Some women prefer to see female doctors over male ones for a number of reasons, including greater familiarity with their health concerns and, in some cases, a manner that meshes better with their own, including their style of expressing empathy and their ability to listen. Women financial advisors, too, may be more attuned to some of the concerns that women clients have, such as how to plan for blended families, intergenerational issues, sudden wealth, and sudden singlehood.
The good news is that there are a number of highly qualified women financial advisors and planners. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2019, 38.2% of all financial advisors were women.
- A woman financial advisor or planner may be a better fit for some women clients.
- Female client concerns may include blended families, intergenerational issues, sudden wealth, and sudden singlehood.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2019, 38.2% of all financial advisors were women.
Steps to Finding a New Financial Advisor or Planner
Naturally, if you choose to seek out a woman financial advisor, you will want a professional who has the proper training and qualifications. One way to start is to check out rankings of women in the business, such as in Forbes' America's Top Women Wealth Advisors 2022 list, which offers a breakdown by state, and the Barron's Top 100 Women Financial Advisors for 2021 list, which reflects assets under management (AUM), the revenue they generate for their firms, and the quality of their practices.
Some of these star advisors require high minimums to invest, but there are plenty of female financial professionals found elsewhere who do not. Some resources are the Women & Finance working group of the Financial Planning Association and the Women's Initiative of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
Checklist to Help You Make a Wise Decision
NAPFA offers tips for how to evaluate a prospective financial professional. They are:
- Talk with your loved ones about what you want to accomplish by working with an advisor.
- Create a list of advisors that you've compiled through word-of-mouth advice, professional organizations, or lists.
- Do your homework on potential candidates and come up with three possibilities. Pay attention to the pros, such as awards for their work, and the cons, such as any disciplinary action against them.
- Devise a list of questions to ask.
- Meet them face to face, if possible, or if not, by videoconferencing.
- Make sure you feel confident about her experience as well as her level of expertise and the level of comfort you feel talking with her.
Credentials a Financial Advisor or Planner Should Have
There are three designations a qualified financial planner might have, but the first—Certified Financial Planner (CFP)—is the most important.
A CFP is a formal recognition of expertise in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement, such as with 401(k)s. Owned and awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., the designation is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board's initial exams and then continue ongoing annual education programs to sustain their skills and certification.
A better prepared financial advisor has a chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation. A CFA is a globally recognized professional designation given by the CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR) that measures and certifies the competence and integrity of financial analysts. Candidates are required to pass three levels of exams covering areas such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management, and security analysis.
If you have a situation that deals with taxes and accounting in particular, you may want an advisor who is also a certified public accountant (CPA). A CPA is a designation provided to licensed accounting professionals. The CPA license is provided by the Board of Accountancy for each state. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides resources on obtaining the license. The CPA designation helps enforce professional standards in the accounting industry. Other countries have certifications equivalent to the CPA designation, notably the chartered accountant (CA) designation.
The Bottom Line
Women may prefer to work with female financial professionals to help them plan their retirement and estates as well as maximize their earnings. The good news is that there are plenty of highly qualified professionals to choose from, and you can handle your selection process in a systematic way.
What Is a Financial Advisor?
A financial advisor is a broad term that covers many types of professionals. They may help you manage your investments by facilitating the buying and selling of securities. These individuals include bankers, accountants, stockbrokers, insurance agents, and estate planners. Financial advisors handle a wide range of money matters for individuals and businesses, while a financial planner handles more specialized matters.
What Is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)?
What Is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a formal recognition of expertise in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. Owned and awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., the designation is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board's initial exams and then continue ongoing annual education programs to sustain their skills and certification.