Women’s Agenda sits down with Dr Dianne McGrath, Director of Business Programs at Charles Sturt University (CSU), to find out. (Partner Content)
As women gain unprecedented levels of private wealth, there is an exciting opportunity for female financial planners.
A “revolution in the work and family lives of women” in recent decades has fuelled the rise of women’s wealth, particularly in high-income countries like Australia, according to the Global Wealth Report 2018.
The latest Census data reveals that in Australia, the number of women on a personal, annual income of more than $104,000 has quadrupled since 2006.
“A lot more women are choosing an independent life, there are a lot more opportunities for women to be in various other professions as well,” McGrath tells Women’s Agenda.
Despite this, she says, just 29.8 per cent of financial planners in Australia are women.
So why aren’t there more?
The lack of women in the sector could be attributed to a number of factors.
In the United States where just 16 per cent of financial planners are women, the State Street Global Advisors’ (SSGA) Women in Advice report has found that lingering gender stereotypes and undefined career pathways are major barriers.
In the report, JMG Financial Group’s chief operating officer Yonhee Gordon says there are “big misconceptions about what a financial adviser career looks like”.
“Many of the young girls in high school and college I talk to think that it involves a lot of numbers, a lot of math,” says Gordon.
“On the contrary, it’s really more about emotional intelligence.”
THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST
According to SSGA, more than 50 per cent of women aged 25 to 34 prefer working with female financial planners.
Zoe Lamont, the founder of 10,000 Women and Verve Super, has seen this firsthand.
Lamont, a former CSU student, runs workshops across Australia and has spoken with more than 10,000 women about financial planning.
“I get asked everyday if I know a good financial planner. There is so much demand for female financial planners.”
Lamont is also finding that women who are more entrepreneurially-inclined can be incredibly creative with where they take their financial planning careers.
There really are no limits.
“I’ve seen female financial planners who have really cracked how to offer a more holistic approach to their clients – women who build communities, social media, have great blogs and workshops, and offer a great educational piece to their services.”
A POWERFUL WAY TO CHANGE LIVES
Financial planners have a unique power to share intelligence and help transform the lives of their clients.
As Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki says, it’s intelligence not money that solves problems and produces wealth.
To effectively help people with their financial health, McGrath says the best financial planners are strong communicators with an excellent understanding of the market and individual client needs.
“It’s about people having confidence in you.”
And when backed by a strong focus on ethics, integrity and independence, McGrath believes that financial planning can be a very powerful way of helping people achieve their dreams – particularly as more and more women take charge of their financial future.
“If you’re the type of person who really wants to help people then this is a great space. [You can] help with their financial security throughout their life.”
HOW TO GET IN?
Financial planning is a growing job sector in Australia with low unemployment rates.
“The income is generally around $1500 to $1700 a week according to Job Outlook,” says McGrath.
It does require formal tertiary education and certifications from established bodies like the Financial Planning Association.
The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority provides an excellent overview of the education, training and ethical standards required to be a licensed financial adviser in Australia.
New guidelines on education requirements have also been put forward in the Banking Royal Commission’s final report, says McGrath.
“Some of the older people now have to upgrade their education, meaning there’s more opportunity for younger and new entrants who are able and willing to undertake that additional education.”