A new report targeted at financial advisors has uncovered some of the main reasons why women seek investment help and shows that there is room for improvement in the way advisors work with women clients.

Pershing LLC’s report, “Women: Investing with a Purpose,” found that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of women say they are “very satisfied” with their primary financial advisors.

However, the researchers point out that 35 percent of women who don’t use a financial advisor say that they don’t believe advisors are working in their best interest. This significant number, according to the researchers, presents an opportunity for advisors to improve their “soft skills” when working with women: understanding their goals, listening to their needs and patiently answering questions.

The study sheds light on the primary reasons women choose to invest, and these purposes seem to be influenced by some factors unique to women, including long life expectancies, lower income during working years, higher medical costs and a higher desire, compared to men, to leave behind a legacy for future generations.

For four main investment purposes, the study offers some insights for advisors on how to guide women to the best investment approach:

Purpose 1 – Retirement: Saving for retirement is the primary reason women decide to invest, but exploring investment choices can be difficult. The study authors recommend advisors focus part of their conversations with women clients on retirement, with a discussion of risk tolerance and time frames. Advisors should make clear the advantages and disadvantages to aggressive and conservative investment approaches.

Purpose 2 – Education: Nearly half (47%) of women with high incomes are concerned with saving for their children’s education, compared to 25% of all other high-income investors. Advisors should work with clients on an investment timeframe based on children’s ages, tuition cost trends and educational goals.

Purpose 3 – Flexibility: Women want to be able to access investment funds quickly if a life-changing event occurs, such as divorce or the death of a spouse. Advisors should discuss financial flexibility strategies with women clients of all ages.

Purpose 4 – Legacy and Community: Women with high incomes tend to want to make a helpful impact on their communities and with future generations. Women contribute an average of 3.5% of their wealth to charities, while on average men contribute about 2%. The study authors recommend discussing investment options that can fund gifts to people or organizations.

To download the full report, visit www.pershing.com/womeninvestors.

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