Still living in the ‘50s? Time to up the ante on advice and wealth planning for women

September 13, 2017 Ian Hull Beneficiary Designations, Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Uncategorized, Wills Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

There are a few holdovers from the Mad Men era of 50 or 60 years ago, when men were the primary breadwinners and wealth managers – and women looked after the home and family.

On the home front, even though almost four out of five women work outside the home, they still do more housework than men. Yes, men are getting better, but as Maclean’s magazine puts it, this evolution is happening “at a glacial pace”:

http://www.macleans.ca/society/stop-the-presses-canadian-women-do-more-housework/.

Perhaps more importantly, the money management part of the 1950s has also been slow to change – with some significant differences in financial literacy and financial confidence between men and women. According to research from Sun Life Financial: https://www.sunlife.ca/static/canada/GRS%20matters/GRS%20matters%20articles/2015/Bright%20Papers/Mind%20the%20retirement%20Gap_Unretirement%20Paper_E%2006-15_June%2011.pdf:

  • 46% of women say they lack sufficient knowledge about how much retirement income they would need, versus 37% for men
  • 35% of women say they lack sufficient knowledge about how to select investments, versus 26% for men; and
  • 32% of women say they lack sufficient knowledge about government programs (such as CPP/QPP, Old Age Security), versus 24% for men.

RBC has also studied the issue and reached a similar conclusion, with only 48% of women feeling confident in their knowledge of wealth and money topics, versus 65% of men: https://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/ca/en/research-insights/gaining-perspective-on-women-in-wealth-transfer-and-overall-wealth-planning/detail/.

Too often, this lack of knowledge and confidence means that in a male/female relationship, investment, wealth and estate planning falls to the male, with the female less involved. And that’s problematic. With high marital breakdown rates and a longer female lifespan, 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their life. And many women will inherit money twice – once from their parents and once from their spouse. Inheritances are major financial events that can involve a number of decisions and planning changes – and knowledge and good advice is critical.

A couple of changes are needed:

  1. Get involved – sooner not later. Women not currently active in long-term wealth planning for themselves and their families need to get involved. It’s their future, and, at some point, it’s likely to be a future on their own. Now is the time to get involved to ensure it’s a secure one.
  2. Get a financial advisor who truly meets your needs. Wealth advisors historically have not been good at catering to the advice and planning needs of women. Studies have shown that in the U.S., 70% of women change financial advisors after their spouse has died. In Canada, the number is 80%. Clearly, many women are not happy with the advice they’re getting. If you’re involved with your finances, and your current advisor is catering to your male partner and not to your concerns, don’t wait until there’s a death in the family to take action.

This article in the Globe and Mail spells out the issues well. It’s worth a read: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/financial-advisers-have-trouble-talking-to-women/article22726458/.

Thank you for reading!
Ian Hull

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