In 2001, Teresa Dentino founded The Financial 411 after nearly two decades working in financial services, including owning her own securities firm. That same year she moved from San Francisco to Woodside, lured by the mix of sunshine and horses. She coaches women individually and also works with financial firms, training them to better work with female clients. We recently met her to talk about her efforts to educate women about money and investing.
InMenlo: Why is financial education specifically targeted to women important?
Teresa: Nine out of 10 women will be put in the position of taking over the family finances — be it theirs or their parents — whether that are prepared or not. Yet many women still don’t have hands-on money management experience. They want to understand but some find it intimidating. It’s about not having experience, not lack of ability.
InMenlo: What women’s biggest financial fears?
Teresa: One is that finances will be esoteric and over their head. They worry they can’t figure out how to do something. Women also tend to have a greater level of distrust about working with a financial advisor. They know they should be working with an advisor but don’t know how to go about choosing one. So, it’s a combination of insecurity and distrust.
InMenlo: What should women know about money and finance that many don’t?
Teresa: It’s very important to gain a real understanding of the family’s financial picture. What’s coming in and what’s going out.
InMenlo: What else?
Teresa: Learning the vocabulary to talk with money managers and being comfortable doing that. How can women make decisions about what to do with money if they don’t understand what someone is talking to them about? I’ve had women tell me that sometimes they just nod their head. My goal in working with women is to make them informed, empowered decision makers.
InMenlo: What do you find most satisfying about your coaching?
Teresa: Watching someone have the “ah ha” moment and seeing the transformation from uneducated to educated. It’s what keeps me on the coaching path.
Photo by Irene Searles