The financial industry is not necessarily known for their history of valuing women. Especially in situations with married couples, many women receive different treatment from their financial advisors than their husbands. When you trust someone to help you make impactful, long-term decisions, it's important that both partners in the relationship are respected. Considering married women, you may not always get the treatment you deserve from your financial advisor.
Before we dive in, let's make sure we understand each other. I've worked with plenty of couples where there's one spouse who is the financial operator and one spouse who simply just does not care about money--and that's okay. You don't have to care about money topics. However, your financial advisor should care about you, not just your money.
Here are six behaviors your financial advisor may have that could be worth reevaluating:
1. Your Advisor Only Talks "Business" with Your Husband
In many situations, if you're lucky enough to be invited to a financial meeting, the financial advisor only directs conversation about finances to your husband. The entire conversation may feel like an attempt to win your husband's approval about a strategy or an idea. Reports, data, information, etc. may be printed out, but instinctively, the only copies of the information are passed for your husband's eyes. It's not that you were excluded, it was just the assumption that you wouldn't care, right?
Not to worry though; the financial advisor directs conversation about family and kids toward you (which is the only topic they think to bring up with you). Just don't expect to hear any questions about your thoughts, concerns, or plans with your family's money situation.
2. You Don't Get Invited to Family Finance Meetings
Sometimes, financial advisors simply neglect the wife altogether. It may not start out intentionally. It could be a golfing buddy that refers another golfing buddy. However, the financial advisor didn't think to include an equally important female partner in the discussion.
You, as the wife, may not want to be a part of the financial conversations all the time. It may just not be interesting or important to you, and your husband may be trusted enough to make financial decisions for the family. Nevertheless, an invitation to join goes a long way. As my wife reminds me often, "it's the thought that counts."
However, let's say you as the wife are the primary financial decision maker in the family. Forgetting to include you in the conversation would be a huge mistake, and you may have already started looking elsewhere for an advisor!
3. Your Advisor Doesn't Discuss Premature Death, Life Insurance, and/or Estate Planning
You and your husband may have a great investment relationship with your financial advisor, but that's all you discuss. Your advisor, probably not wanting to discuss a difficult topic and potentially lose your business, may avoid conversations about death. It's probably not a topic you want to discuss either...but you should.
I've witnessed what happens when a husband dies and is the only one in the family who understands the financial situation. He leaves his beloved wife a grieving widow who is overwhelmed. She's already devastated with the emotional toll of losing a loved one, and the complications of taking on a money management responsibility exacerbates her grief.
If you don't discuss a plan for unexpected events such as these, your advisor is doing you, the married woman, a great disservice.
4. You View Your Financial Advisor as Your "Husband's Advisor"
Many financial industry researchers are predicting that surviving wives will leave their former financial advisor after the death of their husband. The reason: "that was my husband's advisor."
Women in these studies have stated that they want a professional who discusses their needs, their dreams, and their concerns. If your advisor currently focuses only on the interests of your husband, it may be worth a conversation with your husband.
5. Your Advisor Dismisses or Belittles Your Opinions
Pretty straightforward, right? Don't sit at a table where your input isn't valued. As a woman, you have a unique perspective that plays an important role in financial planning. We men only see things through our own eyes, so we're counting on you to help us fill in gaps. Your financial advisor should value your insight in money conversations.
6. You Don't Know Your Advisor's Name
You would not believe the number of married women who have told me that they don't even know the name of their family's financial advisor (hopefully this isn't you)! As a financial advisor, it's simply unprofessional to begin a financial advisory relationship with a family and not at least invite you, the married woman, to the conversation.
In marriage, you are a team. You need to know your family's professionals and if you can trust them to guide you where you'd like to go.
The Century Financial Difference
At Century Financial, we view spouses as equal in importance, often with different roles. We see couples where the husband is the financial manager in the family, and we see couples where the wife is the financial manager. In either situation, both partners' opinions and desires are considered in their financial plans.
Our ultimate objective is to help you accomplish your definition of financial success. We'll even help you and your spouse stay on the same page about financial objectives that you didn't even know were on each other's minds. If you're looking for a team that wants to consider each family member in the financial advice you receive, then you're in the right place.
If you'd like a second opinion on your financial situation, don't wait to reach out. Schedule a time to visit us at our Germantown office, or you can schedule a virtual web meeting. Either way, we look forward to connecting with you!
Century Financial is a wealth management firm located in Germantown, Tennessee. Our financial advisors have about three decades of combined experience in asset management, financial planning, and other related services for clients in the Memphis area and beyond. Learn how you can grow and preserve your wealth with guidance from our team.