31 May 2013
Yesterday, Pew released a study
showing that in 4 of 10 households with children, women are the sole or primary source of income for the family. One must wonder whether advisors have grasped this. In speaking with several banks, vendors, and brokers, it is clear that advisors still consult husbands much more frequently than they consult the wife, even when both spouses work. This is increasingly out of touch. I have yet to see any compelling data as to whether financial planning or investment management priorities are different when men are "breadwinners" vs. when women are "breadwinners." However, at a very basic level, this trend should drive a shift in messaging and customer service, if nothing else. Demonstrating an understanding of household dynamics implicitly suggests that the advisor understands the household's goals and priorities. Obviously, performance will still be the key measure by which households measure their relationships with an advisor or a firm, but increasingly, investors demand higher touch and better service. This starts with recognizing that households are significantly different today than even 10 years ago.