KeyBank forum offers women new perspective on financial services

Staff writerApril 5, 2014 

KeyBank Senior Vice President Veena Khanna, right, advises Marnie Nickel, left, and Chris Carrs during lunch at C.I. Shenanigans restaurant Wednesday in Tacoma. KeyBank hosted the event to hear the bank’s consultant discuss financial tips.

LUI KIT WONG/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Money and women, it turns out, is different than money and men.

Chris Carrs came down from Seattle to attend the gathering hosted by KeyBank’s private banking department.

She said she understands the big picture — the one about money — but she wondered about the details.

Marnie Nickel came from University Place, and she and her husband operate a medical practice. Nickel too came looking for perspective on details.

Carrs, 62, is a widow of nearly five years. Nickel, 37, is the office manager for the practice.

They were among a small group of women who met Thursday with Cleveland-based Veena Khanna, KeyBank senior vice president and director of wealth advisory services. “Women tend to be a little more cautious,” Khanna said after the meeting. “It shouldn’t be confused with them not being aggressive. I think they’re naturally inclined to be more deliberate. They live longer. They need to make those assets last longer than men.”

The eight guests are clients of KeyBank’s private banking service, and this was the first such gathering organized by Stephanie Miller, a banker with nearly 38 years in the business.

“It was Stephanie’s idea,” said KeyBank spokeswoman Anne Foster. “We do get-togethers for private-bank clients, but they are attended primarily by men. We call ourselves a relationship bank. The whole purpose of what we do is to build on and keep relationships. In this case, we’re doing it by offering education, networking, and one-on-one time.”

“I think it’s nice to get women together to talk about money,” said Carrs. “Women are often excluded from that conversation. It’s hard to sit in a mixed group and talk about money after the small talk, movies and the weather. As a widow, I need to look for information where I wasn’t able to before.”

There was talk of long-term care, of caring for aging parents, of planning for the future.

“They need to plan. They need to understand,” said Khanna. “Women are usually shielded from that. They need to understand the nuances.”

Such as?

“Trusts provide a lot of advantages — tax benefits, asset protection, transferring assets to the next generation,” Khanna said.

She continued, “Health care costs, aging, Medicare, Medigap, nursing care, in-home health. That becomes a problem moreso for women. Men in nursing facilities spend an average of 2.2 years; women, 3.7 years.”

“When you keep putting things on the back burner, they become like a weight,” said Carrs. “I hope this will keep us motivated. Learning about money shouldn’t be neglected.”

“You should revisit your plan every two years, or if you have a ‘life event,’ an inheritance, winning the lottery, a loss,” said Khanna.

Thirty percent of people say they have a financial plan, she said, but they may not understand that a plan includes more than having a savings account.

She estimates a lower number, somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent. “Money discussions are usually held behind closed doors,” she said. “And at some point, money becomes a sensitive subject. Some people are uncomfortable with having money and discussing money. It can be a divisive subject.”

“That stigma has to go away,” said Nickel.

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