Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus…That’s surely a blast from the past. A piece of pop-culture, a book from the 1990’s that basically stated that common relationship problems between men and women were the result of fundamental physiological differences. In short, these differences, according to the author, concluded that each gender could be understood by how they responded to stress and stressful situations. In order to harmoniously live with and understand each other and enjoy a successful relationship, we, as men, have to understand what makes the female watch tick. So what is the relevance of a bestseller from the 1990’s in our financial world?
Here are some facts:
• In the next five years, private wealth is expected to grow from $14 trillion to $22 trillion. And women will control an estimated two thirds of it.
• Women are the primary breadwinners in 40% of households with children.
• When couples interact with a financial advisor, the “man” is the primary contact in 58% of those relationships.
• 70% of women leave their advisors within one year of their husband’s death.
Does that get your attention?
What’s two thirds of $22 trillion? OK, point made. There’s a great deal of opportunity there. But how do we as financial advisors open the door? That’s where the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus principle kicks in. If we don’t understand the physiological triggers of the gender that will control over $14 trillion in wealth, how can we possibly earn our respective share of that market?
In order to further demonstrate the importance of the influence women have, here is a brief listing of the growing number of women’s groups that exist today:
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
Association for Women in Communications (AWC)
The Center for Women’s Business Research
Financial Women’s Association (FWA)
General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC)
League of Women Voters of the United States (LWV)
National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National Women’s Business Council (NWBC)
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
Women in Technology International (WITI)
Women’s Sports Foundation
As you can see, women have taken a huge role in shaping the financial future of our country. With this strong presence, you can see where the need for financial products arises. The problem is that most advisors don’t know how to properly cater to women. When it comes to working with a financial advisor, a common complaint is that women are either ignored or overlooked during the process. Feeding into traditional gender roles is a huge mistake. As evidenced in the earlier facts, women represent a dominant role as breadwinners and as major decision makers. So traditional, stereotypical conventions have to be thrown out the window.
In addition, women want someone who they believe is transparent, honest and open. They want someone who is reliable and someone who they can trust. Communication on an on-going basis is also key. But most of all, we must respect and acknowledge her role as a financial decision maker. There is no need to over complicate the process. It is simply adopting these simple principles and understanding the basic physiological triggers that can be found on Venus and you know what, there’s no need to take a spaceship to get there.