Women of retirement age are almost without exception likely to stick with their financial advisor if their spouse or partner dies, a finding that flies in the face of common wisdom that widows ditch their financial advisors, a Russell Investments survey found.
The survey looked at two groups of women, the Silent Generation, ages 67 to 80, and Generation X, ages 32 to 47, and found 93 percent of the older group was loyal to advisors when left on their own. The younger group was only slightly less likely to leave an advisor, with 78 percent remaining loyal.
The data was collected by Mathew Greenwald & Associates last March in surveys of 901 total women in each group and of 343 advisors.
The stability of women as clients fits nicely with the perception by advisors that they are most focused on long-term financial goals than are men. More than half of advisors (55 percent) said they believed that was the case, while 5 percent said men think more about the longer term than did women.
“Undoubtedly, women are an attractive target client segment for financial advisors given their growing economic power. They can be predisposed to take a longer-term perspective, are assuming greater responsibility for investing decisions and value tailored guidance from an advisor,” said Jaylene Howard, consulting director for Russell’s U.S. advisor-sold business, in a statement. “It’s clear that when they feel they are being heard and are on track to their investment goals, women are loyal clients who will often actively refer their advisors to family and friends.”
In fact nearly two-thirds of women in each group made such recommendations.
When it came to what they wanted from their advisors the two groups diverged. The older women said they were most satisfied if an advisor provided personal service and established a personal connection with them. Younger women wanted advisors to link numbers to their goals and to explain the ramifications of different decisions.
In each group, nearly 90 percent said an advisor who listened well helped forge a good relationship.
“Most women want to understand their investment portfolios, but beyond that they want meaningful discussions with their advisors that tie the numbers to actual goals and help build a trusted relationship,” Howard said. “Advisors should use every meeting with a client as an opportunity to educate and engage them around their financial and personal objectives, and demonstrate that they are incorporating these goals into their financial plan.”
Women in both groups said their advisors don’t know all their financial goals or concerns and making a formal long-term plan was low on their list of priorities. Still, they ranked having conversations about such planning high on the list.