Planning for Divorced or Widowed Women
Following these guidelines can help you build trust and retain the female client who is on her own.
Planning for Divorced or Widowed Women Amy Corbett, CLU, CASL
Many financial advisors overlook the opportunity to work with an entire segment of the marketplace—divorced or widowed women. Male advisors may tend to gravitate towards male clients and often ask for referrals from other men.
There are many reasons why you should seek to work with divorced or widowed woman. After all, women outlive men and will ultimately need additional guidance when it comes to meeting each of life’s challenges head-on and being financially prepared to achieve their goals.
The process can begin early, while the woman is still with her spouse or partner. If you currently serve couples who are approaching their 60s, focus on securing the woman as a client now. Take some small steps now that will gain her trust and loyalty down the road in the event of a divorce or the death of her spouse.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when working with women:
• When advising a couple about their financial plan, help the woman feel comfortable, acknowledged and heard. Let her know you care about her opinion.
➜ Don’t just get the husband’s agreement and assume that the wife will go along with whatever the husband has agreed to. Do not take her silence for assent.
• When advising a mature woman who is already divorced or widowed, focus on understanding her perspective. Help her articulate her future goals so you can work together to build a plan.
➜ Ask her to describe how she envisions her future. What does she want her financial assets to do for her?
• Have a conversation on aging with her. The conversation might reveal some vulnerabilities, such as her need to feel secure, the fear of outliving her money, or not wanting to be a burden on her family.
➜ Listen and empathize. Validate her feelings and concerns.
Creating a plan
When creating and presenting her financial plan, show what her assets can do for her. Educate her so she feels empowered to make important decisions. The goal of this education is to earn her understanding, not show the extent of your knowledge. Keep it simple.
In addition to understanding her and her goals, you should talk with her about asset allocation based on her risk tolerance. Other important topics include market risk, inflation, longevity, health-care costs and potential custodial care needs.
Be sure to discuss these topics within a meaningful context that is related to her situation. She will look for your recommendations to help secure her plan.
For many mature women, financial security is more than just the numbers and is rarely about the rate of return. It is about what her money can do for her. The money can help provide her with security and peace of mind, as well as help ensure her independence and even create her legacy.
Finally, if she has children, offer to meet with them. With the client’s permission and participation, share their mother’s plan and vision. This way, they can provide her with the understanding and emotional support she may need and address any questions together. This is especially crucial if the mother ultimately becomes cognitively impaired.
Following these simple yet effective guidelines can build trust and help retain the female client who is on her own. She will have increased confidence in your training, experience and knowledge as her preferred advisor. This will also position you to help the next generation of family members with their planning.
Amy Corbett, CLU, CASL, is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI and its subsidiaries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This aricle appeared in Advisor Today.