Women who visit an advisor with their husband shouldn’t settle for being ignored or treated as secondary. Here’s how to tell if the advisor considers you an indispensable part of the relationship.
If you are there with your husband, does the advisor automatically assume your husband is the breadwinner, and that you’re the conservative investor who spends the money? Take note of cues that make you comfortable or uncomfortable, and don’t ignore them. This is a huge part of your life, and you’re entitled to be taken seriously.
In your first meeting, look for an even distribution of eye contact and questions from the advisor to you and your husband. Also, women can help set the tone of the meeting by speaking up and making their needs apparent and important. Talking with your spouse before the meeting about presenting a unified desire for both of you to fully understand and participate in your financial plan can help as well.
The right advisor will respect that you and your partner are a team. If your advisor excludes you or speaks only to your spouse in meetings, then you need to say something. If not to the advisor, then bring it up to your partner.
For many advisors it simply starts with better listening and paying attention to both people in the room.
Your advisor should make you feel comfortable and empowered. They should not be saying things like, “I’ll take care of you”. The advisor should explain everything in a way that is clear.
An advisor needs to make women feel informed and educated about their choices and recommendations. Most of my female clients prefer to learn about their portfolios, and would rather not stay in the dark. You should be able to feel comfortable asking clarifying questions if you don’t understand something. Your advisor should lead by asking questions and offering education when appropriate.
Your should expect your advisor to treat you with respect, to educate you about your portfolio and overall financial plan, and to communicate with you regularly and engage you in the conversation. Don’t tolerate being blown off when you call for a meeting, or having your questions brushed off when you contact your advisor.
Given the stereotype about women’s attitudes toward money, some women, both single and married, might wonder if they should avoid male advisors or male dominated advisory firms. This is a personal preference.
There may be certain benefits to speaking with a female financial advisor, such as a general comfort level in discussing common financial concerns that only women have. Women live longer than men, and if they have married, they are likely to outlive their spouse and need help in planning for their financial future as they age. But most importantly, you should feel comfortable speaking with your advisor.