Maddy Dychtwald

Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

What Makes Maddy Tweet?

In Guest Post on July 26, 2010 at 11:28 am

What if your new book had just been published by Hyperion’s prestigious Voice imprint? What if you were the co-founder of one of the most influential and respected research firms ever?


That (and a tad more) describes Maddy Dychtwald. She’s pretty well known, ridiculously successful and, dang, good looking to boot.

She’s the author of Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better. She’s also the co-founder, along with her husband Ken, of Age Wave. Together they’ve been warning us for a long time now about the dangers of ignoring the demographics of aging and the talents of our senior citizens.

(Ken Dychtwald, by the way, is one of the very best speakers we’ve ever seen. He’s always understood intuitively what Seth Godin warns about in Really Bad PowerPoint – that bullet points slaughter audiences, but the right emotional images help deliver the message).


So, why in the world would someone like Maddy Dychtwald feel it necessary to tweet? She’s got it all, already.


Chris Brogan (one of the most knowledgeable social network experts on the planet) will tell you that online social networking is not about selling – but instead about contributing, mentoring and giving back.

In Maddy Dychtwald’s case she contributes her expertise. She’s intimately involved with issues like the marketing power of women and the implications of demographic shifts. She uses that expertise to link her followers to news, resources, studies and articles on the topics she knows best.


Sure, she tweets about her own books and appearances. (we should be so lucky to have such success and such a schedule!).

But, she also uses her background to lead us to intriguing articles like a Christian Science Monitor article about the popular television show, The Closer; and an NPR story about Sarah McLachlan’s fight to keep her wonderful concert series, Lilith Fair, alive.


And, those are just a couple of examples. Follow her and you’ll see a lot more.

So, what makes Maddy tweet?

Well, it’s certainly not what makes Sammy run.

Nope, those who are already successful, accomplished and knowledgeable are in the best position to give back – and they’re the ones who most need to pick up their keyboard and tweet with us.

Maddy does. Now, we just need to work on her husband Ken.

From Hidden Business Treasures by Michael Benidt and Sheryl Kay

Interview with Maddy Dychtwald

In Guest Post on July 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Maddy Dychtwald is a nationally recognized author, public speaker, marketing executive and entrepreneur. She has spent nearly twenty-five years deeply involved in exploring and forecasting demographic, lifestyle and consumer marketing trends. In 1986, she co-founded Age Wave, with her husband, Ken. As the nation’s foremost thought-leader on population aging and its profound business, lifestyle, and cultural implications, Age Wave provides breakthrough research (including the landmark study Women, Money and Power), compelling presentations, award-winning communications, and results-driven marketing and consulting initiatives to over half the Fortune 500 companies.

Dychtwald is the author of three books: her latest is Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better (May 2010). She has also written Cycles: How We Will Live, Work, and Buy (2004), and co-authored an illustrated children’s book entitled Gideon’s Dream: A Tale of New Beginnings (March 2008). As a sought-after public speaker, she has addressed more than 275,000 business leaders worldwide. She has been featured in leading newspapers and magazines nationwide, including Newsweek, Time, Bloomberg/Businessweek, and US News and World Report. Dychtwald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.

Morris: Before discussing a specific book, a few general questions. First, please explain the meaning and significance of the name of your firm, Age Wave.

Dychtwald: For the first time in history, we are seeing a dramatic shift in our population from one dominated by youth to one dominated by mid life and older adults. It’s metaphorically a wave of older adults hitting us, with the impact of a tsunami—transforming every aspect of our society from the marketplace to the workplace to the very way we define old. Not only does our company name describe the trend that our business is focused on, it suggest power and a positive vibe which, when we started the company in 1986, wasn’t usually associated with aging. We wanted to help change the attitude of aging to be more positive.

Morris: Given the number of speeches you have delivered and your interaction with the members of each audience, to what extent (if any) have the questions you’ve been asked and the comments people have shared changed within the last several years?

