Nancy Coutu studied finance and economics in college, but she never imagined that more than 30 years later she would find herself in the financial services field. “I was always very interested in it and thought I would pursue something in it, but never dreamed I would be in this career,” she admits.
Yet like so many in the financial planning business, her path to the industry was a circuitous and serendipitous one. It came through her former husband, who, after retiring as a police officer, took at a job at what is now Ameriprise.
She was also committed to succeeding in a field dominated by men. As a trailblazer 30 years ago, it was sometimes difficult convincing potential clients she was actually the Ameriprise advisor. She would call to make an appointment, only to be asked when they were going to meet with her male boss.
The “bag lady” syndrome
So why are women more conservative by nature? Coutu attributes it to several factors, including what she sees as their biggest fear: that they will end up as a “bag lady” if they lose their financial independence. “That’s one of the reasons they horde and stockpile money in savings accounts,” she says. “They don’t want to expose it to risk where they might lose it.”