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Teenagers And Money: More Powerful Than You’d Think, With Mattie Kahn

Haley Paskalides  |  August 9, 2023

When young women have money they use it in surprising ways — and Mattie Kahn says we’ve discounted them for far too long.

If you’re under the age of 30, you’ve probably watched in horror as low rise jeans, platform flip flops, and bucket hats have made a comeback. But the 90’s are back in a major way — and the teenagers saw it coming. Teens have always had their finger on the pulse of the latest trends, and they’re not only great forecasters — they’re also big drivers in the economy, and are often the main drivers for social change. Teens are more willing to spend their hard-earned cash on companies with missions that align with their values. A 2020 study from Business Wire found that 62% of Gen Z consumers prefer to buy from sustainable brands, and 73% are willing to pay more for eco-friendly mission-driven products. But of course none of this is new. If we look back through history, teens have always shaped America’s economy behind the scenes, and demanded more from big businesses. And perhaps no one knows this better than Mattie Kahn. 

Mattie Kahn has brought many of these lesser-known or flat-out forgotten young women in history into the spotlight in her new book: “Young and Restless: The Girls Who Sparked America’s Revolutions.” Mattie identifies the power of young women with money as early as the 1830s when thousands of girls were employed at the textile mills, and eventually went on strike to demand better conditions. (The reason these girls felt empowered to strike was because it was the first time they knew what it was like to feel a sense of independence.) “Centuries before the ‘Money Diaries’ that we all know so well as an internet format, these girls were writing down everything that they bought in a given week and it just emancipated them and set them free,” she says. 

Fast forward to today, and Mattie Kahn says she thinks it’s no accident that women like Greta Thunberg are overrepresented in the climate movement. “I think women are future-oriented,” she says “and they know that you could earn all the money in the world now, but if in 10 years you can’t insure your house because of where you live, it’s not necessarily going to buy you out of all of your problems.” 

Lastly, in Mailbag, we hear from a listener who feels like she’s grown out of her Roth IRA fund and from someone who picked up How To Money at the library and is hungry for more personal finance book recs. In our money tip of the week, in the midst of a pink craze — what should you do when a stock (think Mattel) goes viral?


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The HerMoney podcast is supported by      Edelman
All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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