Three Ways Women are Changing the Financial Industry


In many ways, finance is no longer seen as “the man’s job.” While a woman’s influence has long been a powerful force, her role as an economic driver has become more recognized – and it’s starting to show.

As women take on primary financial roles, they bring unique perspectives and experiences,   uncovering fresh, creative approaches.

Personally: Women Taking Hold of Personal Finances

A 2015 Prudential Research Study showed that, coming out of the recession, more women started taking control of their family’s finances. While this was true by default of single women, more married women reported leading their family’s financial decisions, up 13% in almost a decade. The study also reported that the majority of those women feel confident in their short-term financial goals.

Yet as women settle into this role, the need for long-term financial planning is a critical factor for financial confidence and success. Marianela Collado, CEO of Tobias Financial Advisors, recommends finding an advisor you can trust and relate to. She says you should never feel intimidated or talked over. Find someone who will help you develop those long-term goals – and get started as soon as possible as early strategies lead to the best results.

Professionally: Women Disrupting the Financial Planning Playing Field

As women fill jobs, that were once dominated by men, firms are becoming increasingly diverse. We each connect with different people for different reasons. Sometimes women prefer working directly with other women, and men with men. Sometimes we prefer people who look or sound like us or share similar experiences or backgrounds. Women bringing diversity to financial firms allows for a wider audience of clients.

And the opportunities seem to abound. According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, currently only 23.2% of Certified Financial Planners in the U.S. are women. And yet, as women take more financial control and as they grow in personal wealth, they may be looking for, or be encouraged by, more women in those advisory positions.

Tightening the Pay Gap

Florida is a great place for women to fill those positions, as it sits at number five currently among the states with the smallest pay gap between men and women, and is projected to be the first state that reaches parity, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Researching.

Even as the tables are turning, they haven’t flipped yet, as the numbers show.  But women who can find a supportive environment and bring a certain moxie to the field can achieve success. “Listen more and talk less. Pick up those nuggets,” Marianela recommends. “You control your destiny. Find the place that ignites you, excites you. Don’t let other people tell you what you can or cannot do.”

A Critical part of what we do is about the behaviors that go along with executing the strategy.” – Catalina Franco-Cicero, MS, CFP®

Industry-Wide: Women Shaking up the Financial Industry

Women who overcome the mid-career conflict and move into management are in a position to make industry-wide change. Women are bringing their voice to boards, associations, and executive groups, advocating for young professionals and for women in finance. Their voice creates a ripple effect, influencing new financial professionals and educating women worldwide.

Serving as role models and proving to young women just starting their careers is a heavy, but paramount, responsibility for women in financial management. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, employed women are more likely to be in a professional occupation than men, but that profession is less likely to be in management, business or finance. This gap serves as an opportunity for women in those high-level roles in finance and management to speak up and inspire others to follow them.

Marianela has kept that reality in mind throughout her career, and especially now that she is the CEO. “She’s emulating me,” she explains, speaking of her fellow female finance professionals. “As a mom, as a leader, people are watching you, people are copying you because they think that’s how they get to the top. They are learning your technical skills – and your people skills.” It’s this awareness of her staff and her clients that led her to being honored as one of sixteen under the age of 40 to receive a Standing Ovation award from the American Institute of CPA’s.

For Marianela, from learning financial principles for herself to working up to the CEO position of an advisory firm, it’s always been about taking the lead and proving herself. “Earn the right to be in that room. Earn the right to speak,” she tells other women in the industry. “I never thought of it as a male/woman thing. I just did me.” It’s not about approaching money as a man, or trying to fill a male-role. It’s about women taking the lead – in their own finances, in their careers, and in the financial field as a whole – and making a change for the next generation.  

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