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The Ever-Changing Woman

The evolution of women has been growing steadily since the late 1960s, when Phillip Morris’ Virginia Slims cigarettes were first marketed to women using the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby,” marking the unofficial start of “Women’s Lib,” and giving women the equality and freedom they desired and deserved. Thankfully, we’ve also come a long way from being called, ‘baby.’

But do women want to be equal? I’m not sure women want only to be equal- like in the 60s with the equal rights amendment, but women do want to be treated fairly and properly, as well. I say this because, as you know, in the past, we were not. We want to be compensated, understood and respected. Really, why should we be treated any differently than men?

At the core of today’s ever-changing woman is the proficiency of doing things ourselves and being independent. We are more involved with every aspect of our careers and family lives as well as our own lives than ever before.

The times they are a-changin’

One veteran advisor once told me: “When working with a woman, regardless of age, we don’t ever try to sell her; we try to come to an agreement with her. Today’s woman needs to be talked to, listened to and sold on ideas and solutions differently than men because they are not men! They outlive men!”

First, I don’t think anyone should be sold on anything regarding financial planning; it should be more about advisors asking ‘what is the best approach?’ So I would say, come to an agreement – or better yet, an individual solution – which makes more sense.

Second, women do outlive men. And by doing so, they hold a huge chunk of the wealth. Wealth transference to women is in the trillions of dollars. Financially speaking, these women need our help. And 83% of consumer spending the U.S. is either influenced or done by women, which equates to $7 trillion of spending dollars annually.

Women with earned wealth; corporate women, business owners and professorial types are traditionally more transactional and less emotional, often using male tendencies in their buying processes. And men have been groomed to take risks more often than women. Ironically, this is why women have grown into better investors and outperform men in the market, according to author, mentor and wealth coach Barbara Stanny.

Women will win the race

There are no shortages of male-oriented businesses. And women, by nature, and I don’t mean to generalize, tend to be more service oriented. We look at each relationship - at building it first- and then making sure everything is ok and taken care of. We’re nurturers.

Not willing to hand off any particular chore to any man, the ever-changing woman is more secure, more certain about her choices for where her life is and where it will go, and less likely to let it fall into the hands of someone else.

In the past, buying a home, for example, was often seen as the man’s responsibility. They were the breadwinners and made all the financial decisions. In fact, in the 1930s, some men bought homes sight unseen by their wives. Today’s ever-changing woman would never tolerate such thoughtlessness.

Fast forward to a new trend evolving: single women have been buying up homes and condos at twice the rate of single males, the National Association of Realtors reported. In 2018, single women were the second largest segment in the home-purchase marketplace behind married couples.

Do you really know who the ever-changing woman is?

I know her – she’s typically younger than I am, and used to technology, and games, and to risk. Frankly, I find they are much more likely to take risks in investments than younger people were a few decades ago. Younger people 20-25 years ago, when I first got started, were uncomfortable with investments and so they didn’t invest.

Women in their 20s and 30s have a much clearer picture of what investing and planning is about. I mean, how could they not? It’s online; they can easily look up stock quotes or anything else on their phones, whereas, before, they only learned from their parents, but only if they had parents who invested and who would help them.

Today, they are much more capable of doing things on their own. They think, ‘why would I sit down with an advisor when I can do all of this myself?’ The realization soon sets in and most do-it-yourselfers find they do need help. And that’s when I meet them.  

My gender doesn’t matter much to them. I would love to see us get to the point we forget about gender and do what’s right for the person. We have the same training and knowledge. We know what the client’s personal situation calls for, what the clients needs, and what we believe is the right solution.

Long-term relationships matter … to you and to us

My daughter, and partner in my practice, Jamie Roach, and I share the same core values that fit well in both our practice and with Hefren-Tillotson’s culture of excellence. She is an ever-changing woman who always wanted to be in this business, and she is all about building lasting relationships.

Recently, I was with a client who, when I first met her, had very large debts, didn’t know what investments she had, was pushing 70 and couldn’t retire. In fact, one day, she dumped out a box full of documents on my desk. It turned out she had more money than she thought, or at least, ever imagined. I helped her and she finally retired.

Jamie told me later that the client said, “I never thought I would ever quit working, enjoy my life, or get to the end of the month and say, ‘this is good, I have money leftover.’ If it weren’t for your mother, I thought I was going to work until I died. Now I can finally relax.” Jamie smiled widely and said, “That’s great to hear, thank you!” And it was great.

We base our relationships on mutual respect, trust, teamwork, integrity and commitment. Our goal is to help you reach your goal. At Hefren-Tillotson, we will become – and remain – your trusted advisor. You can count on it. Call us today and we can get acquainted.

DISCLAIMER: Past performance does not predict future results. This report is based on data obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Hefren-Tillotson does not, nor any other party, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report or make any warranties regarding results obtained from its usage. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the firms judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities herein mentioned.

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Hefren-Tillotson Inc. is a leading diversified financial services firm providing investment and retirement plan management and comprehensive, financial planning through MASTERPLAN® for individuals and businesses. The firm’s wealth management services are administered by Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter holders, attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters, and CPA/PFS’s. Hefren-Tillotson offers corporate services including 401(k) retirement planning, executive financial counseling, fiduciary reviews and workplace financial planning seminars. Founded in 1948, the firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has offices located in Pittsburgh, Butler, Greensburg, North Hills, and South Hills. MEMBER SIPC.