Today's most-emailed article on the New York Times website is called What Do Women Want? Just Ask. I hadn't read the article yet because I was too busy to finish the whole paper yesterday, but I discovered that a lot of visitors were arriving here from a link in the article, so I had to check it out!
It's a fascinating piece that is definitely worth reading:
More companies, in the United States and elsewhere, have realized that they overlook women at their own financial peril. The companies are realigning their marketing and design practices, learning to court an increasingly female-centric consumer base that boasts more financial muscle and purchasing independence than ever before.After I started blogging about my finances in July of 2005, one of the first links that brought me a lot of readers was from All Things Financial, who posted a list of female personal finance bloggers. I was very flattered to be included, but I thought it was kind of funny that the presence of women in this part of the blogosphere would get any special notice. At the time, though, there seemed to be a lot more male finance bloggers than women. But things have changed, (see Boston Gal's Open Wallet, Single Ma's Fabulous Financials, Sitting Pretty, Tired but Happy, Mapgirl's Fiscal Challenge, Millionaire Artist, Penny Foolish and many more) and it's no surprise, considering the insights in the NY Times article about how much women are earning and spending, and the control they now often have over family finances. More and more in recent years, women are taking charge of the purse strings... and the wallet folds, or however you want to put it! So of course more and more companies are targeting their marketing with female spenders in mind.
“We are perhaps on the first step to a matriarchal society; women will earn more money than men if current trends continue by 2028,” said Michael J. Silverstein of the Boston Consulting Group. “The trend has been escalating in the last 10 years as there has been a gradual, slow erosion of the power balance in the family, a psychic rebalancing.”
This story resonated for me, as someone who is about to own a home and probably start doing some tinkering with it:
“I walked into the lighting section and asked a guy to where I could find the dimmers. Once he takes me there, he turns and makes some comment about how I need to make sure to check with the electrician who’s going to install it. My response was that I would be putting it in myself. As if I hadn’t even said a thing, he tells me, ‘Oh honey, you really do need to hire someone to do this for you so you don’t burn the house down.’ ” ... Data suggests that women are feeling quite confident. According to the NPD Group, women bought 47 percent of all painting supplies sold in the United States in June, up from 42 percent in 2003. And they buy about half of all new bathtubs, up from 35 percent.
Towards the end of the article, we get to the good stuff!
These days, some women are literally opening their checkbooks to the world on blogs like MyOpenWallet and BostonGal’sOpenWallet, which is run by a woman who identifies herself online only as Jane Dough, to protect her privacy (www.bostongalsopenwallet.blogspot.com). The blog tracks her personal assets monthly (valued at $412,435.59 in October) and calls itself “the ongoing chronicle of a single 30-something Bostonian who is seeking enlightenment and control of her net worth.”
In a telephone interview, she explained that she started blogging a year ago, after she bought a house and paid off her student loans and credit cards. “I started to feel adrift,” she said. “What do I do next? How do I keep motivated?” The blog was her answer.
In her first post, she said: “Speaking publicly about your personal finances has always been a no-no in my family. The result of this is that I often felt unprepared and uneducated about financial matters. I am now in my mid-30’s, single, with a fairly well established professional career. Because I live alone, I make all the financial decisions in my life — good or bad.
“If your parents and peers can’t or won’t show you the way, hopefully sites like this on the Web will.”
Congratulations to BostonGal, who is one of my favorite bloggers, and thank you to the author of the article, Mickey Meece, for mentioning me even though I was a lame-o and didn't respond to her email!
And back to welcoming new readers: if you're here for the first time, my name is Madame X and I'm obsessed with money... but not in a yucky super-materialistic kind of way! This is the personal finance blog where you're as likely to read about a dominatrix as a dividend; where salaries, spreadsheets, studio apartments, and salad dressing coexist with coupons, karaoke, career advice, and condoms. I quote James Brown songs as often as possible. And no post is ever off-topic.
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