In Focus: Intergenerational Wealth  

'There is no reason now why women cannot know about money'

'There is no reason now why women cannot know about money'

The financial needs of men and women will change throughout life, and at certain points on their journeys there will be touch-points for advisers to speak with people about their wealth.

Siobhan Barrow, head of intermediary distribution for Scottish Widows, talks to FTAdviser in Focus about how advisers can use people's specific needs to start them thinking about longer-term financial planning.

She also discusses the financial impact the pandemic has had on women in particular, and speaks about what advisers can do to help younger women become more financially resilient.

FTAdviser: Throughout life men and women have specific financial needs, such as saving for a deposit at the younger end or later-life care funding at the other. How can advisers help their clients think intergenerationally when it comes to financial planning?

Siobhan Barrow: We know that over the next 30 years, £5.5trn of wealth is estimated to be passed between generations in the UK, but we also know wealth is not evenly distributed, with the older generations being the wealthiest. 

The key to managing wealth distribution is for advisers to start having client intergenerational planning conversations earlier. This helps normalise the conversation on finance, which can often be a tricky one to approach, especially when it comes to discussing with family.

The earlier the younger generations are involved with intergenerational planning conversations, the better (for the whole family). Advisers can ask clients to bring younger family members along to planning meetings or ask for contact details from their clients.  

They can then consider additional family needs such as a protection need, for example, adult children who are no longer covered under their parents’ protection policies and provide case studies and examples of where your advice is relevant to their family and how it would work for them.    

FTA: We have seen from the pandemic that the financial impact has been harder on women, especially younger ones, as many worked in roles that resulted in furlough or redundancy. What is needed to help make younger women more financially resilient?

SB: Younger women are more likely to work in sectors hardest hit by Covid-19. These sectors often pay below average, and women are more likely to be part-time, amplifying pay differences with men. These continuing differences reduce many women’s financial resilience.

At the same time, the deep-rooted inequalities that make young women more vulnerable to the crisis also contribute to longer-term retirement inequalities. Government and society at large must continue to work to close these gaps and to pull the wide array of policy levers that are essential to achieve this. 

This includes ensuring the best education and career opportunities for young women, as well as providing better maternity and paternity support, affordable childcare and flexible working policies that are fair.

Lowering the auto-enrolment threshold and reducing gender pay gaps will go a long way in helping younger woman build up a financial resilience.