The Chicago Sun-Times recently did a story on Marti Barletta, a marketing consultant and author who studies women as consumers. Her new book is “PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds and Business of Boomer Big Spenders.”

Barletta describes the most common stereotypes of women at 50 as being either distraught over the empty nest or saddled with the burden of caregiving, but never living life fully — or happily — engaged. Yet she points out that 50-plus women are entering the best time of their lives — and the Sun-Times includes results from a recent lifestyle survey that matches up.

This is the first generation of PrimeTime women, Barletta said, because their life experiences are so different than those of women who preceded them. They’re the first generation to go to college in equal numbers to men; the first to work outside the home for pay in large numbers; and the first to benefit from major advances in health, fitness and nutrition that are boosting the life expectancy of women (currently 79.5 years and rising).

The result: Fifty-plus American women are the healthiest, wealthiest, most active generation of women in history.

Read the story for a closer look at PrimeTime women by the numbers, including peak working years, income and spending power.

“[Women over 50] spend 2.5 times what the average person spends,” Barletta said. “Women are the primary buyers for computers, cars, banking, financial services and a lot of other big-ticket categories.”

But marketing executives don’t seem to get it. “They don’t think women make decisions, or that older people have money,” said Barletta. “They see the numbers I’m talking about, but they don’t believe them.”

Of course, women’s lives are defined by a lot more than their consumerism, but it’s nice to see us getting credit where credit is due.

Christine

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