Dychtwald: When I first started speaking at conferences and association meetings, most of the audience thought age 50 was over-the-hill. It was also news that older adults had money and were willing to spend it. Today that has transformed dramatically. We all know that 50 and even 60 are no longer over the hill. And it’s the aging of the baby boom generation—those born between 1946 – 1964–that is responsible for this change. They are 78 million strong –1/3 of our population—and they have always done things differently than their parents and grandparents. With that in mind, we’re beginning to see how boomers are beginning to reinvent retirement and our perspective of what 50, 60 or even 70 can be like.

Morris: In terms of balancing one’s career with one’s personal life, is it easier, more difficult, or about the same today as it was a few years ago?

Dychtwald: Balance is a continuous struggle, but it used to be considered a “women’s issue”–something that primarily described women trying to figure out how to build a family and a career simultaneously. That has changed. Today, with the growth and importance of two income families, it’s become a “family issue.” We see men as well as women struggle to balance family and career. In many married couples, all roles and responsibilities are open to negotiation and that makes things even more complicated. However, now that balance is recognized as an issue impacting women and men, our workplace policies are more likely to become family-friendly, giving women and men a better shot at successfully balancing family and work rather than having to choose between the two.

Morris: Your discussion of women’s “money profiles” caught my eye. For those who have not as yet read Influence, what are the five types and what is the dominant characteristic if each?

Dychtwald: As we collected data from our study, trying to better understand women and their financial behavior, five profiles of women and money emerged. Overall, our research uncovered the fact that what determines a women’s financial personality is very much how she feels about money, how much she defers to someone else to get the job done, what she wants money to do for her, what she wants to do with her money, and how confidant she is in her relationship with money. While these profiles are merely snapshots at one moment in time, it immediately became clear that three of the five personalities helped women’s economic emancipation while two others did not. In the book, I describe these personalities in detail, but here’s a quick take.

The most confident of the five personality types is the Alpha Female. Eighteen percent of the women surveyed identified with this profile, and their behavior (when it comes to money) is much like a stereotypical confidant male: a quick decision-maker, risk-tolerant, and less interested in the details than the results.

The Perceptive Planner is not quite as confident as the Alpha Female, but this is the personality that 35 percent of women identified with, making it the largest segment in the study. They are analytical, disciplined and responsible.

The third personality is the Power Partner which is the second most common group in our study with 23 percent of women identifying with this personality. She is collaborative and willing to strike compromises, believing that two heads are better than one. These three personality types are pro-active and empowered when it comes to money.

The last two personalities are not: Supportive Traditionalists and Uncertain Searchers. About a quarter of all women identify with these two personalities. A Supportive Traditionalist demonstrates the de facto way women used to behave with money, deferring decisions around money to a male. She enjoys spending and is not too interested in gaining knowledge around finances. Amazingly, it is the smallest group in our study with only 8 percent of women identifying with this personality.

The least confident personality is the Uncertain Searcher with about 16 percent of women identifying with this personality. This personality is led by her emotions when it comes to making financial decisions. She knows little to nothing about finances and doesn’t know where to turn for information. She knows she’s lost and isn’t sure how to move on.

Read the Robert Morris interview in it’s entirety on the First Friday Book Synopsis blog.

Financial clout of women, big business for smart marketers

In Guest Post on June 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

In Beirut, my attempts to speak Arabic are often met with amusement and it’s not uncommon for people I meet to ask me about my “descent” – a way of asking what my ethnic or cultural lineage is. The truth is, I am often tempted to say that I descend from accountants. It is both a curse and a (mixed) blessing, and it manages to inform most of my decisions – as well as determine what I receive for birthday presents. This year, my birthday gift arrived early – coinciding with the launch date of the book, Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power will Transform our World for the Better.

Maddy Dychtwald

The book looks at the different decision making patterns that women exhibit, and the transformational possibilities that this presents for the global community.

