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Woman’s Work: Redefining The American Dream

May 2012

Esther SternsFeaturing Esther Stearns, President, LPL Financial

The world – it is a-changing! Esther Stearns, President and COO of LPL Financial gave us specific insights of how women in the financial services industry are well positioned to meet the demands of change. Much of what is changing is the relationship between women 
and their families’ money. Research indicates that the Gender Gap has been closing and it is anticipated that it will be reversed by 2024 – when women will make more money than men. These changes have accelerated during the recession as a disproportionate number of men have been affected in the male-dominated professions of construction, manufacturing and financial services. Women are now the breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American households. And recent LPL studies conducted among the mass affluent show that two-thirds of women want to be involved in the financial decisions within their family and 75% of husbands want their wives to be involved in those decisions.

Today, 89% of bank accounts are women-owned; women control 51% of personal wealth; and women drive $5 trillion in annual consumption in the U.S. (equal to Japan’s entire annual consumption). And yet, the vast majority of financial advisors are men, focused on serving men. Studies showed that men advisors offered less investment choices to women than to men. Research indicates that seven out of ten women who become newly single, through divorce or widowhood, seek a new financial advisor.

Just as in the world of micro-finance – where women are key to the success of families and villages in the developing world – women in middle class America are key to the success, education and future of their families, communities, and America. —Contributed by Pam Flournoy

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