What are women investors asking their investment advisors as we emerge from the global pandemic? What is top of mind for women and their money? I reached out to four top global investment advisors to tap into the current investor mindset. 

Maria Pia Leon, Director, Forbes Family Trust in Miami:

“The pandemic has reminded us of our human condition. The dialogues I am having with families are more philosophical, about their mortality and their legacy. They are thinking about what they are going to leave to their loved ones, not only money but also what their contribution will be to their family and society. This is far more complex than discussing investments, this is an emotional and energy-consuming challenge. My answer is that a real legacy is a bond through generations based on a shared purpose, which must be worked out by the family. I remind them that the lack of a legacy plan, shared purpose, and wealth education, combined with disputes among generations is a dynamic that blocks the success of a family and the family business.”

Jacqueline Ruedin Rüsch, Founder and CEO, Privilège Management in Zurich:

“In general, this pandemic increased the level of fear and uncertainty, so women have had a need to talk more, understand more, and be listened to more. The main concerns/topics have been:

  1. The crash in the market in spring 2020 and the impact on their portfolios
  2. Potentially losing their job
  3. Changes in life goals/priorities 
  4. Increasing their know-how and better understanding the consequences of investing 

My answers have not really changed because of the pandemic: the principles of investment remain the same. My job is to listen to women and try and understand their needs. For me it is important that they are fully aware of how things work and that they realize nothing is too difficult to understand. Often, women are brilliant managers, sometimes leading a group of people, but when it comes to their own wealth there can be a need for some hand-holding.”

Marguerita Cheng, CEO, Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Washington DC:

“How do I balance the need for short-term stability with the opportunity for long-term growth? I think this is so important because no one plans for a global pandemic. We need to prepare for uncertainty in the short-term while maintaining an investment strategy for long term goals. I help clients pandemic-proof their portfolio with the bucket approach. The first bucket is for liquidity. The second bucket is for longevity. The third bucket is for legacy. The first bucket addresses the need for contingency planning, any emergencies, or opportunities. The second and third buckets focus on long-term investing.”

Erin O’Brien, Partner and Portfolio Manager, Cumberland Private Wealth Management in Toronto: 

“How will I know when I have enough money to retire? This is a pressing question in many women’s minds and can only be answered by doing a comprehensive financial plan. This plan needs to be revisited on a regular basis to see how you are progressing toward your goals to determine if any adjustments to the plan need to be made over time. This involves forecasting your monthly retirement budget, reviewing your pension income, current assets, and savings requirements against the backdrop of an achievable rate of return projection. This process will guide you to determining how much you need to save and for how long in order to have enough funds to support you though your retirement years. It is never to early or too late to start this process.”

Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see www.barbarastewart.ca.