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A New Look at Primary Breadwinners: Introduction to the series on Winning Executives


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Last year, Forbes magazine set the internet on fire with the inclusion of Kylie Jenner in its rankings of female self-made millionaires. Regardless of the family connections and other advantages Ms. Jenner may have used to obtain a place on the list, there was a benefit to the intense public debate. A growing new category of high net-worth (HNW) individuals took the conversation spotlight: Women who built wealth, not primarily via inheritance or spousal income, but rather through working or investing.

A lot of data on women, but not enough intelligence on executive women – or men.

In line with FlexShares’ commitment to help advisors meet the needs of investors, we embarked on a journey of information gathering, looking for specifics on the financial mindset of high-net-worth (HNW) women who were primary income earners. We ran into a knowledge gap. A significant amount of past market research merely focused on how women, in general, see the wealth management industry, grapple with traditional marital roles, and deal with professional peer relations. Next to nothing is available that focuses on the particular needs of women wealth creators and very little attention is being paid to their male executive counterparts.

Addressing the Knowledge Gap

We commissioned research designed to help financial advisors understand the differences in money perspectives between men and women wealth creators. The survey took in responses from across 9 target U.S. markets and surveyed 211 women and 250 men who met a list of criteria, such as household Income over $200,000, assets of at least $1M liquid (not including 401k or their primary residence, lowered to $250,000 for ages 35-39) and more. From the data, we were able to glean insight on HNW primary earning women's – and men’s -- financial experiences and wealth management needs as well as their perspectives on matters of money. We discovered what HNW female and male primary breadwinners have in common. We found out more about the ways women wealth creators differ from men, particularly with respect to their investment goals and service model expectations. And, we also increased our understanding of the impact of societal frameworks and personal lifestyles have on the investment mindset by gender.

We invite advisors to use our research to: offer a compelling value proposition to HNW female and male primary income earners; build targeted best practices to effectively engage the target market segment and to deliver a client experience uniquely suited to the client's needs Start today by downloading the white paper and following our weekly series of briefs on this topic.


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