The Power of the Female Consumer

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If Money Were Easy

Hosted by Mary Beth Storjohann and Neela Hummel

The Power of the Female Consumer

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If Money Were Easy
The Power of the Female Consumer

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Episode Summary

Join us today as hosts Mary Beth and Neela dive into the powerful role of the female consumer in today’s economy. They discuss the significant impact women have on spending and how they are increasingly aligning their financial choices with their values. From supporting female-led content like the Barbie movie and Taylor Swift’s tour to making solo travel and home purchases, women are taking charge of their spending decisions. The hosts also explore the concept of the “pink tax” and the importance of using our voices as consumers to demand better quality products. Join Mary Beth and Neela as they empower listeners to make informed financial choices and discuss the implications of the growing purchasing power of the female consumer.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The influence women have with their purchasing power
  • The increase women will continue to have over their discretionary spending and how it is impacting their mental health
  • Why women are supporting women-created products
  • The benefit women are seeing with aligning their money with their values
  • Ways women can encourage companies to align their products with the values women are looking for
  • A discussion of “the pink tax”
  • Why women must use their voices to make change in this world

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

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Transcript of the Episode

Neela [00:00:14]:

Hey there. Welcome to the If Money Were Easy podcast, the show where we teach you how to expand what’s possible with your money. We’re your hosts, Neela Hummel, 

Mary Beth [00:00:24]:

and Mary Beth Storjohann, 

Neela [00:00:25]:

Certified financial planners and co CEOs of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show, we’re going to talk about the power of the female consumer. Okay, Mary Beth. This is a fun one, especially because power and female consumer are both used in the same sentence, which is something that we both feel very passionate about. So kick us off in terms of the landscape of the powerful state of the female consumer. 

Mary Beth [00:00:56]:

Let’s just go back to the summer of 2023. This is a lovely summer. And the Barbie movie. Do you see the Barbie movie? 

Neela [00:01:07]:

Did I ever. I did. 

Mary Beth [00:01:09]:

Okay. I was like, you did, we talked about this. 

Neela [00:01:11]:

Too late, but I did watch it. 

Mary Beth [00:01:12]:

Okay, so Barbie came out over the summer and made over $1 billion at the global box office with director Greta Gerwig as the first solo female director to achieve this record breaking success. And we will not talk about the snub that just happened this week.

Neela [00:01:31]:


Mary Beth [00:01:31]:

Okay, so Barbie was beautiful, amazing, super empowering. I brought my daughter. It was great. Some of the storyline was over her head, but we wore pink. So then you also had the summer of 2023, Taylor Swift’s era’s tour and Beyonce’s Renaissance tour. So Swift’s Eras Tour grossed about $1 billion from 60 shows performed in 2023. And her movie was also released. I saw the movie. I did not go to the tour because that’s crazy. The movie was released and that earned another $93 million in domestic theaters. So Beyonce’s tour, she brought in $500 million in revenue. And I do not know how her movie did, but I know it also hit theaters. I still need to see that. They were calling that an entertainment renaissance. That was just the summer of 2023. Because who was going to these, who was watching the Barbie movie, who was going to watch Taylor Swift perform and who was going to watch Beyonce perform? It was women. Women spent billions of dollars this summer on entertainment. And I mean, let’s be honest, there was a total impact there. 

Neela [00:02:30]:

Huge one. I mean, we even read different stories of Taylor Swift bolstering the economy of the Netherlands, like entire country, which is amazing. 

Mary Beth [00:02:41]:


Neela [00:02:42]:

Because you got women getting together doing something that they were super excited about, supporting other women who came to play, created incredible content, created an incredible experience, and people showed up for it. 

Mary Beth [00:02:57]:

And people showed up, women supporting women. So in general, that’s just the story of the female consumer just from 2023. But what are the facts here right now, by 2028, women will own 75% of discretionary spending. So that is a huge amount of discretionary spending that women will control in their household. They already do control significant portion, but there will be more. On the other side, though, 49% of women say that their mental health has suffered at the hands of financial stress. So there is a rising purchasing power, but there’s also this decline in mental health. 

