Nearly half of mothers (42%) are sole or primary breadwinners for their families, bringing in at least half of the earnings, according to data from 2015. Another quarter (22.4%) were co-breadwinners, bringing home 25% to 49% of earnings.
In the past, when men bore most of the responsibility for making the money, the task of managing the family's finances and savings typically fell on them as well.
Now that more mothers are breadwinners, they are more likely to find themselves also serving as family CFO. The role is completely foreign to many, and, understandably, they often feel ill-equipped.
At Relevé, many of our female clients are heads of their households and their family's primary or co-breadwinner. Advisers who understand the specific (often complex) needs of female breadwinners will have an edge when it comes to working with them.
Female breadwinners lead busy and complicated lives.
Often these women are balancing career and family obligations, struggling to make peace with conflicting demands on their time and money. Many are in the throes of transition issues, such as the death of a spouse, divorce or a career change.
They look to their financial adviser to be one area of their life they don't have to manage.
Women think they need more education to make financial decisions than male counterparts.
According to a white paper published by Spectrem Group, 34% of wealthy women believe they lack financial knowledge, compared to only 15% of men.
Female breadwinners typically lack education, confidence and time when it comes to managing their money, yet they have often amassed healthy retirement and investment accounts. They have a lot at stake.
Advisers, take note.
Women want an authentic advisory experience.
Female breadwinners want to be seen as more than a client with a retirement account. They want their adviser to know them as a person. In fact, some want their adviser to know their whole family. They tend to have substantial interest in legacy planning and may want their adviser to know family members well enough to better advise them on wealth transfer strategies.
Busy female breadwinners don't tend to change business relationships that are working well; they don't have time.
Women want their adviser to be a go-to resource on multiple matters.
Female breadwinners usually wear many hats and want a financial adviser who can assist them beyond investment advice.
They often rely on their adviser as a resource and sounding board on all sorts of subjects, from a new business idea to a sensitive family issue. They may seek advice on job-related matters including salary negotiations, signing bonuses and stock options.
The lesson for advisers: A client who trusts you enough to ask for guidance in numerous areas of life is a client who is more likely to be around for the long term.
Women want their adviser to be a partner in decisions — not just a person telling them what to do.
Female breadwinners are typically master decision-makers in their particular area of expertise. They know their worth in the workplace and want to be treated as an equal by their adviser. They are looking for a collaborative relationship rather than a sales pitch.
They respond well when an adviser provides a range of options so that together they can decide on the best strategies to pursue. They want to understand the thinking behind the recommendation.
Female breadwinners are looking for all of this in a safe environment where they feel understood and supported.
As technology contributes to the ongoing evolution of the financial advice business, advisers have new options to pursue in building their practice.
You can play a role in clients' lives that goes beyond planning and investment management. Developing a more holistic relationship with clients provides you with the opportunity to help women grow their financial strength as well as their portfolios.
Dawn Jurkovich is the founding partner and president of private wealth advisory Relevé Financial Group with locations in Minneapolis, Minn., and Scottsdale, Ariz.