Cathy Miller helps TCU students and alumni understand fiscal responsibilities

Posted Tuesday, 07/18/2017 - 10:00

Research has long shown that women often relate to money differently than men. A capacity audience of TCU students and alumni recently attended a panel discussion about “Women and Money: The Real Power” to learn more about these differences and the challenges they can pose. Moderator Homer Erekson, Dean of TCU’s Neely School of Business, stimulated thought-provoking debate about how women learn about money and make financial decisions from a trio of leading financial experts including Cathy Miller, Principal and Co-founder, Atlanta Financial Associates; Chelsea Alexander, Wealth Management Advisor; and Lyle Thornton, Banking Center President, Southwest Bank.

The panel began by looking into women’s expanding decision-making responsibilities globally. Today, women control 27% of all global wealth. Miller pointed out, “In the two of the world’s largest economies, the United States and China, women hold primary decision-making power over two-thirds of households.”

While men expect to leverage wealth to benefit their families and business interests, women see a more global responsibility for themselves. “Women view wealth as more than financial security and independence. In one study, 90% said they used their wealth to promote positive change in the world,” Miller explained.

For women, this core value is more than a firmly held belief. “Women, who earn 75% of what a man does, make charitable donations equal to 93% of men’s,” Miller said.

Taking the financial reins

Closer to home, women in the United States are out-graduating men, out-earning men and out-living men. Today’s women are having an especially strong influence in the business world, from the front lines to the boardroom, with many assuming leadership roles in the country’s largest companies. Miller pointed out that Fortune 500 companies with more female executives had a 35% higher return on equity and a 34% higher total return to shareholders.1

Women in the United States currently control $11.2 trillion or 39 percent of the country’s investable assets, according to Miller. This trend is expected to expand over time, with women expected to control two-thirds of the America’s wealth by 2030.

In addition to overseeing a larger portion of global wealth, women can plan on taking the financial reins for their households. According to Miller, nine of every ten women will find themselves becoming the sole financial decision-maker for their households at some point in their lives. Knowing that being their households’ sole financial decision-maker is in their future prompted an exploration into where women can turn for assistance.

Dearth of female financial advisors creates opportunity

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35.5 percent of all personal financial advisors are female with the majority of those being “rookies.” Miller pointed out that the percentage of certified financial planners who are women has stayed at the same level (23 percent) for the last 10 years.2

“This professional stagnation has created an amazing career opportunity for young women like yourselves,” she explained. “Consider the fact that 55% of women between the ages of 25 and 34 prefer to work with a female financial advisor. Where are they going to go to find that help? Perhaps to you.

1Stanny, B. (2012). Women, Wealth and Power: The Emerging Paradigm. Forbes. Accessed online from

2Bier, J. (2016). Wanted: Women Financial Advisors. Financial Advisor.

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