Neela [00:03:31]:

Okay, so the last year has caught the world by storm that women have essentially shown how substantial their role is in the economy, not just in what they’re creating. Taylor, Beyonce, Greta, thank you. We’re not worthy, but also in our spending power, and that we are spending more and more on products and services that are specifically made for us and by us. So instead of us making those decisions about how is the family going to benefit from this vacuum, which I’m watching the marvelous Ms. Maisel, and that is coming up, but I’m also like, I’m going to spend some money on what do I want to do. 

Mary Beth [00:04:14]:

Right. And so in 2023, travel was a big one we explored. So travel provided by Rhodes Scholar reported that nearly 70% of all of its travelers were women, and they did their travel alone. So more women are opting to travel solo, including a marked increase among married women. So married women are leaving home without their spouses. Sorry, Brian, I also leave home without you sometimes. 

Neela [00:04:38]:

I love my husband, but that sounds quite lovely.

Mary Beth [00:04:41]:

Yeah, it’s kind of nice. 

Neela [00:04:45]:

I also read that one of the top growing demographics in home purchases is single women. 

Mary Beth [00:04:52]:


Neela [00:04:53]:

More and more women are not only taking charge of the decisions around home buying, many are just like, I’m going to buy it whether or not I got a partner. 

Mary Beth [00:05:02]:

Yes. They’re creating a plan in the future for themselves. It’s amazing. It’s amazing to see, and just in general, the power of the female consumer, the impact we can have, right. And so it goes back to the things we’ve talked about on this podcast again and again, is aligning your money with your values. And what we’ve seen in the past year is that women are increasingly doing that. Women are increasingly taking their dollars, and they are aligning that with things that bring them joy, that make them happy, that they value, that are important to them, that are made by women, as you just said. And when you’re thinking about your own spending, the power of your dollars in your pocket, we’re seeing the trend is moving in this direction. Gone are the days of shopping at stores that are made for women by men. 

Neela [00:05:42]:

I mean, you could call it what happened at Victoria’s Secret. 

Mary Beth [00:05:43]:

I was going to say Victoria’s Secret. Can I say that? 

Neela [00:05:45]:

There was a particular lingerie company. 

Mary Beth [00:05:49]:

Sorry if you buy a Victoria’s Secret, but everybody here knows that Victoria’s Secret is a man. We know he’s a man because there’s a song now. There’s a whole song. 

Neela [00:05:56]:

The secret is out.

Mary Beth [00:05:57]:

It took a few generations to create some music about it. This generation, they’re calling people out that in general, like, are you buying your lingerie there or are you buying your lingerie from female made? 

Neela [00:06:08]:

Right. This really applies to not just consumers, but business owners, people working in a variety of roles beyond just marketing roles in that. Who are you selling to? Are those people buying your product despite your best efforts to make them feel excluded from your product? Or are you really speaking to the changing needs and desires of this incredibly powerful demographic? 

Mary Beth [00:06:34]:

Exactly. Half of the products that are made for men, that are marketed towards men are purchased by men. Only half of those products. So that means the other half are being purchased by women. Women are shopping for ourselves. We’re shopping for our significant others. We’re shopping for our children. We are the ones that are controlling all of those dollars that are going out into the economy, and companies are starting to pay attention. 

Neela [00:06:55]:

Which, great. That is the girl math that I’m talking about. 

Mary Beth [00:07:00]:

We don’t condone the social media girl math around here, by the way.

Neela [00:07:04]:


Mary Beth [00:07:04]:

Or the vague messaging around it. We see the shifting landscape. We’ve talked for years. I mean, in terms of the statistics around women and the increasing purchasing power that they carry. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and this has been going on. We’ve been shouting from the rooftops and just watching the needle slowly shift and slowly shift and slowly shift. And so again, we’ve seen gains in this area. We’ve seen companies start to listen to the female consumer. What are the benefits of this and what are the ramifications? 

Neela [00:07:34]:

I think the overwhelming message that I would say is, ignore us at your peril. 

Mary Beth [00:07:41]:


Neela [00:07:41]:

I remember doing a speaking event at a group and it was an all-male group of VC funders and business owners. And I was like, just so you know, the demographics of your clients are shifting. And so you think about women coming into control of more wealth via earning, via inheritance, via living longer than our male counterparts. You’ve got a huge group of people. And again, women are not a niche. We’re 51% of the population. But you got a lot of people with a lot of money and are very clearly able and willing to spend it when it’s something that they care about. 

