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Why the Financial Industry Needs to Offer Coaching for Women

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A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that women have a hard time speaking up and talking about money, even with those they are close to.

The Fidelity Investments Money FIT Women Study found that women really are eager to increase their level of financial knowledge, yet they don’t know where to turn to get it.

Financial advisors would like to think that they have been effective in positioning themselves as a valuable financial resource, yet the majority of the women polled said they would not feel comfortable talking about money and investing with a financial professional.

Perhaps this is because, since the beginning of time, the financial services industry has focused their attention on serving male clients. Only recently have they begun to take notice of the difference in how men and women approach the topic of money.

Enter a new opportunity: Financial Coaching for Women.

With ninety-two percent of women feeling eager to learn more about financial planning, and eighty-three percent of women wanting to get more involved in their finances, as the study cites, I believe more programs offering financial coaching for women would support them in exploring and openly discussing money matters in a safe, non-threatening environment.

This would help women increase their level of financial literacy, and therefore their confidence. Then perhaps they wouldn’t feel so reluctant to discuss money, or even invest it, with a financial advisor.

When it comes to the world of finance and investing, business as usual cannot be tolerated if investment companies want to capture any portion of the 22 trillion dollars that women are projected to control by the year 2020.[1] The good-old-boys-club mentality is antiquarian in today’s reality of the rising economic force of women.

Attention: Financial institutions, investment and insurance companies and banks. Enough with the women and money studies already. You should know by now what women want and need. It’s time to start catering to the other gender.

As the Fidelity study discovered:

  • Women believe that they need more in-depth understanding and experience with the investment process to feel confident that they are making the right choices for themselves and their families.
  • Nearly 60 percent of women expressed financial anxiety about saving enough money for a comfortable retirement.

This represents a huge opportunity for those financial professionals who truly care about the financial wellbeing of both men and women, and not just about racking up high fees and commissions.

It’s time to consider implementing methodologies and processes – such as Financial Coaching – that can accommodate the unique needs of female investors.

Women reported that having more support would encourage them to become more involved in their finances, because they would feel more knowledgeable about their options. Additionally, seventy percent of women not currently working with a financial professional would feel encouraged to do so in the future, if they did feel supported.

It’s really not that difficult to understand. You see, it’s a lot like dating.

Women need to be courted, and in the process of courting – where finances are concerned – they need to be educated and feel supported.

So to you, conglomerates in the financial services industry, I say it’s time to wake up and smell the pink roses! Make financial coaching a preliminary step in the financial planning process, and you will attract more female clients than you can possibly handle.

[1] US Census Current Population Survey, 2012
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