Indeed, the share of the world’s capital that is controlled by women is skyrocketing, and their influence as decision makers in the marketplace carries more economic clout than ever before – a fact that is of increasing significance to marketers. Harvard business school professor, Rosabeth Kanter said “the biggest demographic change of our times [is] the emergence of women as an economic force.”

While academics often have their heads in the clouds, thinking in the abstract, marketers tend to be the ones who get paid to produce results. And they know what’s happening on the ground. And what’s happening on the ground is mind boggling – to the tune of trillions of dollars globally. Analysts expect that by 2014, about $15 trillion worth of global consumer spending decisions will be made by women, with women controlling nearly three quarters of all shopping decisions.

Let’s consider that: For every dollar circulating in the marketplace, 70 cents of it is in the hand of a woman, who is considering her own personal needs and values – and that of her family and community – before she spends it. Clearly, the biggest task for marketers is to understand those very needs and values that inform her decision making process, in order to better position their products to compete for her money.

This was the mission of the GMR Marketing to Women Conference, held earlier this week in Dubai. The sellout event convened marketing professionals from around the region, strategizing to get a slice of a $383 billion pie – the amount of regional wealth that will be controlled by women within the next year.  Moreover, a whopping 40 percent of private wealth in Saudi Arabia is controlled by women – of enormous importance to the regional financial services industry, and not overlooked by the banking sector. Women in the “bankable age bracket” represent nearly half of the total female population, according to one banking expert at the conference, who added that these women overwhelmingly prefer Islamic financial instruments.

Perfect timing, as a new Abu Dhabi investment bank sets up shop to target the region’s wealthy women, Reuters reported Monday. Staffed with female senior staff, Al Bashayer Investment Company will offer a full range of investment banking, corporate advisory, and wealth management services.

“Very few services are given to women in the field of investments here. Women will be our focus clients,” chairwoman Fatima Al Jaber told reporters on Monday. “We want to create women’s wealth.”

Good news travels fast, it seems.

See original article on

Car Salesmen Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

In Guest Post on June 1, 2010 at 6:52 am

According to a recent study, women buy 52% of all new cars sold in the U.S. and influence more than 85 percent of all car purchases. This makes them the fastest growing segment of buyers for new and used cars, and when you do the math, that means women have full or partial say over $80 billion worth of spending on cars. So why do car dealerships find it so difficult to sell to women?

The fact is, the auto industry is primarily owned and operated by men, and they have a hard time marketing to women. When asked, 74 percent of women say they feel misunderstood by car marketers. And since the numbers show that 95 percent of the U.S.’s 20,000 auto dealers who belong to the National Automobile Dealers Association are male, there’s a clear cut problem communicating the needs and wants of one segment to the other.

The soon-to-be-published “Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better” by Maddy Dychtwald with Christine Larson, talks about the problems that women face when purchasing a car and what dealerships can do to cultivate this influential market.

This information comes at an opportune time, especially with the state of the auto industry, and should be required reading in any dealership. In an interview with Jody DeVere, president and CEO of, she advises that car salespeople need to create an environment where women don’t equate buying a car or getting it serviced with going to the dentist.

“Men and women communicate differently and can misunderstand cues and singles,” says DeVere. “Men need to learn how to listen, and why. It makes women trust you and creates a relationship.”

Just a few important notes to jot down: women are more concerned with fuel economy than color or stereo options, and are more likely to shop around at various dealerships to get the best deal. Along with the best possible price, they also want features that make life easier, as they are often the ones chauffeuring children to activities and events. On top of that, more powerful 4-cylinder engines in SUV-like vehicles have been among the popular picks this year.

Original post on by Amy Tokic.

Flash Forward: Vibrant Nation

In Guest Post on May 27, 2010 at 9:28 am

I spoke recently with Maddy Dychtwald, the author (with Christine Larson) of Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better (Hyperion, 2010).

