Aging female clients most in jeopardy

Advisors will have to do a better job of equipping their aging female clients for retirement, with new data pointing to a widening income gap past 65.

Aging female clients most in jeopardy

Advisors could better equip their aging female clients for retirement, as gender income gaps widen globally, particularly for woman over the age of 65, according to the OECD.

The report, Pensions at Glance 2013 – which analyzed the national pension systems of the 34 OECD countries – identified Canada as one of the only countries (besides Turkey and Poland) where the number of pensioners in poverty increased between 2007 and 2010 by two per cent. This is especially concerning for women who generally live longer, receive lower pensions and have an increased chance of slipping into poverty, particularly if they require long-term care.
“Women are in and out of the workforce throughout their lifetime due to child rearing,” says the CEO of Money Coaches Canada, Karin Mizgala, who deals primarily with female investors. “The older (female) seniors today may not have had as many opportunities in the workforce over their lifetime …. and now they have to figure out how to manage money without a lot of skills.”

This knowledge gap causes women to shut down and be less apt to openly discuss money and their personal financial situation, says Mizgala. “When there is a lot of fear and anxiety, clients get really intimidated at having these conversations with financial professionals,” she explains. “They don’t seek out the information or advice because they are too afraid. They don’t know what questions to ask.” (continued on Page 2.)


There are a number of other unanticipated situations that can affect an aging client’s ability to plan properly for retirement – sending them into, what Mizgala calls, a “double transition.” These include a divorce after children have fled the nest, the death of a spouse or the interference of offspring or extended family members in the financial planning process.

Mizgala says that, whatever the roadblock, a client’s immediate needs must be re-assessed and concessions made to their retirement plan. She recommends advisors focus initially on the client’s expenses making sure cash outflow match the inflows, rather than looking at the big picture, which may overwhelm the client.

“When somebody is going through those transitions, they may be emotionally incapable of making decisions,” she says. “They need to prioritize what decisions need to be made and that they are going to be ok in the coming months.”

According to the OECD, the overall retirement age for most men and women, globally, will be 67 years old by 2050, representing an increase of 3.5 years on average for men and 4.5 years for women. With reforms leading to lower pensions, more money will inevitably need to be saved for retirement.