Needed: More Female CFP®s

Compared to other professions, financial planning’s progress in attracting women looks pretty slow. According to the CFP® Board of Standards, the percentage of female Certified Financial Planners™ has remained stagnant at 23%  for the past decade. This compares unfavorably to other traditionally male-dominated occupations – women now represent 60% of accountants, 54% of pharmacists, 40% of banking professionals, 33% of all practicing physicians, and 36% of practicing lawyers.

Why should you care? There might be a young girl or woman in your life who isn’t aware that financial planning is a wonderful career choice.

 What makes it so wonderful? 

1) Helping people build confidence in their financial future. There’s joy and fulfillment in using your own knowledge and experience to help people feel better.

2) Getting to use a combination of technical and people skills. Good financial planners use listening techniques as much as math and technology.

3) The opportunity ahead, in general and for women, specifically. Between 2014 and 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the demand for financial planners would grow 30%. The growth is coming primarily from the fact that Americans can no longer rely on private employers and Social Security to completely fund retirement. Much of the preparation is up to them. Many are going to need a professional to guide them.​  Although men have historically been the partner in charge of the finances, increasingly women are taking on this role and educating themselves. Of those who don’t, a certain percentage will be forced to due to early widowhood. Yes, men can serve them equally as well as women, but sometimes women prefer to seek advice from a woman.

4) A certification (CFP®) that emphasizes ethical responsibility. The profession is increasingly drawing bright lines to help the public distinguish the professionals from the product salespeople.

5) Money is an emotional topic. Good financial planning requires sensitivity, compassion, and empathy – attributes that are often downplayed in the land of business and other professions. In financial planning, the more you have of these, the more successful you will be.

3 Myths About Financial Planning as a Career:

A) It’s focused on numbers.

Actually, it’s focused on people. The numbers are necessary, but they don’t communicate.

B) It’s about selling products.

It’s about building authentic, long-lasting relationships. You don’t have to sell any products, at all, to be a financial planner. (Ask me.)

C) It’s about investment advice.

True financial planning involves a lot more: retirement lifestyle planning, tax planning, estate planning, cash flow and budgeting, college savings, Social Security, Medicare, business succession, and insurance planning, as well as investment advice.

Why do I care? When I go to conferences, I love to see my male colleagues, but I would also love to see more women there. When I look around, it concerns me that in twenty years, our profession won’t look like our client base. Recruiting more women is one big step toward providing satisfying careers, while giving those future clients more choices, too.

This weekend I told this story to a group of 100 high school and college aged young women at the 2nd annual  Career Cafe​ in Tampa. I shared the lessons I learned through my journey in this male-dominated profession, as well as how I forged my own path and find fulfillment every day in what I do. I am happy to chat with young women who might be considering finance as a career – just use my online   scheduler to book a 30-minute call.

Holly Donaldson

Holly P. Donaldson, CFP® writes and consults on the psychology of money. Her fee-only, product-free financial planning practice focuses on increasing financial self-efficacy for those seeking a financial navigator to help them make good decisions. She is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch." With a fully virtual practice in Seminole, Florida, she primarily serves clients located in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas. Holly will also work with clients who are a good fit located elsewhere in the United States.

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