Helping woman planning retirement

From personal savings goals to investment strategy, women have unique financial needs that financial advisors must address, a CIBC expert says.

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“Once we understand our female clients’ goals and ambitions and their competing priorities, we can deliver an enhanced advisory experience and secure a client for life,” said Carissa Lucreziano, vice-president with CIBC Financial and Investment Advice.

Within the next six years, Canadian women will be in control of $3.8 trillion worth of financial assets, Lucreziano said. And 80% of women switch financial advisors after becoming widowed or divorced, “primarily because they were not engaged and/or felt ignored in the advisor-client relationship.” 

“Women are looking for an advisor who speaks openly of their interests, connects on a personal level, and provides lasting benefits in preserving and accumulating wealth for them,” said Lucreziano. “Women thrive when they have full visibility of their financial picture.” 

Lucreziano said advisors should discuss the big picture with female clients before addressing the details.

Advisors can do this by helping their female clients understand their full financial situation — where they are in life, what goals and aspirations they have, and how their finances fit in — and then building a plan tailored to their financial situation. 

Further, advisors should encourage the conversation around investing and try to understand any barriers or opportunities for financial education. Then, with a focus on broader milestones and goals, advisors can connect the dots between specific investment strategies and how they can impact areas of the client’s life. 

For example, Lucreziano said instead of focusing on RRSPs, advisors can discuss how clients envision their lifestyle in retirement and the income needed to support that vision. Similarly, speak with clients about their children’s educational aspirations before determining how an RESP could support that goal.

Advisors can also extend invitations to financial wellness events, and introduce clients to online resources and tools such as financial calculators.

“Financial education is golden,” said Lucreziano.

Advisors can also provide education and support on topics that vary by life stage and personal situations, such as career advancement, maternity leave options, government benefits, and programs associated with planning for life’s milestones. Women also outlive men by five years on average, which requires income for longer, she said. 

The need for a strong relationship based on trust is no different for women, but Lucreziano said it’s “the approach to the conversation and unique needs for planning that will cement that connectivity.”

This article is part of the AdvisorToGo program, powered by CIBC. It was written without input from the sponsor.