Despite our continuing best efforts, there are still some major discrepancies between living life as a man and living life as a woman.
And Finances are a big one. Huge.
Ever heard of “the pink tax”? It’s a thing.
For reasons no one can really figure out goods and services cost more for females than males. That’s The Pink Tax.
We’re not talking about “this item that just happens to be for women also happens to cost more money to make and therefore the price is higher.”
Nope. We’re talking about the exact same items that are sold to men for less money.
Razors. Clothes. Toys. Personal care products.
The list goes on and on. In this episode of the My Money My Freedom podcast, I share…
- What the ‘pink tax’ is and how it doesn’t just influence the products we buy, but directly impacts how much money we have throughout our lives.
- How much more women pay each year due to the pink tax.
- Real examples of the pink tax in action – even in my own home.
- How the pink tax and the pay gap wreak havoc on women’s financial futures.
- My surprising financial heroine and how she’s impacted my investment strategy.
From Cradle to Grave: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer
This is the My Money My Freedom podcast, where we unpack and simplify all things money so that you’ll always have more than enough to live your best life for life. Now here’s your host. Financial coach Susan Lassiter-Lyons.
Gender equality. Am I right?
Supposedly we have it. And by we, I mean women.
But sometimes I’m not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong, throughout history, a lot of genuinely badass chicks have fought really hard to get us where we are today.
Like Susan B. Anthony.
Funny story. If I would have married someone with the last name Anthony, my name would totally be Susan B. Anthony.
Who else? Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mary McLeod Bethune, Dolores Huerta, Rose Schneiderman, Even Madam C. J. Walker, the very first self made female millionaire in the United States.
But despite our continuing best efforts, there are still some major discrepancies between living life as a man and living life as a woman, and finances are a big one.
Ever heard of the pink tax?
Well, it’s totally a thing, and for reasons that nobody can really figure out, goods and services cost more for females than males.
That’s called the pink tax.
And we’re not talking about this item just happens to be for women and also happens to cost more money to make and therefore the prices higher.
No, we’re talking about the exact same items that are sold to men for less money, everything from razors, clothes, toys, personal care products.
The list goes on and on.
I mean, these are items that take literally the same amount of money and resources to produce for both men and women.
But they’re sold to women for more money.
They just slap some pink packaging on them (understand where we get the pink tax now?) and they just charge women more for these same items.
I was a co-founder and an early investor in a company called Tomboy Tools many years ago, and we developed and marketed a line of power tools specifically for women in that they were a little smaller and easier to handle, but just as powerful.
Now there were tools that were marketed to women already like drills and stuff, but they were all really cheaply made, and they were all pink.
We hated that so much that our slogan was literally ‘no pink tools.’
It was like we had a picture of a pink drill with a circle and a line through it, like the international symbol for no.
Now the pink tax doesn’t just influence the products we buy, but it directly impacts how much money we have throughout our lives.
The New York City Division of Consumer Affairs did a study in 2015 called From Cradle to Cane: the Cost of Being a Female Consumer, and the agency compared about 800 products with clear male and female versions from more than 90 brands sold it two dozen New York City retailers, both online and in stores.
And they found that women pay more than men nearly 42% of the time.
That’s $1300 in extra expenses per year for women.
On average, they found that women’s products cost 7% more than similar products for men, specifically 7% more for toys and accessories, 4% more for children’s clothing, 8% more for adult clothing, 13% more for personal care products and 8% more for senior and home health care products.
And one of the screen shots in the study was from Target.com, and it showed a radio flyer scooter.
It was called My First Scooter in Red for $24.99 and right next to it was a radio flyer, Girls, My first scooter in pink for $49.99. It’s literally the exact same scooter. Just 25 bucks more in pink.
Levi’s 501 Jeans for men are 68 bucks, and the exact same jeans for women are $88. 20 dollars more.
I just had this experience last week. I was out of deodorant, and I normally use Degree Ultra Clear, black and white for women.
It’s the one that has the little picture of a black dress to show that it doesn’t get white marks all over your dress, I guess. I hardly ever wear dresses, but that’s beside the point.
Well, the store only had Degree Ultra Clear, black and white for men.
