A successful financial future requires a meaningful and productive financial plan, alongside making the most of your relationship with your wealth management team. So why do 55 per cent of women not have a financial plan, and what can be done to change that?
Top tips to start your financial planning:
• Consider your values
Determining personal values and the purpose behind your wealth can be a vital step in forming a meaningful financial plan – one that helps you meet your personal goals and builds a powerful legacy.
• Ask for advice
Working closely with wealth managers and communities, such as HSBC Global Private Banking, and the WealthiHer network, can provide you with tools, practical advice and space to ask questions, so that you are supported through every step of the journey.
• Plan objectively
Despite being one of the smartest species on the planet, human beings are not always rational when making decisions – especially when it comes to investing. Often, our decision-making prowess is clouded by our emotions and personal beliefs. By understanding our behavioural biases, as explored in our recent CIO Academy report, we can adopt ways to check our approaches and make better plans and investment decisions.
While 38 per cent of women feel that financial independence is the most important contributor to self-esteem, 55 per cent of women do not currently have a financial plan, according to research from the WealthiHer network.
So, how can women best approach planning for a financial future? What role can HSBC Global Private Banking play in supporting women to effectively manage their wealth in these turbulent economic times? And why is value-led financial planning vital to female investment and entrepreneurship?
Wealth with a purpose
Over half of women do not yet have a comprehensive financial plan for the future, and some still perceive wealth management to be a male-dominated industry. Nonetheless, there is significant progress, with 10 per cent fewer women feeling wealth management is male-focused, and with the ongoing rise in prominent female entrepreneurs, CEOs, and financial leaders.
But according to WealthiHer founder Tamara Gillan, forming a financial plan built upon purpose is vital to success – whether that be as an entrepreneur, or investor, or to establish a legacy for yourself and future generations.
“From our most recent research, we know the purpose of wealth for many women is to provide security and comfort for their loved ones,” says Gillan. “But if you’re a woman over 40, you’re more likely to have a plan for when you’re no longer here, than one for your future. We need to address this. Women need to consider financial planning for their near and long-term futures, as these plans are inextricably linked to a woman’s hopes and dreams for themselves and loved ones.”
Kirsty Moore, Managing Director, HSBC Global Private Banking, adds: “We always encourage our clients to make time to plan, regardless of whether you’re running a business or thinking about your family’s financial future. A good plan can not only take away some of the stress and uncertainty around your financial future, but it also allows you to better manage change when it happens.”
If you’re a woman over 40, you’re more likely to have a plan for when you’re no longer here, than one for your future. We need to address this. Women need to consider financial planning for their near- and long-term futures. – Tamara Gillan, Founder, WealthiHer
The importance of community
Communities focused on raising up women and their wealth can play an integral role in supporting their approach to financial planning. HSBC Global Private Banking is a founding partner of networks such as WealthiHer, which aim to transform women’s financial futures through education and events designed to improve financial confidence.
“The importance of communities like WealthiHer should not be underestimated,” says Moore. “HSBC works with WealthiHer to share their research and help provide women a safe space to ask questions and share knowledge with each other.
“At one of our recent events, attended by very senior women in finance, discussions focused on how to have potentially difficult financial conversations with loved ones,” says Gillan. “One woman spoke about how she wanted to have a baby but didn’t know how to approach conversations with her partner about the financial management of that decision. So, these safe spaces can offer women permission to speak openly and ask questions about finances and family.”
Through community, women can find tools and advice to help build a financial plan based upon their personal or female-led values.
“For women, financial planning is often inextricably emotional,” adds Gillan. “You’re driven by your love and your care of people. Both emotionally and practically, women need those safe spaces and advice.”
Using cash flow projections to stress test your financial objectives can be a great practical step. What is the predicted trajectory of your wealth – both growing it and how you are spending it currently? Being clear on where it is and how hard it is working can help sustain your lifestyle aspirations, while still working towards long term goals or milestones.
Moore says: “I have seen cash flow modelling regularly benefit clients where there has been a recent change, such as a divorce or bereavement, and it’s more important than ever to understand what this means in practice to everyday income needs and future plans for themselves and their loved ones. Cash flow planning brings to life financial planning concepts in a visual and engaging way. A better understanding leads to a greater sense of control and empowerment.”
Cash flow planning brings to life financial planning concepts in a visual and engaging way. Better understanding leads to a greater sense of control and empowerment. – Kirsty Moore, Managing Director, HSBC Global Private Banking
Risk averse or risk aware investors?
Within the investment and business worlds, women are often perceived to be risk-averse – in comparison to their male counterparts. But this is far from accurate. Instead, say both Moore and Gillan, it is better to understand women as risk aware. And this is – in part – a result of the typical end goals tied to women’s wealth.
“Of course, if you’re making decisions that impact you and your loved ones, you want to understand that decision or that investment,” says Gillan. “You want information. You want to feel confident. And that changes the propensity for risk.
“For men, the purpose of wealth can more often be tied to financial success as an end goal in and of itself. That doesn’t appear as often for women. It's linked to myself, my family, and my loved ones.”
This sense of responsibility is a defining feature in the conversation around women, wealth, and financial planning – women’s relationship with wealth management is one riddled with a responsibility to others – but prioritising personal values is essential when it comes to making a meaningful financial plan.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how HSBC Global Private Banking can support your financial plans for the future, or how cash flow planning can shed light on the way forward, then contact us or your Relationship Manager.