I read a study recently that said 95 percent of women are the financial decision makers in their household. 95 percent! It got me thinking about a show I’ve been watching lately called “Mad Men.” If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about an ad agency in New York City in the 1960s. The show paints the quintessential portrait of the decade: a male-dominated business world where men are in control of the household finances and their wives need only be concerned with pot roast and laundry detergent.
One episode in particular sticks with me. The agency is pitching a new ad campaign to one of its bigger clients, a bank. The pitch? The Executive Account: a private account for a man, kept secret from his wife, so he can have “fun” when he likes. I know….my mouth fell open too when I watched it.
Fast forward 50 years. Now over half of the mothers in the workforce are the sole or co-breadwinner in their home. This is true in my household….I’m a co-breadwinner and I also make the majority of the financial decisions. I do all the banking and pay all the bills. What’s interesting is this shift in control of the finances has also shifted how businesses market their products. Women aren’t concerned with executive accounts…we want a relationship with our bank, our dry cleaner, our pharmacy. We want customer service we can count on. Plus, I’m willing to pay a little more to be treated well or to hear a real person on the other end of the phone when I have a question. Businesses would be well served to focus their efforts less on profits and more on building a relationship with their customers and nurturing that relationship with good customer service.
But isn’t this the way it always should have been? What about your household? Who makes the financial decisions? And what do you base them on? I’d like to hear from you!