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Woman to Woman: Breaking tradition in financial planning

The number of women-owned businesses has more than doubled in the past two decades, according to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Business Report, commissioned by American Express. About 1.5 million of those women-owned businesses are in professional services, such as lawyers and accountants.

Serving that growing base of women clients is a passion of Jessica Elmore, a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Traditionally, financial services have been provided by a lot of male advisors, and I find that women appreciate having a female advisor, someone who knows what it’s like to be in a similar role – to run a business and have a family. I have a lot of female clients – business owners and executives, attorneys – and being able to help them is a real source of pride,” she said.

Helping people is the thread that runs through Elmore’s career. She started out in the mental health field, but she felt the system limited her ability to help people. After earning her MBA, she realized that working as a financial advisor allowed her to maintain relationships with clients and to impact their lives. She is currently preparing to earn the Certified Financial Planner™ designation.

Not surprisingly, Elmore’s service philosophy is very client-focused.

Elmore values client education, and she’s dedicated to helping people understand more about their finances and options even if they don’t become long-term clients. The personal touch is key to good financial planning, she added.

elmore400x600“There are many emotions around your planning and your money. Financial planning is so much more than ‘if you save this much money on a monthly basis, you’ll have this much for retirement.’ A financial planner looks at the big picture and carves out the specific strategies and specific recommendations that make planning work for a client.”

The relationship between a client and financial advisor is often long-lasting, Elmore said, so it’s important to select an advisor who aligns with more than just your ideals about money. The reason they’re in business, their passion for the job, is also important.

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