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My Financial Planner Should Be Famous

A number of years ago, I turned to a financial planner when I was a waitress. With so much cash on hand, I knew I should do something with my money but was unsure what. With a degree in English and a passion for words, not numbers, I knew that I would never be able to understand or research a topic as thoroughly as my money deserved. I turned to someone who would be able to answer my questions and speak to me openly and honestly – a financial planner with Edward Jones.

My actions are in line with The National Center for Women and Retirement Research (NCWRR) statement that women spend more time researching their investment choices than men do. This prevents women from chasing "hot" tips and trading on whims—behavior that tends to weaken men's portfolios.

In truth, if you go by numbers alone, women are better investors. In a University of California Davis 1997 study, they found that women's portfolios gained 1.4 percent more than men's portfolios. And men trade 45 percent more often than women do because men tend to be overconfident. By trading more often (and without enough research), men reduce their net returns. By trading less often, women get better returns and also save on transaction costs and capital gains tax.

The financial market is no different than any other sector in that women still like lots of information. Women seek out financial data and information online, and are more apt to seek financial advice from an advisor. With today’s current state of affairs and the headlines reporting dire financial news, it should come as no surprise that I again turn to my financial advisor. My accounts are a few zeros short of being important to anyone other than myself, but I can’t help but wonder what to do? Is there action for me to take?

My financial advisor’s reaction to my uncertainty and fear is so good, I have to quote him, “I can appreciate your concerns. While we are in a downturn in the economy and there are many issues with the credit markets, the future is much brighter than the media leads us to believe. I will be happy to discuss with you at your convenience. The best thing to do right now is sit tight, remain diversified, be patient and invest monthly when possible. I sincerely appreciate your business and continued trust in me.”

And when I didn’t respond in two days, he followed up with, “I never heard back from you so I wanted to follow up. Do you want to chat this week? I will do my best to accommodate your free time.” This is a perfect example of 'how to respond to an email' or 'how to have excellent customer service.' Or simply, how to do a job so well, you have customers raving about you like I am doing now.

With this level of customer service, attention, and honesty, combined with the recognition of my fears and current situation, as well as a suggestion for what to do, it is quite understandable why women turn to financial advisors. This is a recipe for continued success no matter how the markets change. I can only hope your financial advisor is as attentive and kind as mine (not to mention, good with money!). You can find Jonathan Stearns here.