Four Steps to Improve Financial Literacy for Women

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Like in so many industries that are predominantly male-led, the financial services sector has largely neglected the female perspective in finance. Women control a little over half of U.S. personal wealth, and by the end of the decade are expected to control an additional $30 trillion. Yet, women remain the largest underserved group of investors, which means financial advisors who are ill-prepared to serve women are leaving a $700 billion opportunity untapped.

What the industry is doing

Recognizing the size of that revenue opportunity, endless companies and institutions are researching how to better understand women’s attitudes and behaviors when it comes to managing their finances. While research delivers helpful insights, we as a profession have been slow to change our approach when interacting with women. We need to stop treating women like male decision makers and do more to understand the role they play in their financial lives and how that evolves over time.

Here are four steps financial advisors can take to improve financial literacy for women:

Create a connection to their money – and you

Begin by acquiring deeper insights into a woman's comprehension of her financial situation, attitudes, behaviors, concerns and areas of interest. Acknowledge the impact of personal experiences with money on shaping a woman's relationship with it. Work together to expand her understanding and identify what would instill the most confidence in her ability to navigate her financial life.

Developing a deeper level of engagement will foster a stronger personal connection. Compared to men, women are more likely to seek a financial advisor who is a good personality match. With this understanding, genuinely get to know women as individuals, align with their values, and invest in their success. Women seek an advisor who will engage them in the process and guide them with respect, rather than simply relying on the "trust me" approach.