How women can benefit from a customized investment plan

Every woman deserves financial security. Here’s how to work toward it, no matter where you start.

You may be familiar with some of the unique financial challenges women face, but they’re worth repeating. Women earn 84 cents for every dollar earned by men, which could lead to a difference of nearly one million dollars in earnings over a lifetime. The so-called motherhood penalty, a term describing how women often lose ground in their careers when raising children, can lead to fewer promotions and reduced earnings. Factor in caretaking responsibilities for aging relatives that often fall on women, and it’s no surprise that women generally end up saving and investing less than men over their careers.

While many reasons have been given for the financial disparities between men and women—ranging from women’s lack of confidence to their unwillingness to take more financial risks—the truth is often much more complicated.

Every woman is different and faces unique challenges when it comes to money. Yet, no matter where they are in their financial journey, all women deserve to have a healthy and active relationship with their finances. Here’s how a customized investment plan can play a role.

Establishing comfort and confidence

Confidence is key to a successful financial plan. That’s why Regions’ Women + Wealth Initiative is designed to help strengthen confidence along with financial knowledge, says Danielle Crain, Wealth Advisor at Regions Bank.

“To build a relationship, we ask women a few essential questions: What is your situation? What is most important to you? How do we make that objective a reality, and what steps do we need to take now to get there?” Crain says. “That’s the foundation for our relationship, and we build on that to help them set themselves up for financial success.”

Creating an investment plan that fits each client requires a specific, intentional approach, says Nikki Reynolds, portfolio manager at Regions Bank. Regions Wealth Advisors don’t start with financial products or even strategy, but instead first establish a rapport. “We get to know each client, and then help them understand what we can do for them,” says Reynolds. “We take what we know, and then we help each client apply that knowledge to their unique situation.”

For instance, an initial meeting with a Wealth Advisor might focus on values, goals and where you are in your financial journey. It might also help to clarify what a woman’s first steps might be if she hasn’t taken an active role in financial planning in the past.

“There’s such an emphasis on taking care of our physical selves, but not enough on our fiscal health and well-being,” Reynolds says. Regions works actively to change that.

Meeting clients where they are

Recognizing that women are not a monolith, Regions Wealth Advisors consider several factors including a woman’s stage in life, her relationship status and her personal goals when customizing a plan of action. For example:

  • A single woman may be grappling with big questions about priorities and goals, such as how to adjust her investments so her retirement savings better meet her needs.
  • A divorced woman healing after a breakup might find that trust and finances are inextricably linked. “With a client who has experienced trauma, you have to start with the emotional level, and then get into the educational piece,” says Reynolds. “People will not trust you if they don't understand what you’re doing. If you are not taking the time to talk to your clients or prospects, helping them understand why you’re asking the questions you are or putting them in certain investments, then you don't form trust.”
  • For a married woman who has relied on a spouse to manage finances, different issues tend to be top of mind. “When we have a woman who’s married but not involved in finances, we encourage their involvement. We ask questions and figure out how they can be involved and develop a knowledge base. They need to know where everything is and where it needs to go, so they’re prepared in the event their situation changes,” says Crain.
  • A grieving widow who finds herself suddenly responsible for the family finances needs to feel supported and empowered before any decisions are made. That’s why it’s crucial for women to take an active role in financial planning—before a crisis hits. “It’s extremely important that each one of us take responsibility in our finances, our budgeting and our understanding of how it all works,” says Reynolds.

By offering financial guidance that can help women make sound, informed decisions at every stage of life, Regions facilitates financial and personal growth—even if the client hasn’t been engaged at an early age. “The more you understand about financial processes, the more confident you become, and the easier it is to make financial decisions,” says Reynolds.

Talk to your Regions Wealth Advisor about:

  1. Whether your investment portfolio will support your short- and long-term needs.
  2. Steps all women should take to be financially prepared for the uncertainties of life.

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