When will the world listen to Boomer women’s financial instincts?

Stephen Reily - VN Founder

Dychtwald retold a story she shares in the book, about a meeting she and her husband had with their financial planner a few years back. Maddy said that she thought the best thing they could do then was to pay down their home mortgage. Her financial advisor actually laughed in her face. Maddy stood her ground, emphasizing to her husband that it was important for them to feel secure, and he agreed with her. Not long ago her financial advisor called Maddy to say he owed her an apology. This reminds me of two things we know about Vibrant Women. They have fundamentally sound financial judgment (as I’ve written before) and they aren’t getting the respect they deserve from the financial industry, even when their advisors have known them for years. Maddy Dychtwald’s book shows why women’s financial influence should get more respect.

Why aren’t we training Vibrant Women to run for office?

I shared with Dychtwald my own confusion about our culture, which denigrates older women in general but does seem the respect them in high office. She agreed that we should pair this with the fact that Vibrant Women make great politicians. Dychtwald pointed out that there are lots of training programs promoting younger women to run for office. Yet younger women don’t generally want to step up to the plate at this stage of life. Older women do. An empty nester is seasoned by life and work and raising a family, and has the time now to use her life experiences (and the resulting confidence) to create a better world. I hope that Dychtwald keeps talking about this, and encourages a few Vibrant Women to run for office.

Encouraging signs that Vibrant Women can be themselves

I asked Dychtwald what was exciting her most about women these days, and she pointed to the fact that women in power are getting more comfortable with leading from their “authentic feminine self.” In her book she writes about Indra Nooyi, who as CEO of Pepsico talks deliberately about achieving “performance with purpose,” not a goal that many male CEOs would publicly announce. When a woman is comfortable in her own skin, Dychtwald notes, her voice doesn’t sound like anyone else’s.

I know that Dychtwald is right when she describes the benefits that come from letting women – including Vibrant Women – influence more major decisions. Let’s hope that she can persuade some more men, too.

Read the entire post and comment on

Own Your Money Like You Own Your Sexuality

In Guest Post on May 12, 2010 at 8:00 am

When it comes to attitudes towards money, are young women moving backwards?

One prominent author, Leslie Bennetts, at the April 27 event I attended for Maddy Dychtwald’s new book on women’s economic power, Influence, complained that young women she’d encountered were mostly interested in bikini waxes and how to get a man. I disputed that, but one finding in Dychtwald’s book did give me pause.

In the discussion that followed Dychtwald’s presentation, Bennetts described going on tour for her 2007 book, The Feminine Mistake and being profoundly disappointed in young women’s lack of interest in their own empowerment, economic and otherwise.

Though I’d argue that plenty of women are interested in it, when I actually got a look at Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World For The Better, I found a surprising passage that might have lent fuel to that particular fire. So I decided to call up Dychtwald to talk about it, which she was more than happy to do. (She’ll also be hanging out in the comments of this post today, so feel free to ask any questions.)

Dychtwald, a demographer, and her co-author Christine Larson provide a sweeping look at cultural shifts and changing demographics, arguing that they’re leading towards an “unprecedented economic emancipation.” Some of Dychtwald’s original research for the book included surveying 3,000 women about their attitudes towards money — control and leverage of one’s finances being rather crucial to economic empowerment — and put the respondents in five categories based on their attitudes towards their money. Those categories include “perceptive planners,” “power partners,” “alpha females,” “uncertain searchers,” and “supportive traditionalists.” (For a more detailed breakdown, see here).

She found that about 8 percent of all women in the survey fell into the “supportive traditionalist” category, the most passive and male-dependent one. But when it came to younger women — in their twenties in particular — the results were more dramatic:

Read Maddy’s full interview and readers comments here.

