Women investors must change their thought process and behaviors to improve their financially secure, speakers  at NAPFA’s National conference said.

In a keynote address to all attendees, Tom Nally, TD Ameritrade Institutional’s new president, said advisors working with women need to avoid painting the entire geneder with a broad brush because every woman has unique goals and lifestyles. He said advisors that take time to listen will make a much better connection.

Nally said, when it comes to marketing to women, he referenced a quote in TD Ameritrade’s material for advisors: “Don’t just think you can change your font to pink and you have it covered.”

Terry Savage, a syndicated financial columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, led a panel of a female investors who shared their perspectives on investing.  The panel, comprised of a single retiree, a widow, a same-sex partner and a divorcee, served as a focus group that allowed advisors in attendance to gain insights into how women think and invest.

When it comes to marketing to women, Savage said “there is no one size that fits all.”  She said she made a mistake in her past by trying to prove women were the same as men. “I have come to appreciate one thing,” Savage said. “ Women have a special fear of being a bag lady.”

The panelist all admitted to worrying about not having enough money to live through retirement.  Some worried about having enough to provide for their children and, in one case, older relatives.

The same-sex partner said that she was likely to replace the couple’s  advisor because her current advisor did not specialize in the sometimes-complicated gay and lesbian financial situation. She said she was hesitant to make a change because she was waiting for the bread-winner to make the choice, leaving her in what used to be the traditional female role.

When selecting an advisor, the widow said she interviewed three prospective candidates.  She ultimately selected the advisor that communicated well and listened. She loved that could call the advisor’s office and get a call back within 24 hours.

“Women are our own worst enemies,” said Savage, as she encouraged the panelists to be empowered and take charge.  “We want to help you, but you have to want to help yourself.  It is really your money.  Nobody cares as much about your future, as you do.”

Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at www.byrnesconsulting.com.