Boomer Women say Financial Advisors Have it all Wrong


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There are very few times that one reads something, recognizes it as important and also realizes that you can’t add anything to it to make it any better. That seems to be the case with a just released survey by Stephen Reily titled: “What Should Financial Planners Sell To Women? Independence”

As much as the survey is filled with excellent information regarding what boomer women want from their financial planners and what financial security means to them, to me the most frightening finding of the survey is the financial services industry isn’t even close to getting it right!

Mr. Riley’s survey was conducted with marketing-to-women expert Holly Buchanan, co-author of The Soccer Mom Myth and frequent consultant to financial service firms. In the survey Boomer women told the authors what their personal finance goals and needs are, and what they want to see in ads for financial services – things they aren’t seeing now!

What Boomer Women Want from Financial Planners

When Boomer women were asked: “What does financial security mean to them?” the resounding answer was: Independence.

The Boomer woman is focused on her own future and does not want to depend on others as she ages. What’s more, she knows that her financial future depends on herself, not her husband.

Almost half of the Boomer woman respondents (46%) stated that they had been raised to believe that a husband would take care of her financially. Only 3% agree with that proposition today. That means that ninety-seven percent of Boomer women said they have to take control of their own financial futures. That means by themselves.

Financial service firms need to talk to Boomer women directly, as independent decision-makers in charge of their own financial futures.

What Are Financial Planners Doing Wrong?

When Boomer women were asked to evaluate the ads that financial service firms were using to engage them., here’s what they had to say:

  • The most common complaint? Showing women in a dependent posture towards men. These images may be the most common among financial service firms, yet none bother Boomer women more. Remember that only 3% of women expect to depend on their husbands or other men in their lives for their financial security. Too many financial service ads show women in the arms of men, standing behind men, or embraced by men.

Apparently financial services company marketers assume such images will remind women how much their husbands love and support them. Their wrong:

  • Seventy-eight percent of Boomer women told us they don’t respond to such images. They do not want to depend on someone else for their financial security. Only 12% said that these images made them feel loved and supported.

What images do Boomer women prefer? They do like images of families (more than images of couples), but only if they present no clear image of hierarchy. Don’t show the women standing behind others; but don’t show them standing in front of others, either.

The Opportunity

On the good news front for financial planners the survey showed that 88% of those who have financial advisors are satisfied with the service they receive (and its cost). But it also revealed a great opportunity: only 51% have some kind of financial advisor.

Which means that at least half of all Boomer women are available customers, and they are happy to tell financial service firms what they want and need:

  • Don’t portray (or talk to them) as wives financially dependent on the men in their lives.
  • Address them as decision-makers who want an independent financial future.
  • Help them plan a financial future in which they can meet their own needs.

Can anyone point to a financial service firm that is getting this right? Please click on the link to read Mr. Reily’s entire post:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bruce Johnston
Over the course of 25 years serving as Chief Executive Officer and President of such firms as Gartmore Global Investments, Sentinel Funds and Old Mutual Investment Partners, D. Bruce Johnston is bringing his sales and marketing expertise to a wide range of companies both inside and outside of his financial industry roots. Named Fund Marketer of the year by Institutional Investor, Bruce has built some of the country's most successful marketing programs and sales teams.


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