The Power of the Purse: Interview with Maddy Dychtwald

In Guest Post on May 7, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Until I read the new book Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World For the Better, by Maddy Dychtwald, I wasn’t aware that women may be the biggest change agent of the 21st century. I got a clue, though, when my oldest daughter, who is finishing up her major in Women’s Studies, snatched the book out of my hands as soon as I opened the package.

In 1986, Maddy Dychtwald co-founded Age Wave with her husband, Ken. Since that time, she has been actively involved in analyzing and forecasting demographic, lifestyle and consumer marketing trends. During the first decade, she helped grow the company from the ground up to a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Maddy sent me an advance copy of Influence, which went on sale this week, and I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about it.

  1. Q: What are some of the more surprising results from your study?A: Well, I was surprised to learn that over the last two decades the increased employment of women has contributed more to the growth of the global economy than either China or India or even the growth of global technology…that’s big! I think what it points to is that right now we’re at a tipping point: a critical mass of women have had an explosive rise in education and earning power which has opened the door for them to exert their influence on the family, business, the workplace, the marketplace and the world at-large.

Read all of Matt May’s Q&A on OPEN Forum and view comments.

Download an “Influence” Chapter featuring AskPatty’s Jody DeVere

In Guest Post on April 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Jody DeVere President and CEO Jody DeVere is featured heavily in the chapter “Start Your Engines: Transforming the Automotive Industry.”  In this chapter, Dychtwald says “It’s an industry that’s owned and operated by men. Some 95 percent of the country’s 20,000 auto dealers belonging to the National Automobile Dealers Association are male. And it shows.”

Jody agrees with her, saying “The auto industry today is in trouble, and automakers are struggling so hard.” According to Jody, automakers are “only doing lip service to women in terms of marketing and selling. When what they need to do is change, and create an environment where women don’t equate buying a car or getting it serviced with going to the dentist.”

Jody is joined in the chapter by other heavy-hitting women, including Marina Shoemaker,  director of General Motor’s Women’s Retail Network; Cheri Fleming, owner and Dealer Principal of Female Friendly Dealer Valencia Acura; and Marti Barletta, president and CEO of The TrendSight Group.

Download the chapter here.

Women Need to Leverage Their Economic Power into Influence

In Guest Post on April 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Women are at least half of the workforce and control more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth. They need to start using this power to influence the world around them. ~ By Rebecca Foerg-Spittel

A recent New York magazine article asked, “What if Women Ran Wall Street?” The article explores the fact that women are generally less likely to take crazy risks and are more likely to admit mistakes or assume they could be wrong. If more women had greater economic power, the article argues, it’s possible that many of the great mistakes of the financial crisis could have been avoided. In her new book Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better, Maddy Dychtwald tackles this idea of women and their economic power and influence. She skillfully blends women’s personal stories from across the country with well-placed statistics and her own experiences with those of her co-author, Christine Larson. Dychtwald’s effort supports many of the arguments made in the New York article, and notes that women also more likely to bring in new and creative perspectives that might keep companies from making mistakes.

You don’t have to be a woman to appreciate Dychtwald’s vision for an economic future. Influence is a surprisingly positive treatise on how equal economic power between men and women could make us into a fairer, happier, and more productive society. Dychtwald’s theory of economic influence is fairly simple. In a chapter she titles “The Three Stages of Economic Power,” women can go from economic survival to economic independence to economic influence. Once they have economic influence, they use it to improve the world in some way.

One of the biggest issues Dychtwald tackles is women changing the nature of the workplace. But, as one of Dychtwald’s contributors says, it’s “not about painting the gun pink.” Instead, Dychtwald says it’s about bringing in their new ideas, new ways of working around problems, and a greater belief in seeking consensus and collaboration. What giving women more strength in the professional world could do is allow a seriously overworked system a new palette of ideas with which to work. By allowing women create their own structure and business models instead of trying to fit themselves into a masculine and sometimes hostile business structure, the professional world could open up an entirely new set of possibilities.

Read the full article on