In life there are often critical moments when receiving good advice can make a real difference for women, according to Liz Trotter, a financial adviser and managing partner in Adelaide’s Triple A Financial Services.
A vocal advocate for empowering women through increased levels of financial literacy, Liz believes financial education should start from a young age in high schools as a foundation for future advice.
“We’re teaching women to embrace education but we’re not actually teaching them how to spend their money, or to save and build a future that they’re in control of.
“That why it’s really important for women to have an entry-level to understanding finances,” she says.
Critical life moments when advice matters
When it comes to benefiting from advice, Liz thinks the first key moment for women is when they start earning money after they’ve gone through school or university.
“Women can become vulnerable — so they need to work out the next five or 10 years [after that point] to know what they want and have the freedom to do it.”
Beyond that, Liz believes women need nurturing if they come back from a breakdown or a traumatic event, whether it’s loss of a partner or a lifestyle, which may be changing jobs or transitioning to retirement.
“We don’t focus enough on loss of a lifestyle, when someone has had dual income with a partner or a single income from a high-paying job. And if they’re retiring or taking a sabbatical, they have less income but more time on their hands, which is a recipe for overspending.
“So it’s refocusing on what’s important to you at those moments —that’s when you need someone there to help guide you through those big decisions,” she says.
What women want from financial advice
With regards to seeking financial guidance, Liz maintains that women need to know their whole family is going to benefit from the advice.
“They’re also more comfortable telling you what works and what doesn’t, or asking you to go over things they don’t understand.”
Liz believes that women often have emotional ties and social responsibilities, like caring for children or elderly parents, which weigh more heavily on them. As such, they often prefer to deal with one thing at a time, absorb it and see results, rather than taking a holistic approach.
“I help clients rate their priorities and their challenges to look at where we need to focus our energy. They’re very good at defining what’s stressing them, whether it’s overspending or a lack of knowledge in a specific area.”
Accordingly, Liz says that a major outcome of receiving advice is that her clients have greater confidence, empowering them to take ownership of their finances.
“I don’t want to tell clients what to do, I aim to teach them how to make great decisions for themselves using the strategies and tools I’ve shown them. It’s about understanding their limitations and setting their expectations for the future.”
Walking the talk
Evidencing her commitment, Liz dedicates 10 per cent of her firm’s advice to pro bono clients, while also working with the Salvation Army to provide practical and emotional support for women suffering financial hardship.
Additionally, she has developed a networking hub for like-minded professional women to provide free services to victims of domestic violence.
In acknowledgment of her efforts, Liz was named Risk Adviser of the Year at the inaugural 2017 Women in Finance Awards, while also being nominated as a national finalist for the Financial Planner/Financial Adviser of the Year Award.
Over the years Liz has been recognised with a number of industry awards, and her dual nominations this year reflect her continued dedication to providing high-quality advice to each of her clients.
The value of sound advice
Based on her experience, Liz recommends that before you make any decisions about your financial strategy, it may be worthwhile talking to a financial adviser. They’ll give you all the guidance you need to help you make the right decisions about your money.