Why are women afraid of retirement- Pamela Johnston Redefining Success

May’s focus is women and retirement.  With the help of my good friend Donna McCaw the subject of how to prepare for retirement will be featured all month long with articles, blogs and videos by authorities on women and retirement. The situations referenced are those experienced by the majority of women.  

My fear  around my ability to retire or retire early derives from the fact I’ve never NOT worked.  I have always been the supporter of my family and I’ve never been taken of – you can call it the super “caregiver” syndrome.   Luckily for me, the investment business is one of the few businesses where retirement is at your own option.

My career as an investment advisor, which started in 1982, enabled me an entrepreneurial freedom to create a business without any constraints beyond the ethical and moral restraints that govern running any business. Unlike many of my gender, I had no cap on my income and no limits on my abilities to express myself. I was in a unique position among my peers.

In 1984, when I married, my husband was a stay at home Dad (SAHD)  and took care of the house and later, the children. It looked great on paper, but family of origin and social issues interfered with what seemed a logical decision. After all, I didn’t want to stay home and I was the one that was blessed with an ability to run a business that could make a lot of money. This is how I ended up as sole financial and emotional support of my family, divorced twice and mostly single, raising two sons and running a thriving business that would encounter severe downturns. Let’s just say I learned a thing or two along the way.

Donna’s reference to the fact that 73% of women are unhappy with the service they get from the financial industry is due, in part, to the fact that it is still run and populated primarily by men. During my career, my peers were more often male.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just a fact. And, to a large degree, men can approach the business of life and financial management  differently than women. If you’re a woman that finds it difficult to relate to a certain type of male approach to investing it’s no wonder that women aren’t happy.  The industry itself thinks about investing as a performance and numbers game.  The reality is that it’s a trust and confidence game.  I remember it being drummed into my head in my rookie training class at, what was then called  Nesbitt Thomson Deacon, that performance was way down the list (#5 or #6 I think) of what clients valued in their advisor.  Trust and rapport; feeling compassion, understanding and comfortable talking about investments and the challenges the client faced with their advisor was number 1.

While it isn’t as simple as find yourself a female investment advisor, it does make sense to seek out and interview female investment advisors to see if you can find a better fit when you’re not satisfied or not comfortable working with a male.

As I have aged and as my desire to take my life experience into my career,  there has been a shift in my investment practice. I wanted a more open and honest conversation with the broader community about myself and my thoughts on women, life and investment management.   My industry is comfortable in the jargon of financial services but I wanted to risk being transparent enough for other successful career women to feel like that could safely let down their professional guard and feel comfortable talking about the areas of their lives where they didn’t feel so confident.  I want to provide a service to other women that I need myself.

Please read my blogs, follow me on Linked in and  Twitter to get a taste of what I have to offer you. Attend my Retirement Readiness workshops.   I have a good sense of how to create and manage solid  businesses and investment portfolios. Through the mistakes, trials and tribulations and challenges of my life I have learned valuable skills and  a wisdom that I now want to pass on to other younger women in business.

I have never been happier.  I feel confident that I can truly be helpful to other women like me.  The experiences that I lived through and my willingness to change myself has put me in a prime position to be of assistance to other women in positions of wealth, power and prestige.

I encourage you to consider a Discovery session with me. There’s no obligation. If you like how I work and you appreciate the strategy I lay out, we can start down a path working together with your investment portfolio and your “life”. A Discovery Session could be the start to finding the right fit you’ve been looking for to make you financial future secure.


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pamela johnston redefining success investment advisor portfolio manager

Pamela Johnston, FCSI
Investment Advisor & Portfolio Manager