While the gap appears to be narrowing, research shows that women, particularly women of the baby boom generation, feel less confident than men about managing money.1 At CCM, we are very intentional about involving all of our clients—women and men—in the integrated planning process. It’s very important to us that all clients feel heard and understood, such that they have the confidence that their financial plan is designed with their individual goals and priorities at the center.
CCM Women’s Initiative
For more than six years, the CCM Women’s Initiative has existed to promote the financial empowerment of women. Our Women’s Initiative develops articles, events, and educational sessions specifically designed to connect with and empower women in their financial journey. We think it’s working! It’s rewarding for us, as advisors on the CCM team, to have the opportunity to engage with so many clients who are women. Of nearly 1,200 client relationships, 90% of them involve a woman, and more than 25% are with women who are single, divorced, or widowed.
In addition to serving clients, CCM’s Women’s Initiative amplifies the voices of women on our advisory team. While the financial services industry is actively working to expand the number of women in the profession, at present just 23% of all CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ (CFP®s) are women.2 At CCM, we’re proud to say that 35% of our advisory team members are women—60% of the women on our advisory team have obtained their CFP® certification, three of our women colleagues are CPAs, and two of our women colleagues hold a JD. Overall, more than 50% of our colleagues at the firm are women.
What We Know About Serving Women
Please, make no mistake about it: all of our clients are very important to us, and each has different needs. The following points are based on industry research as well as my own observations having advised clients for many years. They are some of the key tenets we have in mind when identifying how our Women’s Initiative can best provide support.
- A recent study published by Merrill Lynch reports that just 52% of women say they are confident about investing, compared to 68% of men.3 We believe everyone should feel more confident with a partner like CCM supporting them in their financial journey. To accomplish this, it’s important for us to communicate clearly, educate, and inform our clients about why we recommend the solutions offered to them, and how we arrive at those recommendations.
- Collaboration is often more enjoyable for women than for men and therefore may be more highly valued. In this regard, advisory relationships may be more important for women, especially those who find comfort in knowing any question can be asked and will be answered, and that the important strategies recommended can be discerned over time when their impact can be better understood. At CCM, we strive to advise all clients in a comprehensive, collaborative manner.
- Another important consideration is that, in general, women tend to be more conservative investors.4 While greater risk aversion can help investors avoid unnecessary losses, the potential downside is that it can lead to falling short of long-term financial goals. CCM’s philosophy about risk is to help our clients understand the relationship between risk and reward so that they take the appropriate amount of investment risk to meet their goals.
- One of the practical realities for women is that according to current statistics, on average, American women live nearly six years longer than men.5 This means that most women will likely be managing their own finances at some point in their lives. For this reason, it is important for married women who have traditionally deferred to their spouse’s financial interests and knowledge to actively engage in the planning experience. Our intent is to make this as comfortable, valuable, and enjoyable as possible.
When it comes right down to it, many men might say they have the exact same wishes with regard to their financial advisor. They want to be confident in their investment decisions, understand and be educated, take the appropriate time to discern a decision’s impact, and collaborate with us. From our perspective, this is a good thing. At CCM, we pledge to work with all clients, women and men, to earn their trust by understanding their goals and desires for their financial future and then help them meet those goals.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, United States, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db427.htm
NOTE: The information provided in this article is intended for clients of Carlson Capital Management. We recommend that individuals consult with a professional adviser familiar with their particular situation for advice concerning specific investment, accounting, tax, and legal matters before taking any action.