Gender Finance

Becoming "Suddenly Single" Among Top Five Challenges Facing High-Net-Worth Women

7 in 10 Advisors Say Most Important First Step is Diagnosing Urgent Financial Decisions

CLEVELAND, Sept. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Key Private Bank, the wealth management arm of KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY), released the results of its latest advisor poll, which surveyed more than 140 of its client-facing advisors about their experiences working with high-net-worth (HNW) females who became “suddenly single,” due to the death of or divorce from a spouse.

The survey explored how women should prepare for a suddenly single scenario; immediate steps women must take after the death of or divorce from a spouse; and strategies advisors are using to coach women facing these situations.

The poll found that the death of or divorce from a spouse rank among the top-five financial challenges facing female clients, with estate planning, investment decisions and legacy planning also key hurdles cited. In fact, eight in 10 advisors (82 percent) say some or hardly any of their married female clients have a contingency plan in place to navigate the emotional and financial impacts of finding themselves on their own.

According to more than half of advisors (52 percent), putting a contingency plan in place is critical, since becoming suddenly single often limits female clients’ cash flow, calling for changes in spending. Among women who become suddenly single, 40 percent of advisors note that those female clients are best prepared to navigate the short-term financial changes, but are less equipped to think through their long-term financial plan.

Contingency Plan

“Navigating finances following the death of or divorce from a spouse doesn’t mean half of the ongoing expenses or financial obligations have disappeared, so it’s critical to have a contingency plan in place,” says Cathy O’Malley Kearney, National Head of Trust and Chief Fiduciary Officer at Key Private Bank.

Following the death of a spouse, specifically, seven in 10 advisors say identifying financial decisions that must be made immediately is the most important financial step women should take, versus those decisions that can and should wait. And yet, over half of advisors (56 percent) say this is also the biggest challenge facing female clients.

“Our earlier advisor poll on women found that only three percent of advisors are witnessing female clients drive family wealth conversations,” said Veena Khanna, Director of Strategy at Key Private Bank. “While we encourage all of our client-facing professionals to be sensitive to the psychological impacts that result from a major life change, it’s our job as trusted experts to empower clients with the confidence they need to take charge of their financial futures immediately and for the long-haul.”

Navigating finances following the death of or divorce from a spouse doesn't mean half of the ongoing expenses or financial obligations have disappeared

To help female clients successfully take full control of family finances, particularly following the loss of a spouse, three in 10 advisors say empowering female clients to direct the creation of their long-term financial plan, after they direct the creation of a short-term financial plan, is the most impactful approach.

Three Important Steps

Advisors agree that the top three most important steps married women should take in creating a contingency plan are identifying and documenting sources of income, budget, and other assets (36 percent); meeting with a financial advisor to strengthen financial skills (33 percent); and determining which financial decisions must be made immediately in these types of scenarios (14 percent).

Additionally, one in three advisors (34 percent) say the most effective strategy for coaching female clients through the decision of whether to hold onto expensive assets, to which they may have an emotional attachment (e.g., a vacation house, artwork, etc.), is identifying the root of and working through the issue.



About Key Private Bank
Key Private Bank is a leading provider of wealth management solutions and advice for high-net worth and ultra-high-net worth clients, including wealth advisory, investment management, trust administration, customized credit, family office and private banking services. Key’s wealth management platform combines the market insights of local advisors with a national team of wealth and investment strategists to deliver proactive and personalized advice and expertise to clients. Advisors also leverage partnerships with Key’s business banking and capital markets teams to build wealth plans tailored to meet each client’s specific need. Key Private Bank’s wealth management platform is delivered across 15 of the United States. Key Private Bank has $37.6 billion in AUM and $35.7 billion in AUA at June 30, 2017.
About KeyCorp
KeyCorp’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $135.8 billion at June 30, 2017. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, insurance, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of more than 1,200 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications, and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC.