On average, full-time female workers earn 83.7 cents for every dollar full-time working men earn, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The difference in pay means women could earn about $10,000 less each year, or $400,000 over a 40-year career. The persistent income gap presents one unique challenge women face in retirement planning.
Women who take time off work to care for family members can have fewer earning years, which can affect their ability to save money for a potentially long retirement.
10 ways to help your female clients
Following this checklist can help you build stronger relationships with your female clients and become a reliable resource they can count on as they plan for retirement.
Treat couples as equals.
While an income gap persists, research shows women are contributing more to their family’s income. Now nearly three times as many women earn as much or more than their husbands than they did 50 years ago, according to Pew Research. Given the steady increase, women who are the primary or sole earner still only account for 16 percent of heterosexual marriages, and in close to 30 percent of today’s marriages, both spouses earn about the same.
As women’s financial contributions grow, you can help both partners feel empowered to make decisions about their money. During conversations, giving equal attention and importance to each person can help both feel heard and strengthen client connections.
Addressing your female clients’ concerns and encouraging their involvement in every step of retirement planning can help increase their financial confidence. Our Building Client Confidence Toolkit provides other suggestions to help clients feel more financially secure.
Consider a growing number of singles.
The percentage of single women in the U.S. has increased to 52 percent. Why? Some women are delaying marriage or opting for solo life. On average, women are living longer than men, and couples are divorcing after age 50. Often called “gray” divorce, this life change can financially affect women more when they’re older than when they’re younger and have fewer assets with more time to save for retirement. Considering if a female client is single by choice or by circumstance can help you create a financial strategy best tailored to her needs.
Show the benefits of preparing for a long life.
Shine a light on the positives of a lengthy retirement and how a solid financial plan can help people enjoy more time in this life stage. Conversations about longevity can be a sensitive topic. These strategies may help conversations progress as you help women plan for their future.
Present financial products with objectivity.
An objective presentation about retirement savings options can help clients feel more comfortable. Since some women may be assessing how their financial decisions will impact their legacy and loved ones, giving them enough time to process your recommendations can also help instill confidence. Helping your female clients feel empowered to make financial decisions affecting their future can help build their trust in you.
Be honest and transparent.
Sincere input that focuses on solutions that can help clients meet their goals can also help boost their financial confidence. Explaining how you profit from commissions and fees from the different financial products you offer shows transparency. Body language can also play a role. For example, making eye contact with a female client can demonstrate that you hear and understand her, and that can help foster her confidence in you.
Discuss Social Security.
Many program stipulations can make it easy to miss the benefit option for women who are divorced, remarried or widowed. Our Social Security toolkit provides basic tools to help guide conversations about the effects it can have on your client’s retirement plan. Making sure you are well-informed enough about Social Security can help you walk through individual situations with your clients or direct them to ssa.gov.
Emphasize guarantees and low-risk opportunities.
Showing how a retirement plan can include stability and guarantees can help clients feel confident about your recommendations. Taking the time to debunk misconceptions about retirement products can help strengthen connections with clients who may feel apprehensive.
Link education and retirement planning.
Talking about the most suitable retirement planning options, how they match a specific risk profile and why they may be the better choices, can help people feel better informed. With clear explanations, you can help female clients feel more confident with their decisions.
Recognize the value of their business.
Treating your female clients as equal partners, actively listening to their questions and concerns, and building their confidence can help create loyal customers who stick with you. As their loyalty grows, you can retain valued clients and potentially grow your business from their recommendations.