Passionately Filling a Void
During my first several years as a financial advisor, I worked one-on-one with clients and communicated with them in manner that I felt suited their individual personalities and needs. That changed when I joined a large wealth management firm with managers who took the lead with conversations at every client meeting and crafted all of the firm’s communications.
In contrast to my approach with clients, the managers did not personalize their presentations to clients. They also used very technical investment and industry jargon, presented information in a highly statistically-oriented way, focused mostly on the male members of couples, and utilized an inflexible, authoritarian tone.
Very early on I noticed that, unlike those I had worked with in the past, the women clients of this firm were not engaged in the process. A good number of them rarely, if ever, attended review meetings. The women that did attend meetings seemed disengaged throughout the entire “conversation”. They appeared either bored or confused, and rarely spoke up, asked questions, or participated in the discussion.
After doing some research I discovered that it is common for women to feel alienated by the wealth management industry. That is because its protocols (like those used by the managers) are very masculine. This lack of a balanced approach by these firms is frustrating and demoralizing to many women, and often hampers our efforts at being more involved with our financial lives. In fact, 70% of women polled in a well-known survey said they were displeased with their wealth management experience and would fire their current financial advisor if their spouse passed away.
Our disengagement with financial services is a problem for women, because we are gaining more and more economic power. In 2010 women controlled over 50% of the personal wealth in this country, and that percentage is expected to grow. It is projected that 95% of women will, at some point, be the primary financial decision-makers in their families.
While we are controlling more of the wealth, many women don’t have the time or knowledge to feel confident making sound financial decisions. Today’s women are juggling many competing priorities, including careers, family, childcare, and eldercare. In addition, many suffer from lack of financial confidence; 90% of women respondents to a 2006 Allianz Life Insurance study on women reported feeling insecure about personal finance.
My realization and observation of the financial services industry’s neglect of women clients — at a time when their need for these services is at its greatest — stirred up a passion in me to do something about it. I decided to address this void in the market by striking out on my own and establishing a “female-friendly” wealth management firm, The Athena Network.
The Athena Network provides a collaborative, educational, and empowering experience for women (and your spouses and extended families!) from various backgrounds and life circumstances who want to be engaged in achieving your financial and life goals. We provide integrated, comprehensive financial planning and investment management. We also offer clients other resources in areas where your life and finances intersect — and beyond — to help “uncomplicate” your hectic lives.
I am incredibly excited to launch this firm in support of women and your families with what I believe is a unique and valuable service. To learn more about our philosophy, processes, and offerings please peruse this website, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.
We welcome you to reach out to us for a confidential conversation about how we may be able to help you achieve your financial and life goals!