Two financial checklists for women business owners
Women-owned business isn’t a new phenomenon, with the first one started in 1739. But after centuries of being a small part of the economy, more than 4 in 10¹ businesses are women-owned—and growing. Focusing on female entrepreneurs can help financial professionals broaden and grow their practices.
Are you overlooking a growing market?
Most business owners are also adept jugglers—balancing work and family life, personal finances, and business finances, which are often intermingled. As a result, they’re often stretched pretty thin for time and money. And despite progress on other gaps between women and men, there’s still a financial literacy gap, although more than a third of this gap is due to a lack of confidence, not a lack of knowledge.2
But even women who are confident financial planners may not have the time they need to manage their personal finances, as well as manage their business. In a recent survey, we found that 46% of women would prefer to work with a financial advisor, compared with 35% of men.3 With women-owned businesses generating $1.9 trillion in revenue and employing 9.4 million workers in 2019,4 this represents an opportunity for financial professionals to work with women business owners and self-employed women to help them gain confidence in financial planning, both for their businesses and their personal finances.
Forty-two percent of all U.S. businesses are owned by women.3
Checklist #1: financial planning for women business owners
Managing a business can consume a lot of time, energy, and focus, leaving business owners with little left for their own personal or family finances. As you guide your clients through their personal financial planning, consider working through this checklist of your services:
- Personal financial planning—what plans do they have, and where do they need help?
- Debt management
- College funding
- Family needs planning
- Retirement planning
- Investment strategy—are they managing their own investments, and would they like help investing?
- Retirement accounts
- Other short- and long-term accounts
- Estate planning—this much-procrastinated plan is especially important for someone who owns a business or is self-employed.
- Wills and trusts
- Healthcare proxies
- Power of attorney
- Life insurance
- Legacy planning
Checklist #2: business planning for entrepreneurial and self-employed women
The skills required to run a successful start-up—entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and risk taking—don’t always extend to fiscal management. Share your skills with your women business owners by guiding them through these business planning tasks.
- A detailed financial plan that includes:
- Cash flow planning—including determining if they’re missing out on opportunities by allowing capital to build up in checking and low-interest savings accounts
- Banking needs—such as a line of credit to improve liquidity and business adaptability
- Business valuation
- Purchase and sales agreements and funding
- Exit strategy/harvest and succession planning
- Business insurance
- Property insurance
- Commercial general liability insurance
- Professional liability insurance
- Creditor insurance
- Employee benefits—in addition to attracting talent, some benefits—such as retirement plans—offer the following business tax benefits:
- Insurance—health, life, and disability
- Paid leave
- Retirement plans
- Equity incentive plans
A to do for you: recruiting women in your practice
Does your staff reflect the opportunities you want to pursue? Women majoring in business and math-related degrees are increasing in number, but their growth in financial services isn’t keeping up. Although 46% of undergraduate degrees in business, math, and statistics are earned by women,1,2 the vast majority of financial advisors—82%—are men.5 Your female clients may prefer to work with a woman, who they believe will better identify with their situation. Take a look at your hiring practices, and make sure you’re recruiting candidates from diverse sources and colleges. If you’ve been using the same sources, look for new ways of reaching out to diverse candidates.
Use skills you already have to serve a growing market
Of course, you can use these checklists with any entrepreneur, not just your female clients. But focusing on the needs of women business owners may help you build a niche in this growing market, using the skills that are already part of your daily practice.
The content of this document is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of the posting date, but may be subject to change. It is not intended to provide investment, tax, plan design, or legal advice (unless otherwise indicated). Please consult your own independent advisor as to any investment, tax, or legal statements made.
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services LLC offers administrative and/or recordkeeping services to sponsors and administrators of retirement plans. John Hancock Trust Company LLC provides trust and custodial services to such plans. Group annuity contracts and recordkeeping agreements are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Boston, MA (not licensed in NY), and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY. Product features and availability may differ by state. Securities are offered through John Hancock Distributors LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.
John Hancock Investment Management Distributors LLC is the principal underwriter and wholesale distribution broker-dealer for the John Hancock mutual funds, member FINRA, SIPC.