Self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” Audre Lorde once commented, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” The lesson holds true for the financial planning process as well. Often the things that make your clients unique – from their sex to their sexual orientation – also impact investing timelines, goals and approach. Here are five things you should know about your clients.

  1. Are they entrepreneurs? This U.S. News article by Mary Beth Storjohann highlights advice to keep retirement planning on track for entrepreneurs, who often don’t have the certainty of getting a set paycheque every month. And, since research shows a business typically makes up 70% to 80% of an entrepreneur’s wealth, Dan Doran weighs in for Virginia Business on the importance of an accurate valuation in the retirement planning process.
  2. Are they part of the LGBT community? The Globe and Mail’s Shelley White makes the case that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients should come out to their financial advisors. The reason: They can have subtly different financial planning needs in the areas of wills, pre-nups, cohabitation agreements and power of attorney documents, among other things.
  3. Are they newly single? In this Financial Post article, chief actuary Fred Vettese of Morneau Shepell looks at how the death or divorce of a spouse can impact retirement assets for the remaining partner.
  4. Are they Martians (as in, Men are from Mars)? Jean Chatzky of NBC News contends there are some things men can learn from women about saving and investing.
  5. Or do they hail from Venus? Women can have a more difficult time saving for retirement than men, according to a new study from the Insured Retirement Institute on The reasons: wage disparity, time out of the workforce to care for family and longer lifespans.

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