In a two-part UBS On-Air interview, UBS Financial Advisors Louise Gunderson and her daughter, Nina, talk about the importance of empowering women and millennials to take charge of their financial lives and own their worth.
'No question is a stupid question'
UBS research finds that women consistently underestimate their own abilities while overestimating what is required to be financially involved, but in reality, taking an active role in household finances does not mean becoming an expert—it simply means becoming more involved and awa
Louise Gunderson agrees. The more than 40-year veteran of Wall Street says that when meeting with clients, whether men, women or couples, she keeps the conversation as straightforward as possible. That means no investment jargon or technical talk about the markets.
"I try to bring it down to the basics," she says. "I bring it down to cash flow. I bring it down to lifestyle. … I want to make sure that I am reaching you and that no question is a stupid question—that we can really keep this on a level that makes it very comfortable for you."
Nina Gunderson, who recently joined her mom's advisory team in New York, notes that there's a misconception that you have to be a finance expert to take charge of your financial life.
"It's so easy to think that you turn on the TV, you watch CNBC, and it's all this technical jargon about earnings per share and valuations, and what not—and that's not what the financial advisor relationship is about with a client," Nina Gunderson says.
In fact, only about 10% of the typical conversation with a client centers on the technical aspects of investing. The rest is "really about connecting with the client and making them feel that they have a trusted advisor."
Empowerment is financial and personal
Louise Gunderson says her own experience as a woman in financial services has helped her relate to female clients and the challenges they face in getting more financially involved.
"Remember, I started in the financial segment over 40 years ago, I was the only woman in the room, so I knew what it was like to have to go through the side doors and not in the front doors," she says. "I know that these women I'm sitting across the table from were in the same [or] similar situation that I was. … So I want to try to make it as easy as possible for them to feel comfortable."
Today, as many younger women prioritize career over marriage and children, they're entering long-term relationships on more equal financial footing with their partners, Nina Gunderson says. But owning your worth goes beyond the financial assets you bring to the table, she adds.
"Women in general need to understand that worth is not necessarily just about finance and about the money you have in your bank account. It is what skillsets do you have, what intellectual capital do you have that make you who you are and make you successful?"