Greater diversity in advisers is helping draw women into investing

Wellington woman Nicola Kane doesn’t consider herself a “numbers person”, but when she left her job to move full-time to her own video story business, she wanted to make sure her KiwiSaver funds continued to grow, so for the first time, she took financial advice.

“Traditionally, women are not the ones that do the management of the money in the household for pensions and KiwiSaver,” Kane says. “I think it’s just a lack of knowledge.”

Her experience is typical of the NowNext survey, run by Stuff for three months from late March, which found significantly more women than men have no investment plans at all, and when they do, they’re likely to be in the more conservative investment types.

When she took the plunge a year ago, Kane chose another woman who she felt comfortable with and trusted to help her figure out what to do and ended up shifting from the most conservative default option to something more in the middle of the range.

Ailsa Taylor of Retirement Taylor Made, who helps advise people on their KiwiSaver investments for Booster, says that’s not uncommon.

“Women are typically more conservative when you approach them and have a conversation and have a KiwiSaver review for them,” she says. “I have typically found a lot of my clients are in fairly conservative profiles until they talk to me.”

The majority of her clients are women and they often feel intimidated about asking for advice, and may feel they haven’t saved up enough to warrant it, she says.

Taylor says many of her clients are returning to the workforce after taking time out to raise families and it’s important that they feel comfortable asking questions and aren’t confronted with a lot of jargon language.

When she had her branding photos taken, Taylor deliberately didn’t wear a suit because as a working mother herself, she didn’t feel it reflected her, and she wanted to be relatable and not intimidating.

Women Investing Wellington

Booster’s marketing strategist Di Papadopoulos says greater diversity of financial advisers is helping women investors.

“Key to more women investing is access to really good quality financial advice, and I think the real enabler of that happening is that there is greater diversity in the financial adviser community.

“What I guess traditionally was probably considered a bit of an ‘old boys club’ is certainly not what we see out there today,” she says. “The fact that women are able to relate to other women is definitely something that helps to break down some of those barriers in terms of accessing financial advice and helping more women to then make better decisions.”

Socially responsible investing options have also helped draw women in and become more engaged with investing, she says.

Not getting investment right early on can have serious implications later in life, Papadopoulos says.

“The effect that that has on your lifestyle in retirement can be the difference between having the heater on or not, it can be the difference between eating well or not,” she says. “That’s why it’s so important that we get women engaged early on and get the settings right on their investments.”

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This article was first posted in Stuff