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Women's Work

G Squared Advisory is building its practice around a sometimes-overlooked demographic: women of modest means.

Ilana Polyak, 04/15/2010

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As of this year, women control the majority of privately held financial assets in the United States. Yet for many women, having money doesn't necessarily translate into confidence about managing it. Laurie Girsky and Cindy Golub--the two Gs after which their firm, G Squared Advisory, is named--are trying to change that.

Awarded the Certified Financial Planner designations just a year ago, the two have formed a financial-advice business in the New York City suburbs of Westchester County, and they plan to focus their efforts on helping women manage their money prudently and confidently.

"We wouldn't turn down a man who came to us," Golub says. "But we think we have a lot of credibility with women because of the work we've done in the community."

Much of that has been their work serving on boards in New York City and in Westchester, where they both live. They both sit on the board of UJA-Federation, the largest Jewish philanthropy organization, which provides funding to Jewish social-service agencies. Through that organization, they have worked with agencies serving the needs of women. In addition, they are involved with a domestic-violence shelter, where they conduct financial-literacy workshops and do pro-bono work. "We both spent a lot of time raising money for various causes," Girsky says. "So we're not afraid to ask women for money."

They also plan to focus on the middle market--clients with portfolios of up to $500,000, bucking the trend in the financial-planning profession of chasing high-net- worth clients. "Rich people have access to advice," Golub says. "But people of more-modest means are the ones that really need advice."

Finding a Niche
As they begin to articulate the type of firm they'll eventually create, Girsky and Golub reflect on how they first found themselves in the financial-planning profession. Four years ago, they were both ready for a new challenge. They had worked together enough to know that they could work together full time in their own business. From the start of their conversations about the practice, they knew that women would be their focus.

Women often find themselves at the helm of their finances after the loss of a spouse or a divorce, and many of them are unprepared. In fact, 75% of women are widowed at the average age of 56 and one in four of them end up broke within two months of being widowed, according to the National Center for Women and Retirement Research.

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