Last week, the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) named Brigitte Parent, Senior Vice-President, Individual Insurance and Wealth, Sun Life Financial, one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. Brigitte was presented the RBC Champions Award, recognizing her for making a distinct and describable difference to the advancement of women in the Canadian workplace.

Trailblazer for life

Arriving in Toronto in her late teens from Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Brigitte taught herself English, believed in possibilities and began making her mark on the business world. Her journey has been especially inspiring to women, her accomplishments define leadership and her passion shines bright.

Brigitte has been an active developer of her leadership team, recognizing that women must have a place at the leadership table and bring sound advice, insight and counsel on a wide variety of business issues and initiatives. “Brigitte has always been a strong advocate for females in empowered roles. Her determination to promote financial literacy among women is evident by her recruitment and retention practices,” says Sonia Wu, Sun Life Financial Centre Manager. Audrey Chiang, the first female advisor entered into the Sun Life Career Sales Force Hall of Fame emphasizes that Brigitte’s leadership “not only represents her dedication to empower women, but also her efforts to ensure that women across Canada have access to other women to obtain financial advice and learn more about financial literacy.”

Since leading Sun Life’s Individual Insurance and Wealth business, market share and sales have continued to grow. Much of this growth stems from Brigitte’s drive and passion.

Advocate for women and financial literacy

Through articles such as, The future is increasingly female: Helping women plan for longer life expectancies, Brigitte has brought to light issues that women are currently facing in Canada, and how they can embrace strategies, working with a trusted financial advisor to secure their financial futures.

To celebrate Brigitte’s recent achievement and enduring advocacy, we’re rounding-up articles specifically with your female clients in mind:

Retirement for one: The financial challenges — and advantages — of being single

This case-study represents the struggle of many independent singles, which make up over a quarter of Canadians1: how can your female clients thrive financially in a world that seems to be built for 2? It’s not easy to fund retirement alone, but careful planning can help your clients avoid the common pitfalls of being their own sole provider.

Long-term care reality check: Costs, coverage and when to talk with clients

Since women generally live longer, helping them understand the reality of the costs associated with long-term care is especially important. This article delves into actual long-term care costs and why now’s the time to talk about their health-care coverage options.

Options for care as you age: A crucial conversation for female clients

It’s important to speak with your female clients about including health insurance in their retirement plans. That’s because 72% of Canadians with Alzheimer’s are women. Your female clients are more likely to need long-term care in their future: help them make sure they, and their loved ones, are financially ready for the cost.

Clear communications: How to spark, and keep, your clients’ interest

Isabelle Hudon, Executive Chair, Quebec, and Senior Vice-President, Client Solutions for Sun Life Financial, walks through how important the language is that we use to get Canadians interested in taking control of their personal financial future. The advice she provides is applicable for any of your clients, regardless if they are women or men.

Retirement planning for women

When you’re thinking about your client base, don’t forget, 35 years ago the average life expectancy at age 65 was almost 84 years old for women. In 2012, that average was almost 87 years old.2 And, there are 500 women centenarians for every 100 men.3 These realities require a shift in thinking for retirement planning and product focus for this demographic.

Keep in mind that when wealth is transferred from one spouse to another, either from divorce or death, it’s often a time when clients switch advisors. About 70% of women change advisors within one year of their partner dying.4 To avoid this, focus on key understandings that Brigitte shared in her article:

  • Share insights to empower your female clients to take action and prepare for a longer retirement with the right mix of life, health and wealth solutions for both individuals and spouses or partners.
  • If you’re working with a couple, it’s important that both are present when you meet and you talk about what happens when one person dies and the other is left behind.
  • Canadians, and in particular women, are living longer, and so adjusting their retirement planning horizons to reflect this new reality is essential.

You might also like…

1 Statistics Canada, 2011

2 Life expectancy, abridged life tables, Statistics Canada, 2014

3 Canadian census, May 2011

4 Spectrem Group, 2014