Whose Money Is It? Women Clients Are Astute Wealth Owners

Friday, March 16, 2012 07:15
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Whose Money Is It? Women Clients Are Astute Wealth Owners

Tags: business strategy | client communications | client education | marketing | niche management

As of a recent report, two thirds of the wealth in North America and Western Europe—a hefty $14.3 trillion—is controlled by women. North American women control $9 trillion of that amount. Since 2008, the amount of women-controlled wealth has compounded at a rate of 17%. How much of that wealth is in your client base?

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A couple met with an advisor who made eye contact primarily with the man, explaining investment strategies to him. After the woman left the room for a few minutes, the advisor asked the man which of the strategies he would like to employ. The man said, “You should have paid more attention to my wife. It’s her money, not mine!”  
 
Women do 80% of US spending and, in 2009, women made asset allocation decisions on $20 trillion of the world’s wealth. Women have become more confident in financial matters and more independent. More women are taking control of family finances. Opportunities for women in family businesses are increasing.
 
According to the World Bank, women control 25% to 33% of all global privately held businesses—businesses ranging from sole proprietor to multi-billion-dollar entities. Entrepreneurial women started businesses at a rate of one and one-half times that of men between 1997 and 2011. Women now own 29% of all companies in the US.
 
Forty-two percent of the wealth women control they made themselves. Since women live longer than men, women also are wealth inheritors—sometimes of significant lump sums.
How do women want to be treated by advisors?
 
Just expand your view. Fold women’s interests into your marketing efforts. Golf outings and box seats at a football game may be something that women enjoy, too, but make sure there are also perks at those events women will like. Hold events focused on women’s philanthropy, the arts, or a luncheon at a great women’s venue. Not that women want all powder-puff events or treatment. Women want their skills and attributes to be measured on par with men’s. They want access to the same information, the same special deals which may be offered, and equal considerations for financing. So if you’re offering a leather duffle bag to your clients who bring in referrals, make sure you also offer a version styled for women.
 
As with any investor, it’s a good idea to find out how much investment experience women have. Women want advisors to listen to them and they want the same advice men receive.
That said, women also want more customized service. Many women manage the finances for their families and will have goals and objectives based on family needs. They have their own ideas regarding estate planning and retirement. And events like marriage, divorce, and death of a spouse can change their investment goals and needs radically.
 
Women’s goals and needs may be different but that does not mean their appetite for risk and a broad range of investments is less than men’s. Although many women of wealth are philanthropic, they may not want to be restricted to social investing. Many women in business need estate planning advice and succession advice.
 
The number of women in the high net worth segment is projected to accelerate. Thirty percent of hign net worth women make investment decisions on their own, without consulting a spouse or family member. Fifty-five percent of women in the study mentioned above wished their advisors focused more on meeting their needs. We all know that the best and easiest way to grow a business is to find out what clients need and then give it to them.

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