Female financial advisers
Alamy
Countless studies show that women are better investors than men -- for one thing, women exhibit more self-control and don't tend to jump in and out of the stock market, which eats away at investment returns. Women save a higher percentage of their income than men, even though they typically earn less money than their male counterparts. Women are also more focused on comprehensive financial planning, instead of focusing solely on investment returns.

Need stock tips and help deciding the best Social Security claiming option and guidance on preparing an estate plan and input on long-term care strategy? That's the kind of holistic planning that plays right to women's strengths. But good luck finding a female adviser to guide you.

Where Are All the Women?

You'd think the financial planning profession would be a natural magnet for women, with their relationship-building skills and empathetic nature. Turns out, that's not the case.

In fact, as few as 8 out of 100 financial advisers are female, according to a study conducted last year by Cerulli Associates, and just 23 percent of Certified Financial Planners are women.

It's not the education requirements that are standing in the way. Professional fields like law and medicine have gained more gender parity, even given their more rigorous levels of education and time commitments. (Requirements obtain the CFP designation include a bachelor's degree, academic courses, a comprehensive board exam, and at least three years of professional experience.)

Yet the percentage of female CFPs hasn't budged in the past decade. And it's not as if the number of people in the field isn't growing: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the financial advising industry will grow by roughly 32 percent over the next decade.

Addressing the Gender Gap

So why don't women more readily enter this field? That's something the Certified Financial Planner Board wants to find out. It recently announced an initiative to increase the number of women entering the profession. As part of this effort, the CFP Board has formed a Women's Initiative Advisory Panel to help identify the challenges women face when entering the financial planning field and craft solutions for addressing this gender gap.

Once considered a traditionally masculine profession focused on selling products and executing trades, the financial services industry has become more advice-oriented. But until this industry does a better job of attracting and retaining more women in the financial planning ranks, it's doing a grave disservice to all investors.

Motley Fool contributor Nicole Seghetti writes about personal finance, retirement, and investing. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti.

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14 Comments

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socioeconomist1

Here is another bit of advice for people.... men or women, doesn't matter.. Financial planners are nothing more than mutual fund salesmen. In order to be certified by the SEC to be a financial advisor, you must be sponsored by a financial institution to take the series 7 test.. Someone who has invested for years and knows more about the stock markets than some straight out of college rookie can't even take the test. Then once a person is series 7 certified, they are required by law to tell every client the same exact thing... diversify, buy your assets spread out over time, etc... I know of a male financial advisor, and when he worked at a bank, they made him push mutual funds that he knew 100% were inferior to the Vanguard Mutual Funds. He wanted to tell people to buy Vanguard, but his employer wouldn't let him because the bank was paid to push the crap mutual funds. This story is 100% true...

May 24 2013 at 2:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to socioeconomist1's comment
socioeconomist1

100% of all certified series 7 financial advisors are douche bags that have no idea how the capitalist cycle works and how it applies to stocks and bonds.

May 24 2013 at 2:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
socioeconomist1

HA !!!.... Women save more money because they get their drinks bought for them by desperate men at the bar.. I know a CPA that has a female financial advisor as a client. The female financial advisor is always calling the CPA asking questions like "What is my maximum contribution to an IRA"... and also that CPA handles a trust fund for the financial advisor. The financial advisor took out a ton of cash in 2012 and was surprised to find out that she had to pay taxes on it... This is a financial advisor that is employed by a major bank and makes over $50,000 a year telling people how to invest their money and other financial choices !!... She doesn't know squat about her own finances yet she is out there working on behalf of a bank as a series 7 certified financial advisor telling people what to do with their money.... This is story is entirely true...

May 24 2013 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dubbybubby

My wife has been an advisor for over 30 years. When people say she must love it I cringe. She has been in two lawsuits with two well known firms because of the way they treat or mistreat women. It is still is an old boys club. The culture has ot change.

May 23 2013 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dubbybubby's comment
classof68gto

I worked for a major brokerage firm for 30 years and I saw where women were discriminated against.

May 23 2013 at 11:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
clafoon

The same traits that make Women better Financial Planners also make them better Politicians. If we only had a 50 % split in Politics between Women and Men we would not have this Government disaster we are watching real time in Washington. Women now how to get something done by compromising and gently argueing their point.

All Wars are started by Men because they want to be dominating yet they always loose because the Citizens of their Country finally get tired of the domination.

May 23 2013 at 2:40 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jacobsgold

So it really matters what sex you are?

May 23 2013 at 11:15 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jacobsgold's comment
Denise

No, but we are talking about the above article.

May 23 2013 at 12:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
bdyftns

It matter to me : )

May 24 2013 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denise

I will be celebrating my 17th anniversary as an independent financial advisor this month and I am a woman. I think it is a great career and enabled me to have the flexibility to be with my daughter. You have to work hard to be successful, but it is such a rewarding career. I believe women should mentor other women to get them involved in the industry. I had 2 mentors and they both happened to be men, but I think a women exploring the career opportunty may want to seek out a woman because it is different.

May 23 2013 at 10:37 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Denise's comment
sandyhland

I would like to hear more about you experience as a financial planner as I am exploring the field

May 23 2013 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sandyhland's comment
bdyftns

What is this, 'Match Dot Com?

May 24 2013 at 1:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
booksandpages

I'm a woman and I'd love to be a financial planner. It is the "sales" part of the job that holds no interest for me whatsoever. Sales and marketing are different skill sets, yet many financial planners have to bring in their own clients.

May 23 2013 at 9:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to booksandpages's comment
Denise

Have you ever considered working with a financial planner and doing all the other things other than the "sales" part? I have people working for me that help my practice work.

May 23 2013 at 10:46 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
.kowalski440mag

My wife doesn't come close to saving more than me......As a matter of fact she gets grouchy when she doesn't have money to pis_ away. Spending seems to bring happiness(false though).

May 23 2013 at 8:48 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply