Video calling has gone mainstream and it’s had some surprising positive effects, including empowering women financially.
Virtual meetings have become the norm in our professional and social lives, and it’s having bigger positive effects than many people realise – including helping more women engage with their finances.
Until the COVID-19 lockdowns began, many people were not used to video calling – and among those who did use Facetime and similar apps, it tended to be for informal catch-ups with family or friends.
Then, working from home became mandatory, and although at first it felt strange to connect with colleagues and clients through a computer screen, people now jump onto video calls with ease – from business meetings to conferences and catch-ups with financial advisers.
Professional development and networking opportunities
We expect video calls are here to stay for those that want them.
Virtual events are allowing people to access professional development opportunities that they might otherwise have missed out on – perhaps because travelling to, say, an industry conference in another city would have been too time-consuming, or have required an overnight stay.
Networking has also become easier with online meetups, particularly as breakout ‘rooms’ are often used to give participants the chance to chat in smaller, more focused groups.
Unlike networking in a crowded room, with virtual gatherings there’s often a structure – with specific questions or topics for discussion, plus time limits – that makes for more productive sessions. You haven’t had to travel anywhere, and when you leave, you’re at home.
Of course, this has been especially advantageous for parents, and women, who might previously have found that childcare or family commitments precluded them from attending.
Opening up financial advice
We’ve always felt that sitting down with people in-person to discuss their finances and talk through their concerns is crucial. Not all communication is verbal and it’s easier for professionals to ‘get’ what their clients are saying when they meet face to face. Looking forwards, this won’t change, and we’ll always be here for in-person meetings.
But we also know that video calling – certainly through the pandemic – has been a blessing for those individuals in need of financial advice, who wouldn’t normally have been able to find the time or had responsibility for their finances. And we recognise that, when only one person looks after the money, it can make things difficult for their partner in the event of divorce or death.
Now, instead of one person in a relationship assuming the role of managing finances – whether because they’re more confident with it or able to nip into a meeting with an adviser near their office after work, while their other half takes care of the after-school routine – it is logistically easier for couples to sit down with their financial adviser and plan their future together.
The same is true for elderly parents and grown-up children. Where an adviser might not have had the opportunity to meet with family members face-to-face in the past, those parties can now be present and involved – and share their points of view, or just listen – when key financial decisions are being made.
They can also be empowered. The ability to pop in during a video call and ask a financial adviser a burning question, has the effect of promoting broader financial literacy in the household – helping individuals to better understand everything from pensions planning to Inheritance Tax.
In short, the impact of having a virtual discussion at home with an adviser can extend well beyond what’s decided in any given meeting – and, through imparting even a basic level of personal finance knowledge, translate into an essential life skill.
One further, unanticipated benefit of the virtual meeting is that – in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, surrounded by their loved ones – many people feel more relaxed with their adviser and, as a result, open up more. This is so important, when so much of financial planning is about empathising with people’s personal circumstances, and identifying specific needs, motivations and goals.
Whether you would like to talk through your personal circumstances face-to-face or on a video call, with a view to taking control of your financial future, get in touch with us today.