July 1 was Financial Freedom Day and while this occasion didn’t generate the attention it should have, advisors can leverage it and perhaps expand it to put financial freedom on clients’ radars on a more permanent basis.
Financial freedom is a concept likely to resonate with every member of an advisor’s current client base and everyone in the “prospective” camp. However, women are likely to be highly receptive to learning about how they can attain financial freedom and bolster their long-term financial outlooks. That’s important, but this is where the dichotomy starts.
Data confirm that the percentage of women that are investing in some form or fashion is well below the percentage of men participating in financial markets. Lack of financial literacy, capital and trust in the process are among the reasons why women are skittish about investing.
Conversely, data also indicate women not only want to boost their levels of financial education, they want related advice and are highly open to working with advisors to achieve their long-term goals. Here’s where things get really interesting. Women are also less likely than men to ask for financial help.
Survey Unearths Surprising Findings
As a man, I found the gender-related results in the recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AmeriLife for National Financial Freedom Day surprising.
Notably, the survey reveals that among those struggling financially 30% of women say they’d be reluctant to ask for help compared to 24% of men. It’s just my opinion, but I think men are more prideful than women and thus less likely to ask help on any number of issues. Apparently, my thinking is incorrect. At least when it comes to finances. Importantly, there is good news for advisors in that both sexes see value in professional financial advice.
“When asked what kind of professional advisor they’d want to help them change their life, one in three (32%) said they’d want a financial advisor, making it the most popular selection – more so than career development (26%) or dating advice (11%),” according to the survey.
Another encouraging result and one that’s notable to advisors is that more respondents – both men and women – said they’d rather be taught to fish (obtain financial advice and education) than be given fish (directly receiving cash).
Understanding Why Clients, Including Women, Struggle with Financial Freedom
Advisors should also understand how clients, including women perceive financial freedom and what the common barriers are to getting there.
“The 36% who don’t yet have financial freedom cited monthly bills and financial obligations (51%), not making enough money (48%), or having too much debt (38%) as being their biggest barriers,” according to the survey.
On the other hand, 59% of those polled that consider themselves financially free consider passive income to be a top priority while another 58% view ongoing participation in financial markets as essential to maintaining financial freedom.
“These results reinforce the incredibly important need to seek help and advice from a financial professional and the value that one can bring to their clients” said Mike Vietri, Chief Distribution Officer of Wealth Distribution for AmeriLife. “Financial freedom is within reach, and I believe that with the right support from a trusted advisor, Americans can work to achieve their financial goals.”