Mary Beth [00:08:16]:


Neela [00:08:16]:

I mean, the Taylor Swift tickets. I like Taylor Swift. I was very intimidated by the entire ticket process, but people were shelling out for that, and Taylor delivered. 

Mary Beth [00:08:29]:

She delivered. 

Neela [00:08:30]:

I heard that she prepped for that show by singing her entire set list while running on a treadmill. 

Mary Beth [00:08:36]:

I mean, that’s what it looked like. Again, I was only sitting on my butt in a movie theater, eating popcorn, watching it, but it looked very physically challenging. 

Neela [00:08:46]:


Mary Beth [00:08:47]:

Superhuman. I was impressed. And, I mean, it was a long show. Long. 

Neela [00:08:52]:

So I think that’s essentially it, right? You brought up the statistics of products that are marketed to men. 50% of that is being bought by women. And then you’ve got Taylor and Beyonce and Barbie over here making incredible content, and women showed up. Basically. It’s like, if you just put in a little bit of effort, put in a little bit of effort, we will show up. 

Mary Beth [00:09:15]:

This past weekend or two weeks ago, we are approaching 40 and over in this household. My husband’s already over 40 and was, like, talking about skincare routines. I was like, dude, you’re in your 40s. You need a skincare routine. And he’s like, splash some water on it. And I go, I was like, that’s not okay. Sorry, Bri, that’s not going to work. And so, you know, who went and picked out all of the facial care routine, whatever. Soap, like, all of those things? It was me. Right? He wasn’t going to go research it. You know? Who picks out the clothes for him to wear 80% of the time when we go shop? It’s me. Yeah. They’re marketed towards him, and I’m the one that’s picking the stuff out. 

Neela [00:09:48]:

Just goes to show, there is a reason that married men tend to live longer, because they have their spouses who are like, you got to go to that doctor’s appointment. 

Mary Beth [00:09:58]:

I know. 

Neela [00:09:58]:

I’m like, you got to get that checked out. 

Mary Beth [00:10:00]:

Skin cancer here. You need to be wearing sunscreen daily. 

Neela [00:10:03]:

That kind of matters. And so when you think about it, it’s a boondoggle for marketing, for products, for businesses, that there is a demand there that is untapped. 

Mary Beth [00:10:16]:

Yes. And so talk to me, though, for a minute about the pink tax, because that’s one of the ramifications we have as a consumer as well. So there’s benefits in that we have bigger purchasing power. We get the attention. We are able to use our voices in a bigger way because we own a greater wallet share. Therefore, companies meet our demands. However, on the other side, we end up with something like the pink tax. 

Neela [00:10:41]:

Right? I think it’s interesting because I still joke about the boardroom at your typical razor company, who is like, I’ve got an idea. Let’s make the razors pink, charge more, and we’re good here. We can speak to that demographic. And so I think what especially this last year has really shown us is that we can demand better than that. You can’t just paint it pink and call it a day. We really do want better quality things that actually speak to the problem that we’re trying to solve. Maybe a pink disposable razor isn’t what I want because I actually care about the environment and I don’t want to create more waste by going through pink razors. 

Mary Beth [00:11:20]:

One of my favorite, not even just the pricing, my favorite is the advertising. So, like deodorant, when you walk into target, I actually went through and took pictures one time of the deodorant scents that are marketed towards men versus the scents that are marketed towards women. Like, I get to smell like petunias and roses, and my husband gets to smell like strength and power and fierceness. And I was like, what the. I want to be strong and powerful and fierce. They’re both made by dove. They probably both smell like cucumbers. But it’s crazy that the packaging even just like going down to the messaging, right? That’s so interesting. And the price points, too, when you look at the prices, they are different. So deodorant, dry cleaning. If you actually look at the dry cleaning list for men’s clothing compared to women’s clothing and what we pay for dry cleaning, it is bonkers. Shocking. 

Neela [00:12:10]:

What else do we do? How else can we counter that? How do we invoke the power that we have? 

Mary Beth [00:12:17]:

It’s using our voices. It is doing the research online. It’s understanding which products align with your values. Feminine hygiene products. Switching from some of those products to something like the cup, right? 

