like me at a community event where you are prospecting new clients, introduce yourself and tell them how you help financially empower women, and you might get yourself a new client!
Eileen Shovlin is regional director, sales, at Crump Life Insurance Services. She may be contacted at [email protected].