With women assuming a growing share of wealth and financial decision-making in the United States, many advisors are looking for ways to forge stronger connections with female clients. One of the best ways to do that is through financial education, an area where some women lack confidence, according to New York Life Investments (NYLI) research.
Indeed, many women investors look to their advisors to fill that gap with educational resources and opportunities. Educating your clients will empower them, letting them assume a more responsive role in the advising relationship so they can more confidently steer their financial futures.
But it can be hard to know where to start in offering education. Consider these four tips on how to use education to connect with your clients.
1. Host Financial Education Events, Both in Person and Virtually
Women investors of all ages and life circumstances surveyed by NYLI indicated interest in participating in in-person investment education events offered by their advisors. To help make your events a success:
Consider bringing in other expert speakers on topics more loosely related to financial strategies, such as dealing with aging parents or college planning. Encouraging your younger team members to brainstorm and lead education initiatives can bring a new perspective and allow junior staff to take ownership of the topic.
While the pandemic has necessitated a turn to virtual events, some clients now prefer the ease and accessibility of joining a video call. When it's safe to gather in person again, consider a hybrid approach of in-person and virtual events, or make all events available online for those interested.
2. Offer Online Investment Classes
Some of your clients may want to learn more about investing in their own time, making online classes an appealing option to offer. Consider filming one of your education sessions and making it available online after the event. Or build a series of classes on a particular topic, whether that's investing basics, retirement planning, or sustainable investing. Many technology providers can support you in developing online classes, helping you create a presentation that's professional and well-produced.
Because creating online classes can be a significant investment of time and money, be sure to measure how clients respond after you've offered some initial sessions. If they're not engaging with the courses or you're not seeing a bump in interest on the topics you're teaching, consider soliciting more specific feedback or, ultimately, directing resources elsewhere.
3. Crowdsource Education Topics
For the most effective results, financial education should be client-led. Just as strong relationships with female investors are founded on empathy and alignment, education should be tailored to what your clients want and need to know.
Start by asking them what they'd like to learn, in conversation or via a simple survey. You can also ask questions to help determine your clients' preferences in terms of learning modes and formats. Use this information to plan the topics you want to cover and the best way to present them. Be sure to create opportunities for follow-up education if a course or event leaves a client with unanswered questions or piques new interest in a topic.
Alternatively, consider hosting in-person or virtual "Ask Me Anything" sessions where you or a colleague can answer questions in real time. It's likely that one client's question is something another client is also wondering about, so this approach can help lessen the stigma women investors often feel around not knowing more about money.
4. Extend Your Reach to Friends and Family
Whenever possible, extend the invitations to your events and other financial education opportunities to clients' friends and family, even including their children. Doing so can demonstrate that you're willing to share knowledge, but it can also expand your client base through positive word of mouth and referrals: 55% of women will share their experiences with their financial advisor among friends and family, according to NYLI research; women will make 26 referrals to their advisor over their lifetime, compared with 11 for the typical male client.
While client education requires a proactive approach and dedicated resources, it can be one of the most effective ways to reach women investors.
Insights presented in this report are derived from 2019 & 2020 studies conducted by NY Life Investments in partnership with RTi Research.
"New York Life Investments" is both a service mark, and the common trade name, of certain investment advisors affiliated with New York Life Insurance Company.
The information contained herein is general in nature and is provided solely for educational and informational purposes.
The writer of this report is a freelance writer and not affiliated with New York Life Investments.