Nearly 70% of all married female Baby Boomers will experience widowhood.1 Death is a natural part of life, but that doesn’t preclude it from having a jarring impact on the surviving spouse, especially when it comes to her finances.
That’s not to suggest that females are financially inept. Nearly 80% co-manage family finances with their spouse.2 However, taking complete ownership of personal finances after a spouse’s death can rattle a woman’s confidence. About half of widows report not being as sure about their finances as they were prior to losing their spouse, compared to only 23% who said their attitudes toward their finances remained about the same.1 Why, then, would seven in 10 widowed women fire their financial advisors at a time when they arguably need guidance the most?1
Reasons vary, but are often tied to a woman simply not feeling a connection with an advisor, not feeling heard or given personalized solutions, or not being treated as a capable independent decision maker.3 Among widows who chose to end a client-advisor relationship:
- 41% believed they could do better on their own or with a new advisor.4
- 39% cited that the professional relationship was bad prior to their spouse’s death.4
- 36% found their advisor to be generally unhelpful.4
- 36% perceive their advisor as being unwilling to take the time to provide further education about finances and investments.4
Conversely, 78% of widows who chose to stay with their financial advisor did so because the advisor took the time to educate them and exercise compassion.4 Empathy speaks directly to what widows indicate as a primary need after a spouse’s passing: receiving “help from a trusted financial advisor.”1 Widows who feel acknowledged and emotionally supported by their advisor perceive the relationship as a positive experience:
- 93% report they “have a good relationship.”4
- 85% assert “my advisor understands me.”4
- 57% found their advisor was “helpful after my spouse’s passing.”4
Further, of widows in this type of relationship, a vast majority (92%) reported that they would recommend their advisor to family and friends.4
Engaging married couples as equal partners in financial decisions helps solidify trust — an especially key component in a woman’s decision to continue on with an advisor after she transitions to widowhood.
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1Sudden Money Institute, How Advisors Can Tailor Their Services for Widows, February 1, 2018
2Financial Advisor, How Advisors Can Tailor Their Services For Widows, January 31, 2018
3ThinkAdvisor, How To Retain Female Clients After a Spouse’s Death, November 27, 2017
4The American College of Financial Services, Tips for Financial Advisors: Solidify Successful Widow-Advisor Relationships, Undated