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Today, less than 20% of financial advisors are women, and the numbers shrink further when narrowed to the highest levels of the profession. Yet more than two decades of professional experience has shown me that we women financial advisors have some innate advantages. Among them:

Martha “Marti” J. Awad, J.D., CFA, CFP®, LL.M-Taxation

Martha “Marti” J. Awad, J.D., CFA, CFP®, LL.M-Taxation

Women are very relationship-driven and tend to be good listeners. While both men and women can benefit from working with a female advisor, perhaps women benefit more so because we take the time to connect. Yes, we are conducting business. Yes, we have specific objectives to accomplish. However, like many female advisors, I really enjoy teaching clients about planning and investing. It’s not enough for clients to trust me and to allow me to act on their behalf. I want them also to have at least a basic understanding of the financial markets; risk; tax considerations; and issues involving retirement, their children’s education, and legacy planning. And at Cardan Capital Partners — where it’s unique to find men and women working alongside each other at the highest levels of a financial services firm — we stress the importance of working with both members of a couple. We understand the importance of ensuring each person is equally comfortable with, and an ongoing part of, the wealth-management process. We strive to make clear that all questions are good ones. We want to take the mystery out of many financial decisions — such as “Should I buy or lease my car?” “What are the tax consequences of renting our second home?” “Should we pay off our mortgage?” and “Do I need this insurance policy?”

Women really do think in webs rather than in straight lines and boxes. For decades, researchers have explained differences between male and female brains that in turn reveal the distinctly different ways we think. Women constantly connect ideas — and I see this play itself out all the time as Cardan provides ongoing consultation and advice. A key aspect of our value proposition is that we act as as our clients’ “Personal CFO” and can address virtually all aspects of their financial lives. As an independent firm, we are able to connect them to an array of strategic partners, including lawyers, accountants and specialists in insurance and real estate. We work closely with our clients’ other trusted advisors to ensure our advice is proactive, timely and fully integrated with our clients’ larger life plans. That’s definitely web thinking.

Women tend to look more at the long-term outcome and prioritize downside protection versus quick gains. Men may rule Wall Street, but the data show women investors achieve better results — as explained in this report from Forbes.com. What might explain these results? Studies have shown that men are more likely to be overconfident in their ability to actively manage a portfolio — a mentality that can lead to over-trading, higher transaction costs and diluted performance.

When Cardan Capital’s co-founding partners, two of whom are men, formed this firm in 2015 it was in large part because we recognized what this excellent graphic from VisualCapitalist.com explains this month: Women are outstanding financial advisors and investors — and opportunities for them to achieve big gains in both arenas abound. Whether women are seeking comprehensive financial planning and investment management services or professional insight and advice about how to pursue a career in the financial services industry, we welcome hearing from them.

Infographic by Visual Capitalist

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