How to find a woman financial planner
Financial planningis particularly important for women, who live longer and earn less than men.
- Many women prefer women financial advisors, who can relate to the unique challenges they face.
- If you want to work with a woman
financial planner, there are resources to help you find one.
Women face unique financial challenges. They typically earn less than their male counterparts, take more time away from work because of child-rearing and family obligations, and, thanks to longer average life spans, require more retirement savings as well.
For these reasons, a financial planner can be an incredibly valuable partner for women, ensuring their investments, savings efforts, and spending patterns align with their long-term goals for wealth and security.
Are you looking for help setting and achieving your financial goals? Here's how a financial planner can help — and where to find the right one.
The importance of financial planning
Financial planners are professionals who can assist with many aspects of your personal finances. They can help you set and reach savings goals, plan for retirement, choose investments, devise a tax strategy, and even make insurance decisions.
"A financial professional can answer questions and give advice based on your goals and unique situation," said Faisa Stafford, president of the financial nonprofit, Life Happens. "Rather than just adopting a cookie-cutter financial plan, they will build you a plan from scratch to address your individual needs and aspirations. They account for your life stage, where you are in your career, the age of your kids, if you have a mortgage, own a business, etc., to make a plan that works for you now, but also five, 10, 15 years down the line."
According to Stafford, the pandemic has also made financial planning incredibly important for women.
"The pandemic has revealed the disproportionate burden women face in caring for their families, leading millions to leave the workforce," Stafford says. "With more women leaving jobs and coming home, they are losing not only their income but the benefits that were afforded to them by an employer, like the life and disability insurance and retirement plans many employers provide. It's a misconception that stay-at-home parents don't need these benefits or a financial plan. They are contributing to the household, and their unpaid contributions to the family are invaluable."
Quick tip: If you're interested in working with a financial planner, a good place to start is LetsMakeAPlan.org — the official directory of Certified Financial Planners.
How to find a woman financial planner
Some women may prefer to use a financial planner of the same gender, as it can help to have an advisor who understands their unique challenges and goals.
"A meaningful component of a successful relationship between client and advisor is trust, and trust is built through connection," Emily Bentley, a managing director at wealth-management company Homrich Berg, said. "Shared experiences are an organic way to connect, and women choosing women as financial advisors broadens the opportunity set to connect."
Women financial planners may also be easier to feel comfortable with.
"Women relate to women in a way that men can't," Maggie Gomez, a certified public accountant and founder of Money With Maggie, said. "It's always nice to be completely heard and understood. This comes much more naturally for women from what I've seen."
While there is no specific directory for women financial advisors, there are resources that can point you in the right direction. These include:
This is the CFP board's official directory. You can search by location and service, and while there isn't a way to filter by gender, each entry does include a name and often a photo. There are also details on planners' services, minimum asset requirements, and languages spoken.
In partnership with Shook Research, Forbes publishes a list of the top women financial advisors annually. These are broken down by state and feature a small blurb about their background, investment philosophy, and more.
While XY's search tools don't let you filter by the planner's gender, you can choose from a number of "gender/identity focus" specialties. Choose from planners who focus on women business owners, entrepreneurs, and doctors, single women, divorced women, and more.
NAPFA is an organization for fee-only financial planners — those that do not charge a commission for any of their services. Its search tool allows you to find planners and planning firms in your area, though you cannot filter by gender.
Quick tip: You can also get personal recommendations. Ask your friends, family members, and colleagues which professionals they've worked with and if they found value in their services.
How to find a CFP professional that specializes in LGBTQ communities
Members of the LGBTQ community may prefer a financial planner who is also LGBTQ, an ally, or who specializes in their unique needs.
"People want to work with financial professionals who understand what they are going through and what they will go through," Stafford says. "This leads many to look for someone who understands their background and can relate to them culturally. Trust is also a big factor, so it's more likely for a person who has a similar background to get you and what you want out of your finances."
Personal recommendations are a good option for finding a planner who specializes in the LGBTQ community. You can also use XY Planning Network or Garrett Planning Network and filter by a variety of LGBTQ-related financial service providers.
Finding the right fit
In the end, it's important to find a financial planner you feel comfortable with, regardless of gender. Sometimes, this may take some time. Don't be afraid to interview several options before deciding.
"While it can seem like a daunting task, I like to remind people that you don't have to pick someone based on their online profile or right away," Stafford says. "Meet with people until you make a connection. It may be the first person you speak to or the third. Take the time to have an introductory call — there is no commitment in doing this, and it's free."
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