Segregating women as a “special” type of investor is a two edged sword. On one hand, it can be perceived as patronizing and discriminating. It can feel condescending, superficial and may not accurately reflect the truth for an individual. On the other hand, women’s needs and perspectives are different. They have largely been ignored and under-served by financial firms. It takes bravery and integrity to articulate the subtle and pervasive discrimination and dismissal women face daily when managing their financial lives. And it takes depth of skill and sensitivity to effectively address it.
We honour the differences in the financial lives of men and women without judgment. Our job is to provide excellent advice with all the circumstances of a person’s life accounted for. Gender is just one of many factors.
Here are some facts:
- Women still make an average of 70.5 cents for every $1 earned by men and the pay gap is even greater for university-educated women, who earned just 68% as much as men in 2005, down from 75% a decade ago. (Canadian Labour Congress).
- The average woman spends 15% of her working years outside the workforce caring for children and elderly parents. (Source: Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement).
- Women retirees receive only half the average pension benefits that men receive (primarily due to the first two points listed above).
- 50% of marriages end in divorce. (Source: Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement).
- Women live on average at least five years longer than men (Statistics Canada, 2005).
Women currently hold more than half the financial assets in Canada and this is projected to rise to 70% by 2019. Women live longer and often have interrupted careers due to motherhood and caretaking responsibilities. We are wired differently and our brains seek connection and context to form meaningful wholes. We experience risk and emotion more intensely. Research also says that our language, why and how we communicate, is structured differently from men. These distinctions are empirically confirmed and they form a strong picture of a client who has a set of needs and processes that should be addressed respectfully and meaningfully.
The processes we use to gather, analyze and report data reflect the styles of the clients we serve - whether male or female. We believe in supporting clients to operate efficiently and effectively regardless of how their family is structured or whether they even have one. Money is a means to an end and the energy propelling security and independence. It is the currency that fuels our society and it must be managed conscientiously and proficiently. Taking a person’s values, circumstances and goals into consideration is not an adjunct to service; it is the core of superior service. A woman’s needs cannot be summarily dismissed or over-emphasized. They must be recognized in context of her spousal relationship, her family, her lifestyle and her personality. The same holds true for men. It is the respect and deference to the impact of gender that renders it meaningless, not the ignorance of it.