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Keys to financially empower women

Camille Marie Tan, CRPC

Women can face many challenges in formulating and meeting financial goals. Here are some facts to set the framework:

  • Women make up almost half of the workforce and are the equal, if not main, breadwinner in four out of 10 families. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2015, female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20%1.
  • Most likely they will become a primary caregiver for family and children. According to a recent insurance industry study, 22% of working women will at some point take time off to be a caregiver to either their children or aging parents2.
  • And since they typically earn less than men, both issues compound the fact that very often women will have fewer resources at hand for their future earnings and long-term financial goals.

Best practices to partner with women

As a female financial services professional, I have found this scenario presents a unique and important opportunity to work with women and provide solutions to often complex problems. In working with my female clients and prospects, I have learned a few best practices to help us stay on the same page in building a strong, lasting relationship.

Some women shy away from finding out what it will take to get them to their goals because they don’t believe they earn enough money, or have the skills, to understand finances. Others are afraid of making the wrong choices, while some undervalue their ability to take charge of their financial future.

Camille Marie Tan

It doesn’t have to be this way. As financial professionals, we can partner with women to find their financial voice. Women need to understand the choices available and how to achieve their goals in order to feel confident in making financial decisions.

When working with women, I may need a slightly different approach to financial services. The first goal is always to form a trusted partnership with them – I need to not only learn what their goals are but also be empathetic in understanding why they are important. Take a very consultative approach in the client meetings to reach a level of understanding where you, as the financial services professional, become a trusted partner with your client.

This does not happen overnight, and may take several meetings with your client or prospect before you start discussing products and solutions. Be patient, take the time to build your partnership and you will find that it will build lifelong clients.

Always seek to understand your clients so they will in turn understand you and your recommendations. Approaching your client meetings as educational and informational sessions is key in working with women. Many of my female clients rely on me to make sure they understand how their finances work, so they can feel comfortable and confident in making financial decisions.

• Thoughts on this approach, or have your own best practices to share about working with women clients? Please share on this new thread: How a top producer builds long-term client relationships with women

Understand different life phases

It is important to understand the different life phases women may go through and I need to become a resource to meet their needs in each phase. For example, the needs of a new college graduate are different then a pre-retiree, but no less important.

My recent college graduates are often in need of financial counseling about debt and savings. Often college graduates leave their universities with a diploma and serious amount of student debt.

By helping them understand money and debt, they often feel less stressed and are able to understand why products like disability income insurance and life Insurance are important, even before they start a family. And by helping them when they feel lost early in their careers, I build a relationship that will last as they grow through their primary earning years and beyond. It is a partnership that leads to long-term success.

A different kind of sales process

Education sets the foundation for the planning process. Your female clients most likely need to understand why they need something and what it is before they commit to buying it. Encourage your clients to be active in the decision-making process. Welcome questions and embrace open dialog. Make sure they understand what you are discussing since not everyone speaks insurance industry “language.”

For example, explain the difference between a short-term disability plan and a long-term one in terms that they understand. The difference could save them from financial ruin. Educate them on how group employee benefits differ from individual policies and assets. By showing them how they work together, they can see the need for both.

The sales process may be extended when working in this manner, as these cases frequently include more than just data gathering, solutions and closes. Often, my female clients need some time to understand and review the recommendations we have made. By giving them time to review and reflect, they can then commit and feel good about the decisions they make.

Be open also to having meetings with the people who are important in your client’s life. Use this as a time to not only to explain your solutions, but as an opportunity to showcase how you work with your clients. When the trusted people in your client’s life see how well you partner with your clients, very often you will have them asking for a review as well. Always remember every client is different and you should always first seek to understand the individual.

As financial professionals, we should encourage women not to put off their decisions and actions until “someday.” Because of the challenges many women face, they need to plan early and take advantage of planning over a long period of time, rather than waiting until they “think” they have enough time or money. By starting early, even small contributions will compound and grow, meaning they can start with less and still meet their goals.

Show them what it will take to reach their goals. Help them prioritize what they want to achieve. Can they retire at 65 and also pay for a college education for their children? What would that take? What would be the most efficient way to get there? And if they don’t have children and want to plan on retiring early, what would that take? If they don’t know where they want to go, it’s pretty hard to plan a course.

Take the time to set goals and assess them often. Remember planning is not a one-time event, but rather a journey requiring you to be a proactive partner to help make needed changes and adjustments.

Knowledge and understanding is key to empowering your female clients to be confident in their choices and goals at every life phase. By helping them take an active role in their financial future, women not only gain empowerment, but also peace of mind and security, and you gain long-term clients.

• Thoughts on this approach, or have your own best practices to share about working with women clients? Please share on this new thread: How a top producer builds long-term client relationships with women

Camille Marie Tan, CRPC, has been affiliated with Ohio National Financial Services as a Builder Agent since October 2014. Her agency, Strategic Financial Group, is based in Naperville, Ill. and she can be reached at [email protected] or 331-213-7903 x114.

1Pathways to Equity: Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs – Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2016.

2 Fifteen Facts about Women’s Retirement Outlook, ©Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the LIMRA/LOMA Secure Retirement Institute, www.limra.com/secure_retirement_institute, 2015.

Life Insurance and Disability Income Insurance products are issued by The Ohio National Life Insurance Company and Ohio National Life Assurance Corporation.  Issuers not licensed to conduct business in NY.



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