Women are often more conservative than men in constructing their investment portfolios, according to Thuli Nkomo, a private wealth manager at NFB Private Wealth Management.
In her experience, men tend to take higher risk in order to maximise their capital growth, while women tend to minimise risk.
Nkomo grew up in a community where people believed the only safe place to keep money was in the bank. People only consulted a financial planner to buy a funeral policy.
That inspired her passion for educating people about the importance of well-rounded financial planning and for helping them to grow their wealth. "Don't be put off by the fact that this is still a male-dominated industry. The picture is changing fast and there is plenty of room for women in the sector. Your people skills need to be as finely tuned as your financial expertise – you need to have the empathy to talk to people about a topic that many of us find sensitive," she explains.
"It's also important to be a great listener, so that you can provide the right advice for the client's circumstances. Finally, treating your clients as you would like to be treated will help ensure your success." She enjoys working with clients who are open and transparent about their finances, because it is easier to assist them with their financial planning needs.
Nkomo's top-5 tips for women seeking financial independence:
Pay off debt
Start by paying off debts with high interest rates as quickly as possible. These include unsecured loans, clothing accounts and credit cards.
Try to avoid most debt, apart from healthy debt like your home loan and car instalment.
Create a savings account to provide for rainy days, so you don't need to turn to a lender in the case of an emergency.
Consider putting money aside in a dedicated savings or investment account for your children's tertiary education.
Plan for retirement, making use of the retirement planning tax benefits.
Live within your means.