Several years ago, I met with a couple who were not happy with their financial advisor and the overall advice they were, or were not, receiving.
After reviewing where they were financially and discussing what goals they had at the time, I described to them how I felt we would proceed.
As you might imagine, meeting with couples like this is a common occurrence for me, but what happened next was anything but.
After some discussion, the husband thanked me for my time but said that what he was hearing from me was not what he was looking for.
Fair enough, but as I was getting up to leave and thanking them both, the wife said, “Hold on, would you go over that last part again?”
I sat back down with her as the husband excused himself to make a phone call and that was that.
The wife and I began working together that very night.
* Better at identifying goals
In my experience, women do a better job of identifying goals, both long- and short-term.
Women’s goals are not just to make more money but are much more detailed and thought-out, revolving mostly around the needs of family and philanthropy.
* Better at stepping back to assess
Are we on track? I have found that most women tend to look at the entire picture rather than a point in time.
Women are not easily distracted by the Dow dropping 300 points in a day. More accurately, women tend to focus on how longer term trends impact the likelihood of achieving your goals.
* Better at listening
Scientifically proven and back-tested since the beginning of time. Next topic.
* Better at understanding value
Women seem to get this and it goes hand in hand with listening.
Once women have chosen a financial advisor, they listen to their advice. If women do not like that advice, they find a different financial advisor, and do not ask the advisor to advise for less.
Women understand that when it comes to compensating the person that they have chosen to help them plan and navigate their entire financial life, they do not seek out the low-cost provider.
These are just a few of my observances over the years in working with female clients.
As you might imagine, the wife I mentioned earlier is still a client today. The husband decided to go with another advisor, and is with yet another today.
The final observance I will share should come as no surprise based on the points above: Women tend to have better investment performance, too.
Clay H. Jackson is a principal with Jackson Hill & Chapman at Merrill Lynch in Raleigh. The practice specializes in providing clients and their families with guidance in areas including investment, wealth transfer and philanthropic planning.