Women are driving a powerful economic engine. It’s true. Despite stagnation and setbacks in wage disparity, workplace advancement and senior management presence, women are earning their own incomes and crossing new barriers. Research reports that of 33 million dual earning couples, wives earned more income than husbands over one-quarter of the time, and mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40% of the families. Between 1997 and 2006, businesses fully women-owned, or majority-owned by women, grew at nearly twice the rate of all U.S. firms (42.3% vs. 23.3%). These firms generated $1.9 trillion in annual sales and employed 12.8 million people nationwide. Further, a Prudential study in 2010 showed that the proportion of women involved in making household financial decisions had risen to 95%, with 84% of married women either solely or jointly responsible for shaping their family’s financial destiny.
While professional working women are accumulating wealth at a quick pace, they are often without the time and resources to successfully manage their finances. In a life that is complicated by numerous responsibilities and tasks, managing money is just one more thing to tackle. The recent Family Wealth Advisory Council study Women of Wealth, co-authored by Fairport’s Managing Partner Heather Ettinger, found that more working women either did not have an advisor or felt their advisor did not have a good understanding of their unique situation than non-working women. The study also found that working women seek convenience, a flexible advisor and a menu of options in navigating their financial paths. Moreover, these executive women clearly articulated their concern for advancing in their careers, negotiating salaries, having enough money to last through what could be a long lifespan and navigating the issues around caring for aging parents. As a result of these broader needs and demands, full-time working women want an advisor who approaches finances holistically and acts as a quarterback.
Despite an overwhelming sense, Heather Ettinger says, “women must take the first step and find the right professional to establish a concrete and useful plan to protect the assets that they have worked so hard to accumulate.” Among the things she recommends is to find an advisor who suits your needs, works flexibly, is able to make referrals to other advisory professionals, and can provide ancillary career and financial advice. By doing this and by leaning into the experience of becoming financially empowered, you can very comfortably eliminate the stress.