Diversity Management: Turn Women's Financial Concerns Into Measurable Gains

Why should building relationships with women clients be one of your business’ top priorities A new study from Prudential Financial indicates that financial-services companies that provide adequate support for female clientsand take cultural influences into accountstand to gain valuable market share.

Prudential Financial’s 20122013 “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women” report found that women today make up a majority of primary household earners (53 percent), but only 23 percent report self-confidence in making key financial decisions. Only 10 percent of women referred to themselves as “very knowledgeable” about the financial products and services available to them. (Prudential Financial is No. 9 in the 2012DiversityInc Top 50.)

This means new growth opportunities for those financial-services companiesparticularly those companies that leverage resource groupsthat are attentive not only to women’s needs but their culturally influenced concerns.

Understanding Women’s Cultural Influencers

Differences in women’s financial experiences and behaviors varied greatly among the different ethnic groups. This indicates that racial/cultural influences play a key role in determining how women approach financial security and planning, explained a panel of economic experts at Prudential Financial’s event in New York. Prudential’s Joan Cleveland, senior vice president of Business Development, participated as a panelist. Watch Prudential’s video highlights from the event.

The study found:

  • Asian (33 percent) and Black (31 percent) married women were their household’s highest income earners, compared with only 19 percent of white women.White women were the least likely to be employed full time (33 percent) and were likely to be married (65 percent)
  • Latinas, who were most likely to have children (65 percent), were more inclined to put immediate family needs ahead of their own financial stability and planning: 92 percent of Latinas prioritized “not becoming a financial burden to loved ones,” and 73 percent said taking care of extended family was a main concern
  • Black women, who were most likely to be single (40 percent) and employed full time (47 percent), prioritized being able to maintain their current lifestyle (94 percent). They were also most concerned with reducing personal debt (87 percent) and starting a small business (49 percent)
  • Asian women were the most likely to use a financial professional (47 percent) and tended to place more emphasis on financial security. They had the highest median income ($77,000 vs. $51,000 average) and savings ($58,600 vs. $12,400 average), and 28 percent of live upscale lifestyles
  • About one-third of white women had an adviser (36 percent), but 26 percent were most likely to delegate financial decisions to their partner. Having enough money to maintain their lifestyle (93 percent) topped their financial concerns

Resource Groups Provide Solutions

“Women’s lack of confidence is increasing, which we can see as a knowledge gap as well,” explains panelist Deborah Owens, CEO of Owens Media Group and an author, noting that market volatility has increased women’s overall tendency toward risk aversion.

The solutionand likewise the opportunitythen falls to companies “to educate women on financial matters and help them build confidence,” Owens says. It also helps to close the disconnect between immediate concerns and the right choices.

Strengthening the quality of the company-client relationship also should be a concern, say the panelists, as 35 percent of women reported they would leave their adviser if their relationship with their spouse were to end.

“These relationships still are very superficial,” says Cleveland. “Companies need to do more to know women’s needs. Advisers need to speak to women, really advise the women when they speak to the couple.”

DiversityInc Top 50 companies, especially those in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women list, know that best practices in diversity management, such as resource groups, can help their organization increase their understanding of the marketplaceand ultimately deliver sustainable business results.

Read these DiversityInc articles for more on how to improve your businessand your ability to attract women customers and employeesthrough diversity management:

Diversity Web Seminar on Resource Groups: Connect With Customers for Top Sales Results

DiversityInc Innovation Fest!: Resource Groups Saved This Pharmaceutical Giant Millions

How Kraft Increased Promotions of Women in Sales by 39%

How ‘Slut’ and ‘Sweetie’ Challenge Gender Equity

Women’s History Month Facts

Latest News

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act bill signing

House Passes — and Biden Signs — New Bill To Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday, one day after the Senate unanimously voted for its passage. President Biden quickly signed the bill into law on June 17, making this year’s Juneteenth the first national recognition of Black Independence Day in the United…

LGBTQ protection in schools

US Education Department Issues Statement Confirming Title IX Protects LGBTQ Students Against Discrimination

Following an executive order from President Joe Biden directing federal agencies to defend LGBTQ students against discrimination, the Education Department has issued an official statement saying that Title IX does indeed ensure equal protection for LGBTQ students under federal law. Jo Yurcaba of NBC News reported that the Department of…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Approves Bill Banning Discussions of Race and Racism Within State’s Schools

Texas lawmakers continue to astound with the number of racist, transphobic laws they are willing to try to write into law.  In the last few months alone, we’ve seen Texas lawmakers draft legislation that would penalize parents who support and help their transgender children access gender-affirming care with jail time…

Georgia Power, Georgia Power Foundation Invested More Than $20 Million To Help Meet Community Challenges in 2020

Originally published at southerncompany.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Georgia Power and the Georgia Power Foundation today released their annual Citizenship Report highlighting how the company, its employees and retirees gave back to Georgia communities last year, helping to build…

Toyota Financial Services Issues New Asset-Backed Green Bond, Highlighting Toyota’s Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability

Originally published at pressroom.toyota.com. Toyota Motor North America ranked No. 7 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Toyota Financial Services (TFS) issued its latest Asset-Backed Green Bond, reinforcing the company’s longstanding commitment to the sale of environmentally friendly vehicles. Net proceeds from the $1.6…

ADP Recognized as a Customers’ Choice in 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’

Originally published at mediacenter.adp.com. ADP ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Industry analyst firm Gartner recognized ADP as a Customers’ Choice with category distinctions in Midsize Enterprises and North America in its 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’: Cloud HCM Suites…

Cigna building

Cigna and New York Life Expand Eligibility for ‘Brave of Heart Fund’ Grants Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Who Lost Their Lives in the Fight Against COVID-19

Originally published at cigna.com. Cigna ranked No. 33 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   On June 17, the foundations of New York Life and Cigna announced that the Brave of Heart Fund, which provides monetary grants to the families of heroic health care workers…