Neela [00:12:28]:


Mary Beth [00:12:28]:

What can you do in those areas? How can you use the value of your dollars? I think it’s using your voice, though. It’s pushing back. It’s writing letters. It does take time, but I think in a collective way, that’s why people storm social media.

Neela [00:12:40]:


Mary Beth [00:12:41]:

There is power in those voices to create change. But it also is then about you doing the research on when your dollars go like, what can you do? What can I do as consumer? I’m going to buy the organic on brand values aligned, whatever. Insert the blank that I’m going to do because of me, because I believe in the company’s mission, their vision. I’m doing that research and I believe in the product and their purpose and vision. That is what we can do as consumers is actually pause, take a step back and ask ourselves, why are we spending this money? Is it a quick buy? Where do the dollars ultimately go and making those pivots along the way? It might not change where you buy your razors, but the Internet is an amazing thing. You don’t have to buy your razors from Costco or target. You can go online and find razors that are made for women, by women, and probably have a subscription for them. 

Neela [00:13:29]:

Right. I think that’s it is. At the end of the day, every dollar you spend is a vote. You’re voting with that company and you might not feel like it is, but the company feels that as support. And so how often do you find yourself sitting back being like, wouldn’t it be great if there was just x like a solution for Y? And you’d be amazed what you can find. I got so sick of throwing toothpaste tubes away, and so I went down a rabbit hole and found a female founded company that ships toothpaste bits to you in a zero carbon way.

Mary Beth [00:14:08]:

And now Neela’s linking to that in our show notes. 

Neela [00:14:10]:

I will link that, obviously linked in the show notes, but it’s like that solved the problem. Did the same thing for laundry detergent. All laundry detergent. 

Mary Beth [00:14:18]:

Yes laundry detergent. No more plastic jugs.

Neela [00:14:21]:

No more plastic jugs. There’s so many innovative options out there and we support those by paying for them. 

Mary Beth [00:14:29]:

Yeah, and that’s it. And the more that we use our dollars towards those products, the more options we get in that arena. Right. So you have to direct your dollars there to create change. And the more they see dollars towards the product, that’s when they start to innovate and continue to build upon and create. 

Neela [00:14:45]:

Companies notice, investors notice. And in the end, we get better products. 

Mary Beth [00:14:50]:

Yeah, but I think the thing to take away from this is the power that you have as a consumer, the ability, if you’re a male, listen to this about ability that the women in your life have as a consumer and the change that can be created with that and that companies are starting to listen. So what can you do to align your dollars with your values? And how can you use your voice to create change in some of the products that you’re looking for change in. 

Neela [00:15:10]:

Hone the power. Thank you for listening. 

Mary Beth [00:15:14]:

Thank you. See you next time. 

Neela [00:15:17]:


Neela [00:15:19]:

Most people have formed helpful and harmful habits around spending, giving, and investing. Head to to take our financial architect quiz and learn your three dominant money types. You’ll receive personalized guidance that helps you have a healthier, more balanced relationship to money. 

Neela [00:16:00]:

Abacus Wealth Partners is an SEC registered investment advisor. SEC registration does not constitute an endorsement of Abacus Wealth Partners by the SEC, nor does it indicate that Abacus Wealth Partners has attained a particular level of skill or ability. This material prepared by Abacus Wealth Partners is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation of any particular security strategy or investment product. Opinions expressed by Abacus Wealth Partners are based on economic or market conditions at the time this material was written. Facts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Abacus Wealth Partners, however, cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Abacus Wealth Partners does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as tax or legal advice. Economies and markets fluctuate. Actual economic or market events may turn out differently than anticipated. No investor should assume that future performance will be profitable or equal either the previous reflected performance or that of the reference benchmarks. The historical performance results of the comparative benchmarks do not reflect the deduction of transaction and custodial charges or the deduction of an investment management fee, the incurrence of which would decrease indicated historical performance. The S&P index includes 500 leading companies in the US and is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large cap US equities. The holdings and performance of Abacus Wealth Partners clients accounts may vary widely from those of the presented indices. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Abacus Wealth Partners and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Abacus Wealth Partners unless a client service agreement is in place.

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