On the frontline serving women who seek advice: A chat with Atlanta FC Debbie Lucente
Debbie Lucente is a financial consultant with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”) in the Atlanta–Buckhead branch office. A 13-year veteran with Schwab, she works with individual investor clients on a daily basis. Her practice includes couples as well as single women who are experiencing transitions in their lives that have significant financial impact. I sat down with Debbie to get her take on why it’s important for financial professionals like her to make any extra effort in reaching out to women.
SB: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get where you are today professionally?
DL: I have had a bit of an “eclectic” career path, which included serving in the Marine Corps before I transitioned to financial services in 1984 with Dean Witter Reynolds in Costa Mesa, California. My current practice at Schwab consists primarily of clients who have elected to receive ongoing investment advice through the Schwab Private Client™ service* from Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc.
SB: What trends are you seeing in serving the financial and investing needs of women?
DL: Women are becoming more engaged in the management and oversight of their financial lives, which is a heartening trend to witness. Having been the only female broker in the Costa Mesa Dean Witter office back in 1984, I have seen a marked change in the level of involvement of women over the years.
SB: Do you see any difference in how women approach their money versus men?
DL: I believe women are inherently a bit more conservative about their finances than men. They often prefer taking a wealth preservation tack as opposed to trying to “beat the market at all costs,” and that is not a bad thing at all, especially given the market cycle we have recently endured. However, being overly cautious carries its own set of risks-- namely that the returns of a very conservatively invested portfolio may not be enough to provide the income needs for women, who typically live years longer than men.
SB: What’s the biggest hurdle, if any, in serving women versus men?
DL: Although women are more engaged in making decisions regarding their financial well-being than they were in decades past, I believe we still have a long way to go. That means that financial professionals need to be even more proactive at reaching out to female clients and helping them get comfortably involved with being good stewards of their personal finances.
SB: Are there any challenges you faced personally in your financial career in this historically male-dominated industry?
DL: The years that I spent in the Marine Corps helped equip me to handle some of the challenges I faced as a female in the very male-dominated financial services industry of 1984. In looking back, I would say that those “challenges” actually worked in my favor in many respects. The old saying ‘what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger’ was and still is very appropriate. I learned how to overcome stereotypical attitudes about women by being knowledgeable and confident.
SB: What advice would you give a woman considering a career in financial services?
DL: Find a good female role model and/or mentor who can help you figure out the best way to navigate this industry, someone who knows your strengths and can guide you in making the best choices given your goals. Another piece of advice: Check out our job listings at aboutschwab.com/careers.
* Portfolio management provided by Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc., a registered investment advisor and affiliate of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Please ask to see the Schwab Private Client and the Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc. Disclosure Brochures for information and disclosures about this service.
The Portfolio Consultant, Associate Portfolio Consultant, and other representatives making investment recommendations in your Schwab Private Client accounts are employees of Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
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