So it was the same exact one, right? It just had a little picture of a black T shirt to show that it doesn’t get white marks all over your T shirt.
Well, I wasn’t gonna buy it, even though it was cheaper than the ladies brand, because I thought it would smell too manly.
But they had a little scratch and sniff deal on it, and I scratched it and sniffed it, and it actually smelled really good. It just smelled fresh and clean and good, right? So I bought it.
Well, when I got home, I compared the container of the men’s deodorant to my women’s Degree deodorant container, and I noticed that not only was the men’s version less expensive, the men’s version also had more deodorant by weight.
Now that’s the pink tax in my own home, y’all.
The more that we spend on consumer items, the less we have for other things.
Combine that with the pay gap and the fact that women live longer than men, and suddenly we’re going to need a whole lot more money for retirement than men do.
So let’s talk for a second about the pay gap.
Now a typical woman, whatever that means, working full time is paid roughly 82 cents for every dollar a typical man working full time is paid.
And the gap gets even wider for women of color.
Add this all up, and that means that collectively working women lose out on more than $500 billion per year.
Oh, and here’s another nifty little stat I found while I was researching this.
Women with bachelors degrees working full time are paid 26% less than their male counterparts.
And even though women in the US now earn more college and postgraduate degrees than men, they also hold nearly two thirds of our nation’s outstanding student debt – about $929 billion worth now.
The bottom line is that when women are paid less, it means that they make less money over their lifetimes.
And when you make less money over your lifetime, you’ve paid less into the social Security system, and when you paid less into the Social Security system, you receive less Social Security benefits.
Can you kind of see where I’m going with this now?
As a society, we’ve created not just a gap but a ginormous valley between the financial success of men and the financial success of women.
And on top of all of this, women on average live five years longer than men, so that just means we need an extra five years worth of retire money to retirement money to live on.
All these factors add up to mean that women have to save exponentially more money than men do, we’re paid less while paying more for the same items, we’re less likely to receive high paying jobs.
Saving for retirement is harder and less efficient.
So what’s the solution?
Well, society isn’t going to change overnight. So as usual, we got to take things into our own hands.
We need to learn, strategize and just conquer the world. Easy, right?
Well, the good news is that research shows that even though they’re often less likely to invest, women actually make better investors than men.
And one of the world’s most successful investors is probably a woman that you’ve never heard of unless you read my blog.
Her name is Geraldine Weiss, and she’s my sister from another mister.
She started a financial advice newsletter back in 1966 under the name G Weiss, primarily so readers wouldn’t know that she was a woman.
She had a degree from University of California, Berkeley, but there was no brokerage firm that would even consider her for any position other than a secretary.
Now I wish that I could say that the attitude toward female investors has changed a lot since Geraldine started her newsletter back in 66. But, alas, it has not.
In a Fidelity survey called Women and Money, less than 9% of respondents said that they thought women were better investors than men.
However, the data shows just the opposite.
Fidelity conducted another study where over eight million investment accounts were reviewed.
Conclusion? Women earned higher returns and were often better savers.
For over 30 years, Ms. Weiss’ Investment Quarterly Trends newsletter provided recommendations that delivered, on average, an annual return of 11.2%.
That’s like Warren Buffett level returns, you guys, and that not only beat the markets 9.8% return over the same period, but her portfolio was also less volatile. That just means it was less risky.
So how did she do it?
Yep, my Infinite Income retirement investing strategy is a modern version of her strategy, and it’s how I teach the women in my program to invest.
But investments don’t have to be your only course of action.
The more steps that you take to secure your financial freedom now, then the less likely you’re going to be a victim of our backward system later on.
And that means it’s time to not only start investing, but to get your debt under control and really start thinking about what you want your life to look like in the next 10, 20 or 30 years.
Yes, it sucks that women have to work harder with less and for less.
And when we can become financially empowered and confident enough in our ability to manage our own finances… what a freaking accomplishment, right?
I mean, it almost makes paying 20 extra bucks for a pair of Levi’s worth it.
Thanks for listening to My Money My Freedom. Visit our website at mymoneymyfreedom. co and follow us on Instagram @mymoneymyfreedomhq