Financial Confidence in Your Moments of Truth

By Alexia Candelaria, CFP® & Katherine K. Burgess, CFP® | May 31, 2024 |

Financial confidence is an interesting quality to demand from oneself. You can try to will it into being, but true financial confidence comes from knowing you have the tools to face the challenges.

Here are three moments where we see our female clients build financial confidence.  

#1 When you first work with a female advisor

As female lead advisors, we often encounter clients working with a female advisor for the first time. They frequently express how different an experience it is. For example, we’ve heard about older male advisors who have been with broker-dealers for decades and typically have a more traditional approach. They tend to enter meetings with a set agenda, focusing mainly on the stock market without integrating the clients’ personal goals or ensuring everyone understands the plan’s details. Often, clients feel spoken down to, as if they are being patted on the head, which is not our approach at Brighton Jones—regardless of the advisor’s gender.

Our aim is always to ensure that clients fully understand the objectives of meetings.  

#2 When you live in the “fog” after the death of a loved one

When handling estate proceedings, especially as an executor, there often arises a period that we frequently refer to as the “fog,” which can last about a year or even 18 months following the death of a loved one. This is when you’re managing all you can, dealing with known finances and sometimes unknown surprises, such as unexpected properties or accounts suddenly coming to light.  

Our role as advisors becomes crucial during this foggy period. Many people, particularly older individuals, hire us to keep an eye on the proceedings and help navigate the complexities of estate management. This is especially true for those who might not have been deeply involved in the financial details previously, such as some older women who might have left the financial management to their spouses and focused more on areas like their children’s education. 

#3 When stock price volatility threatens your work-life balance

Women often come to Brighton Jones with high concentrations of stock, which, while boosting their net worth as the stock prices climb, also exposes them to volatility. This is especially notable in the tech industry. However, the tech sector is capricious. Frequent layoffs and market fluctuations make high concentrations in one stock burden a work-life balance with risk.  

Discussions with women in tech often focus on how they can leverage their financial resources to step back from demanding roles or pursue passion projects. This conversation typically revolves around achieving vocational freedom and understanding their options to make such transitions without jeopardizing their financial stability.   

Many clients, understanding their high earning potential, aren’t necessarily looking to quit working immediately but want the flexibility to do so. They want to structure their finances in a way that allows them to maintain stability even during market downturns. This approach reassures them about their family’s future regardless of market conditions. 

Additionally, while these individuals might believe in their companies and feel reluctant to sell their stock, given that their compensation is tied to the company’s success, it’s crucial to discuss the benefits of diversifying. For instance, reducing their stock holdings can secure tangible assets and opportunities that aren’t dependent on the company’s performance, like purchasing a lake house or funding private schooling for their children. 

Building financial confidence and self-assurance

Our female clients become more  confident and self-assured in managing their finances by embracing the opportunity to learn by doing, building connections with other women, and making it a priority, including: 

  • Financial Education: Learning how to manage taxes, investing, saving, and budgeting are all critical financial skills that should be included in the average educational curriculum. Figuring out how to get the education you need is a top priority.  
  • Time and Resources: Not all women have the time to identify credible and entertaining financial resources. Every individual has a preferred method of learning and processing information. Research shows that over one in three American women have listened to a podcast in the past month, and more than half of self-help book readers are women. 
  • Community: Finding a trusted companion to share your journey to financial literacy and creating a comfortable learning environment can aid you in the process. Women supporting women in all areas of life, including financial independence, are a source of support – and confidence-building. 
  • Role Models: Providing young women with sound role models and empowering them to be financially aware is an important first step. Knowing that financial confidence is possible by seeing it in other women ahead of you is a significant first step to getting there yourself.

The journey to financial confidence is transformative, especially for women facing life-altering changes or managing complex assets. The shift from passive to proactive involvement in financial decisions, particularly in challenging environments like volatile stock markets or during significant personal transitions, leads to greater confidence and alignment with one’s financial and life goals.  

The value of WLRL to you

Being financially literate and empowered is necessary for the household and whatever job you choose. Aiding women through this process is of utmost importance at Brighton Jones. Women Living a Richer Life client community can help you navigate this journey and provide you with the community to build confidence around your finances. We are breaking barriers and providing representation with the mission to connect you to the resources that best support you. 

Here’s how Brighton Jones can help

Brighton Jones is one of the country’s fastest-growing wealth management firms, with over $24 billion in assets under advisement, helping more than 4,000 clients live a richer life daily. Their advisors have intimate knowledge of corporate benefits at America’s largest companies. They are proud to help their clients navigate the trickiest components of their benefit offerings, whether minimizing tax liabilities, managing cash flow, or planning around equity compensation. 

(Acknowledgment: Haley Droppelman and Olivia Peluso supported the research and drafting of this blog.) 

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