#NowMe Episode 2: Advising Women Over 50 Part II – A Key Demographic

In a continued discussion from episode one, we learn why women over 50 are an important demographic for financial advisors going forward.


NowMe Episode 2 Transcript

#NowMe Episode 2: Advising Women Over 50 Part II – A Key Demographic

Ms. Walker: This is #NowMe, a podcast for financial advisors who advise women. Hello, this is Hollis Walker with Jan Blakely Holman, Director of Advisor Education at Thornburg Investment Management and this is #NowMe, a podcast for financial advisors who advise women. Jan, today we are supposed to discuss advising women over 50. So, why do you think this particular group of women warrants advisors’ attention?

Ms. Holman: Well, there are number of reasons, Hollis, and the first of the reasons is that it is a very large group. The 2014 Census reported that over 108 million Americans were 50 or older. Of that group 58 million were women. So obviously, this is a very large group.

Ms. Walker: So it’s large, and why is this particular group having special financial needs?

Ms. Holman: One of the reasons is that much of the world’s and our country’s wealth is shifting towards these women now. The estimates indicate that by 2028, which is just 8 years from now, women will control over 75 percent of the world’s discretionary spending. And by 2030, women will own 66 percent of Americans’ wealth. There’s another trend that not may people talk about, but you and I actually are familiar with this, since this is our age group, that is the trend toward gray divorce. Of all the divorces today, 25 percent are of couples over 50, and that’s a rate that’s doubled since the 1990s. When you have late stage divorces, what you have with them is complicated property settlements.

Ms. Walker: And don’t women live longer than men anyway?

Ms. Holman: Well, although the gap has been narrowing, life expectancy for women continues to be longer than for men. The U.S. Census Bureau said the average age of widows is 59. And when you get to the age 75, three of four women who are in traditional marriages are widowed, and that’s 75 percent. In both situations, late life divorce and widowhood, women are likely to receive significant inflows of assets, and they’re gonna need a steady hand to advise and help them make good decisions.
Ms. Walker: What else should advisors keep in mind when they’re working with women? Is it different than what they keep in mind when they’re working with men?

Ms. Holman: Well, in this group, the over 50 group, yes, it is different. One of the reasons is, and we know this firsthand, because many of these women have been trailblazers in their professions or industries. I remember sitting in a Paine Webber office in Minneapolis in 1978. It was me and 77 men. So I got a few spitballs at the back of my head. It wasn’t exactly the most cultured environment I’ve ever been in. These women are wise, and they understand how to navigate subjects and situations that are new to them, but they respect the expertise that an advisor brings and they want you to share that with them.

Ms. Walker: What percentage of women use financial advisors?

Ms. Holman: Well, there’s a Hearts and Wallet white paper that was written, and it says that 70 percent of women over 55 work with financial advisors. Now, the reason that’s significant is because when you work with someone, you want them to be advisor-receptive. You don’t need to fight that battle. That battle’s already been found by these people. They value the expertise that advisors bring to the equation. The other thing is that when working with women, regardless of their age, they tend to be referral machines. Delia Passi is an expert in marketing to women, and she tells us that a female client is more likely to refer her friends and colleagues to a financial advisor. In fact, she’ll refer 26 times compared to a man who will refer 11 times. So if an advisor is interested in growing a business and working with a group of people who feels that they are an expert in an area, and they will help them out, this is the group you wanna work with.
Ms. Walker: So are women clients more interested in working with women advisors than with men advisors?
Ms. Holman: For every study that you read that answers that with a yes, so yes, women wanna work with women, there’s a study that will say, no, it doesn’t matter. Women don’t care if it’s a male or female advisor. What they do care about is someone who respects them, someone who pays attention to them, someone who understands them, and someone who will speak their language, not the lingo of our business.

Ms. Walker: Thanks, Jan. That’s all the time we have today. Next time, we’ll be talking about dealing with market volatility. You’ve been listening to #NowMe, with me, your host, Hollis Walker and Jan Blakely Homan, director of advisor education at Thornburg Investment Management. If you’d like to send us a comment or an idea for a topic, please email us at nowme@thornburg.com. That’s nowme@t-h-o-r-n-b-u-r-g.com.

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