By Lou Carlozo, Contributor | July 12, 2017
Many women in the field are simply better listeners, and the industry is starting to pay attention. U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2016 put the percentage of women slightly ahead of men, 51 to 49 percent. But the numbers certainly don't break down like that in the working world.
From recording studio engineers to Capitol Hill, some fields are overwhelming male – and not necessarily for the better. The male makeup of Congress? Better than 80 percent. The latest congressional approval rating? Just 21 percent, according to a June Gallup poll.
The gender ratio doesn't improve much when you look at financial planners. As of 2016, the website Financial Advisor cites not-so-great statistics: The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts 35.5 percent of advisors as female, but that tally shrinks to 14 percent when you include the heads of brokerages. And if the men are doing such a bang-up job, consider this: 55 percent of women between 25 and 34 prefer working with female financial advisors, while 70 percent will leave their financial professional within a year of being widowed.
Clearly something in the financial advisory realm is broken, though how to fix it isn't exactly clear. In some ways, it's the investment equivalent of a cocky husband assuring his wife he can plug that leaky pipe with a wad of toilet paper and half a roll of soggy duct tape.
In fact, the financial industry numbers may be as skewed as election exit polls. Consider the ground-level view as shared by veteran financial advisor Loreen Gilbert, president of WealthWise Financial Services in Irvine, California.
"In the 30 years I've been in the business I've seen the stats remain the same – it is one female advisor to nine male advisors," she says. "Unfortunately, statistics tell us that the industry is still not attracting many females and I think a concerted effort is needed to educate female college students that there's a great opportunity in the industry."
To say "great" might be putting it mildly.
"Female financial advisors are able to demonstrate that they care more easily than their male counterparts," says Gilbert, who also serves on the executive board of National Association of Women Business Owners. "It doesn't mean that the male advisor doesn't care, but they don't often show it as freely. Also, women do tend to listen better than men – and that listening does communicate caring."
"I don't believe that the gender of the advisor is important, but rather having the capability to be aware and understand how best to communicate to both women and men," says Marilyn Timbers, an advisor with Voya Financial Advisors and based in Stamford, Connecticut. "Women want to relate money to how it will help their children and family. So female financial advisors can often teach in a style that works best for women: demonstrating not telling, giving more not less information, offering time to process or react, and relating finances to a woman's emotional life."
Original Link to Article: https://money.usnews.com/investing/articles/2017-07-12/female-financial-advisors-find-their-way