Personal Pension  

Advisers urged to treat women differently

Daniel Liberto

Mary Waring, who is also a chartered accountant and the author of a book on women managing wealth, said that too many women tended to “stick their heads in the sand” when it came to finance and were intimidated by technical terms used by some advisers.

These same women, she added, were primarily concerned with preserving wealth and therefore grew frustrated by the assumption from many advisers that everybody’s goal is to achieve double-digit returns.

She said, in her experience, women are often intimidated by finance from an early age and advisers who failed to understand, or address this issue, risked losing many of their female clients.

Ms Waring said: “A lot of women have issues about finance, so what they want is to speak with someone who is very down to earth and who speaks with no jargon, yet a lot of advisers do not understand that.

“It is our role as financial planners to understand client needs. A lot of them, particularly women, do not necessarily want double-digit returns. Their main concern is looking after their pot of money, rather than getting it to grow lots.”

Despite criticising the impersonal advice offered by many of her peers, Ms Waring warned that women urgently needed financial assistance, as many are significantly unprepared for retirement.

She said that as most women were self-employed to fit around childcare duties, this group fell outside of the government’s auto-enrolment pension provision and as an alternative relied on flawed provisions such as the state pension, inheritance and a spouse’s pension to get them though retirement. She added: “There are a lot of women who stick their heads in the sand when it comes to finance.

“A number of people are not aware of the low amount you get from the state pension and it is very common for women to rely on their husband or partner’s pension.

“Frequently women say to me that they are relying on their husband’s pension, but frequently there is not enough for two people.

“Inheritance is often a big backstop for people, but of course the issue of inheritance is you have no idea when it is coming. You may already be retired when it arrives.”

Adviser view

Claire Walsh, IFA for East Sussex-based Pavilion Financial Planning, said: “I would concur wholeheartedly with Mary Waring on this one. Many women in relationships rely on their partners to manage the financial affairs. Whether employed or self-employed, women generally earn less than men and they will often take time out to have children and, even with auto-enrolment, women are likely to save far less into a pension. With upwards of 40 per cent of marriages ending in divorce, women need to consider all possible eventualities. My message would be that everyone, whatever their level of wealth – male and female – should try to get a basic grasp on budgeting and consider how they can afford to live now and in the future.”