Wall Street Journal: A new survey by financial-services company MassMutual found that women's retirement accounts were, on average, just two-thirds the size of men's. Women live longer and need more money than men for retirement, but often have lower incomes and breaks in the work force. However, the industry often does women a disservice--using formulas meant for men, and being disrespectful to female clients.
"A recent survey by financial-services company MassMutual found that women's retirement accounts were, on average, just two-thirds the size of men's. The disparity is made worse by demographics: Because they live longer, women need more money than men for a comfortable retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute."
In a recent Boston Consulting Group survey of women investors, respondents said they routinely feel underserved by the financial-services industry, with more than 70% expressing dissatisfaction with the service they're getting. Among the complaints: disrespectful advisers, narrower investment choices based on the assumption that women can't handle risks and patronizing pitches like one from a bank's website that urged women to give their finances a "makeover." One factor stands out as the bull elephant in the room: Between 70% and 80% of advisers are men, and many veterans have built careers serving a mostly male clientele. Conflicting styles of communication may have a lot to do with why women feel ill-served.
Experts generally agree that women prefer advisers who address their needs holistically, educating them about their choices and explaining how they can reach long-term goals. For brokers accustomed to a hard sell and a fast pace, that's not an easy adjustment. Still, the industry is doing more to take gender differences into account."