The Three Biggest Mistakes Financial Advisors Make When Working With Women

Not understanding how to create a relationship 

Most financial advisors were educated in the male dominated investment industry and were taught how to put together a solid investment portfolio. They would often talk "down" to their female client, particularly if the advisor felt the client was not initiated in the ways of the investment world. Rarely did they take the time to cultivate a relationship — they were too busy managing money.

The successful advisor spends the time to educate their female clients and create unique solutions to fit the particular circumstances for each individual. This entails not only educating the client on the plusses and minuses of each option, but also following through after the decision is made to continue to communicate with the client to make sure there is a complete understanding.

Not understanding what a newly divorced, or widowed, woman needs 

Many financial advisors get paid solely on managing money. Whether it is a percentage of assets or a commission based model, most jump at the opportunity, immediately, to "touch the money." For the recently widowed or divorced woman, this is a huge mistake.

After such a life altering event, it is important to let life settle. It is crucial to the success of the long-term emotional, and financial, well being for a woman to get grounded, at some level, before moving on to making important decisions such as those dealing with money. The advisor who takes the time to help the client through this time, and not jump immediately to "the money," will have set the foundation for a truly rewarding, long-term relationship. Many advisors who are successful in this area charge a fee for the planning. In this way, they are getting paid for their advice and can wait until it is the right time to put in place the money management suitable for the client.

Not understanding how to listen to their female clients 

Many years ago, when my daughter was 7, I learned a valuable lesson. It was about how to listen, and no conference or seminar was as good as teaching me this lesson as my daughter was. Erica would come to me when she was supposed to take a bath and ask if she should wash her hair. Of course you have to wash your hair, I would say, and World War 3 would break out. It was not a fun conversation. So one day I tried a different tactic, and when she came to me with the same question, I told her she did not have to wash her hair that night. Interesting, she went ahead and washed it anyway.

The lesson — she truly wasn't asking if she should be washing her hair, she just wanted to know if she had the choice to do it. So many times my female clients are asking questions in an effort to gather intelligence, and hearing what they are truly asking is important, if we are to respond properly.