I love working with all types of clients and some of my favourite clients are men – the ones whose faces light up when they see you at the annual planning meeting (even if only on screen), the ones who love to tell you about all the savings they’ve made on their house renovations by doing DIY, and the ones who cheekily tell you that they have indulged in a new sports car. But, my all time favourite gender to work with is women! And here’s a selection of the “types” of women I like to work with and the reasons why:
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The YPs (young professionals)
The savvy and astute Millennials and The Gen Zs are not oblivious to the need to save for their future, a future on their terms. They know that the answer to a long and happy life does not lie in finding a wealthy Prince Charming. These young ladies are the successful Doctors, Lawyers, Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Accountants and Scientists that their mothers were told they should marry. They have seen their mothers juggle and sacrifice careers while raising families and they won’t stand for it. Their partners are just as likely to be the homemakers as they are. They have their eyes open to the risks of divorce and will not relinquish all control over their futures – financial or otherwise. They want financial education to understand how investing works, so they can make informed choices that maximise their potential.
The ethical investors
These women, come from all walks of life, and can be of any age but what they have in common is that they have a strong social conscience, and they concern themselves with important global issues, such a human rights, climate change, modern slavery and public health. Realising that everyone has a responsibility to “do their bit”, they think carefully about the purpose that they give to their wealth, be it large or small. They vote with their spending, patronising the ethical and sustainable companies of the world, and they call out injustice when they see it. Together they realise that they can have real impact and that they can collectively make a huge difference to both people and planet. I love working with these types of clients because they are empowered and eager to do good, and they are not willing to profit from investments that don’t align with their values.
The Finance Directors
Whether career women or homemakers these are the unsung heroes of the domestic balance sheet. They keep the finances on the straight and narrow because their husbands or partners are either too busy, too disinterested, or too spendthrift to do it themselves. Many will say that they don’t enjoy it, but they have fallen into the role and like the husband who grumbles when he takes the rubbish out, this conscientious and courageous woman will reluctantly study the bank statements, balance the budget, move money around and work with her trusty Financial Planner to squeeze every possible ounce of return from the family savings.
Quite often the opposite of the Finance Director-type, the Divorcee will appear at the first meeting looking like the proverbial rabbit between the headlights. She will often be full of regret for the financial sacrifices she made during her married life. She will feel undervalued for the non-financial contribution she has made and will need boosting and bolstering. With confidence in her financial future at an all time low and feeling battered and bruised from the legal process and cost of divorce, this creature is the nurturing Financial Planner’s dream. The Divorcee will be encouraged, educated and empowered and there is nothing more satisfying that bearing witness to that journey and knowing the value that you, as a Planner, can bring through guidance and support.
Similar to the Divorcees, these clients are at a “life-low”, having lost a life-long partner and often having not had any involvement in dealing with the bills. They need a shoulder to lean on, and a trusted friend and confidante on whom they can rely. Some will wish for a planner to step in and take on the role their partners played, and others see it as an opportunity for re-education and are keen to take back control. Either way they again need huge support and confidence-inducing pep talk from their financial planner. More than anything though, they need time and compassion to recalibrate to life “on their own”.
So, you see the strengths and the vulnerabilities that these clients show, give my life as a Financial Planner true purpose. Whilst generalisations have been made to impart my message, I must stress that I view my clients, men and women as individuals and work to fully understand their drivers and motivations because there is no “one-size fits for all” solution to life’s problems, and I am grateful to all my very unique clients for keeping me on my toes.