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Are You Marketing Your Practice to the Correct Head-of-Household?

It's no secret that, more often than not, men and women tend to think about finances differently - that's evident in the fact that most people divorce over finances. I don't want to make a blanket statement about the differences because there are exceptions to every rule, but I can speak to what I've experienced in my own household and from what I see with my friends.

Relationships in previous generations have often put the man in the driver's seat when it comes to the family finances - even when the woman might have been more capable to take it on. I would say that with most of my parents' friends, it's the husband who deals with the long-term investments while the wife concentrates on the more day-to-day spending. And in some cases the wife doesn't even do that; she knows her spending limits and she stays within them, but if you asked her how much was in her checking account she might not be able to give you an answer.

But things change, even in the more "traditional" family set up. When my late husband and I started a family, I decided to quit my job, stay home with the kids, and make my household my job - right down to our family finances.

  • I was the one who paid the bills.

  • I was the one who managed what was coming in and out.

  • I was the one who determined whether we could afford big purchases.

  • I was the one who knew where all of our life insurance and investment paperwork was kept.

In other words...even though I wasn't the breadwinner I was the financial head of the household (to the point where my husband didn't even know most of our passwords to get into our accounts - something I would NOT recommend).

When I think about how my husband and I related to money, it was very different - and I think that's probably true of most men and women. My husband thought in terms of long-term goals and making sure we were doing what our advisor told us to do. Investments and retirement planning were more of a box to be checked on a list of to-dos for him.

For me, money was more personal. Saving for college and investing allowed me to actually picture how I was going to take care of my family. It made me feel secure and in control of our future. When I opened up my investment portfolio, I wasn't just looking at numbers; I was looking at home improvements, a trip we might take, savings for a medical emergency, and eventually time spent with grandkids. That made investing very tangible for me.

When I look at how financial planning is marketed, I don't often see myself and I definitely don't see that young housewife who took care of EVERYTHING. Financial planning is often marketed in a way that implies that it's so complicated, no woman will ever understand it (which is sexist and ridiculous, but true).

I assure you...we get it. It's just not often put out there in a way that encourages us to do it. Speaking for myself, reading or learning about an IRA holds no interest for me until you can show me how it can be used in my life. The more obscure goal setting would have been perfect for my husband; I want to see the beneficial effects of saving for my family.

As with all marketing efforts, it's important for you to know who you're marketing to - that's a no brainer. What's just as important is making sure that person - that potential client who is looking for your services - can see herself working with you. She needs to see herself in your marketing, which is the key to any meaningful outreach.

How are you providing that through your website, content, and outreach?


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