Advisor Today - November/December 2015 - (Page 44)

FiNaNcial plaNNiNg By Asalyn Coachman, J.D., A.B. Working with Single Women They seek a professional who is sensitive to their issues and who will make them feel confident. T he growing number of professional single women in the U.S.  has created a niche market for advisors, who can help guide them through their financial futures.  A benefit of working with single women lies in the network of referrals  created through each client. One wonderful client can refer her  advisor to another wonderful client, who can refer the advisor to another client, and so on. But working effectively with single women means understanding the nuances of their personal and professional lives in order to be sensitive to their needs and concerns. Being single does not necessarily mean that a women lives by herself-it simply means that she is the head of her household and has a lot of responsibility. Challenges facing the single female It is clear that women are working hard both inside and outside the home. The challenge for many is to find a balance between growing their career and running their household. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women still do most of the housework, even though they make up almost half of the American workforce. Furthermore, although more women are obtaining college degrees than men, a wage gap still persists in compensation. For example, women earned just 76.5 cents for every dollar that men did in 2012, according to Commerce Department data. Women clients face unique challenges when planning for their financial futures. They earn less pay, have fewer chances for career advancement and have difficulty entering traditionally maledominated fields. Additionally, if they choose to stay home with 44 ADVISOR TODAY | November/December 2015 Helping a single woman plan for the future means helping her understand what her needs will be and finding the most effective way to protect that future. their children and then re-enter the workforce, they run the risk of losing years of income, benefits and job promotions. As a result, a woman's lifetime income can be substantially less than that of her male counterpart. Lower income is only half of the problem, because dollars earned often have to stretch further, as women's life expectancies are longer than those of men. According to the Social Security Administration, for instance, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3, while a woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.6. A woman must plan for a longer life with fewer dollars. The financial professional who works with women needs to understand these facts and statistics- because female clients do. They may not know the specific numbers, but they understand the need to provide for themselves financially for a long time, and they are concerned about their ability to do so. When working with a woman who is single, these concerns are magnified. Factors for success A single woman who seeks the aid of a financial professional will generally do so upon the recommendation of another woman. The woman who gave the recommendation will do so if she feels that the advisor has won her trust. Winning her trust goes beyond financial calculations-it means being genuinely interested in her life, her family, her career, her passions and yes, her financial issues. The first meeting with a single woman is critical to establishing trust, and finding common interests will ease the conversation. Showing a genuine curiosity or a willingness to learn about her passions will go a long way. Women establish connections through conversation: asking and answering questions, finding similarities and making connections through other friends. Time invested in these non-financial conversations at the outset will reap rewards later. As the meeting progresses, it is important to let the single client feel that she is in a judgment-free zone. Even if a level of trust and rapport has been established, she may still feel anxious about disclosing information regarding previous financial mistakes. Many are still carrying guilt from previous errors, whether self-imposed or not.  To be effective, the financial professional must understand what happened in her financial life before the meeting. Creating an atmosphere in which all issues can be discussed is important. Perhaps one of the most important things for the financial professional to understand is the type of single female client sitting in the meeting with him. Has she ever married, been divorced or widowed or is she recently out of a relationship? These are not questions the financial professional wants to start out asking; instead, the answers should come through conversation. For a woman, her personal status starts out as just that-personal. If she is single, she is already bombarded with questions about her

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - November/December 2015

From the Editor
New Products
In Step with a Winner
Finding Success in the Chinese-American Market
Dealing with Client Confidentiality
Hashtag Your Way to Social Media Relevance
Starting the LTCI Conversation
From Term to Perm
Protecting the Downside with Allocation Adjustment
Jules Gaudreau: A NAIFA Success Story
Helping Clients Cope with Market Volatility
NAIFA Government Relations
Working with Single Women
Financial Planning FAQs of Small-Business Owners
Three Retirement Conversations to Have with Clients Today
The Advent of Robo-Advisors
Moving into the Retirement Space with 401(k) and 403(b) Plans
Moving the Sales Process Forward
Cultivating the African American Market
The Lighter Side of LIfe
Advertiser Index
Back Page

Advisor Today - November/December 2015