Enjoy this interview with René Nourse, featured in the March 2017 "Women & Wealth" Newsletter from Pax World Management LLC.
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Featured Profile: René Nourse, CFP® - Founder and Managing Director, Urban Wealth Management
At Urban Wealth Management, René Nourse focuses a significant segment of her practice on addressing the unique and complex financial needs that women face, such as ensuring financial independence after a divorce or widowhood, longevity planning, and converting their wealth into a lifestyle of their design.
René, could you tell us a bit about your firm?
I spent 25 years as a financial advisor working for large NYSE brokerage firms and during that time I witnessed a significant change in what people wanted from their financial advisors. They no longer just wanted advice about investments—increasingly they wanted advice about lifestyle and planning issues.
As a Certified Financial Planner, I realized that I wasn’t in the best environment to deliver services to clients that truly supported those issues and concerns, since most brokerage firms’ business agendas are built around managing money. As a result, I launched Urban Wealth Management in June 2012. We offer clients both fee-based strategic financial planning and asset management services, and it’s been a great journey!
Our clients are busy professionals who have figured out that making a lot of money is not enough—nor is it a financial plan. They need and want good, solid advice to help them navigate around the various financial “minefields” out there.
You do a lot of great work around women and money and have a “Smart Women Club”. What led you to focus on working with women?
I’ve always had a natural affinity for working with women, partly because there were very few women professionals when I began my career—and unfortunately there still aren’t many women in our industry today.
Women represent the fastest growing segment of wealth in the U.S. Yet, when I work with women—even to this day—I find that there is a sense of anxiety about managing their financial lives. I think that working with another woman tends to bring the anxiety level down. I understand and can relate to their issues, fears and concerns. In short—I get them!
On a more personal note, this issue really took deeper hold seven years ago when my mother, who was living with me at the time, was diagnosed with dementia. After taking over her finances, my siblings and I realized that we were going to be her retirement and long term care plan since she had limited assets. Women are particularly vulnerable to late-in-life financial challenges because we tend to live longer than men and often do not have adequate resources. My mom is lucky because she has us—not all women have that kind of support.
How important are events in your business strategy? Can you give us some examples of events that focus on your women clients and prospects?
A lot of what we do is education-based. Our mission is to create a safe, secure environment where women are encouraged to learn, explore and feel confident about making sound financial decisions.
To that end, we host monthly webinars. Our Smart Women Savvy Money 20/10 webinar series is held the second Thursday of every month with guest speakers on a variety of financial and lifestyle topics. We follow a simple format: 30 minutes on the clock, 20 to teach and 10 to talk. It’s a two-fold approach: we introduce women who have businesses or practices that can not only enlighten, but potentially provide services to our community of women, and our Smart Women members get to learn about a topic they’re interested in.
We have also hosted Longevity Planning workshops, which address a major issue that many women are concerned about. We invited experts to speak about long-term care, maximizing social security benefits and retirement income planning.
Finally, this past January, we hosted an all-day women’s conference: New Year—New You, where we discussed actionable steps for finding and developing your internal power and building your leadership skills.
Do you belong to any study groups?
Yes! I co-founded a “Mastermind” group: WAMM (Women Advisors MasterMind) about three years ago that we’ve kept intentionally small with nine members. We meet monthly to discuss issues relevant to running our practices. It’s very structured and we take turns “hosting” the meeting around one of four topics: practice management, investments, marketing and technology. But, you know, we are girls, so we allow for some fun, catch-up time too!
As the CFP Board works on increasing the number of women CFPs, is there any advice you’d give to female CFPs who are just entering the business?
#1) YOU are needed. As I mentioned earlier, women are increasingly becoming centers of wealth in this country. Don’t be shy about reaching out to women because there are not enough of us to meet the needs of female professionals.
#2) Find a mentor! This is a major reason why I am still doing what I am doing. Your mentor doesn’t have to be a woman—although that would be awesome—you will find many men who are supportive and want you to succeed. Also, many of them are looking for a succession plan and you could be their plan!
#3) Did you know that 70 percent of women leave their financial advisor when their spouse passes away? Often the reason is that the male advisor did not engage the wife. Divorcées often leave their financial advisors too—they want to start fresh. Both of these are huge, underserved markets. Don’t be afraid to tackle these challenges—you’ve already got what these women need: professionalism, competency, patience, good listening skills and the ability to empathize.
This interview originally ran in the Women & Wealth March 2017 Newsletter “Women & Wealth” is a Pax World initiative whose purpose is to help financial advisors attract and retain female clients by understanding and better serving their needs. It is led by Kathleen McQuiggan, Senior Vice President of Global Women’s Strategies for Pax World Management LLC. Kathleen McQuiggan is a registered representative of ALPS Distributors, Inc. ALPS is not affiliated with Urban Wealth Management.