LifeStyle Newsletter - Are You a Subscriber?

Helen Stephens |

In the olden days, the word ‘subscription’ typically was applied to just magazines and newspapers. Today, that’s not the case. Americans are buying everything from meal kits to baby products to vitamins by subscription. A McKinsey & Company survey found:1

“Although streaming-media subscriptions have been popular for some time – 46 percent of consumers in our survey subscribed to an online streaming-media service…shoppers are now also turning to subscriptions for consumer goods…Male shoppers are more likely than women to have three or more active subscriptions – 42 percent versus 28 percent, respectively…”

In general, consumers pay monthly fees to receive goods or services that have tangible benefits. For instance, subscriptions may be appealing because they:1

• Replenish everyday items and reduce the need for trips to a store (razors, vitamins, household goods).
• Provide exclusive access to lower-priced or highly-coveted goods and services (apparel, food, movies).  
• Deliver curated experiences that delight subscribers or allow them to sample new things (video gaming gear, pet products, beauty products, treats, books, gift boxes). 

Subscriptions have become popular among businesses and consumers. McKinsey reports the subscription market has grown 100 percent a year during the past five years.2

Recently, the business model was applied to automobiles. The pay-by-the-month car sharing service “…connects drivers to used cars at dealerships nationwide, bundling warranty, maintenance, roadside assistance, and optional insurance into one month-to-month, pay-by-app fee (from $150).”3

Remember, however, subscriptions can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can help subscribers save time and money. For example, samples of beauty products eliminate wasteful purchases by helping consumers learn which items they prefer before they spend hours shopping and buy a full-sized product they don’t like. 

On the other hand, subscriptions are ongoing and, while they may be economical choices, even small costs can add up over time. In addition, subscriptions often renew automatically – and they may go unused. Many people have paid gym memberships for months even when they’re not working out regularly. The same thing can happen with other types of subscriptions. Sure, it’s fun to open a box with a surprise inside. Just make sure the surprise – a book, a product, a pet toy, or something else – does more than clutter your home. 

If you’re not sure how subscriptions are affecting your budget, it’s a good idea to review your monthly credit card bill and bank statement. If you’re spending more than you should, decide where to cut back.

It’s A Classic: Coleslaw
Coleslaw is found alongside lemonade, hot dogs, and apple pies at many summer picnics. Like other ‘American’ foods, it immigrated to our great nation. Cabbage salad was a Dutch invention that arrived in the colony of New Netherland on the east coast of the United States in the 1700s.4

Easy Apple Coleslaw5
3 cups chopped cabbage (green, red, or mixed)
1 unpeeled red apple, cored and chopped
1 unpeeled green Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, red apple, green apple, carrot, red bell pepper, and green onions. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

What Do You Know About Women and Work?
In many parts of the world, women have yet to be accepted as equals in the workplace. It’s too bad because high levels of gender diversity – having both men and women on staff – have been shown to improve corporate performance.6 See what you know about women and work by taking this quiz.

1. In some countries, governments publish lists of jobs that are too dangerous for women to hold. How many jobs are on the list in Russia?7
a. 0
b. 54
c. 173
d. 456

2. Which of the following statements about the United States is not true?8
a. Women have been earning more college degrees than men for 30 years.
b. Women are well-represented at every level in corporate America.
c. Women in entry-level jobs are less likely to be promoted than male peers.
d. More men than women believe their companies are doing what it takes to improve gender diversity.

3. In Argentina, women are not allowed to:7
a. Distill or sell alcohol
b. Drive buses with more than 14 seats
c. Cut, eviscerate, or skin cattle
d. Work underwater

4. What percentage of C-suite executives in the United States are women?8
a. 10 percent
b. 20 percent
c. 30 percent
d. 40 percent

Sugar, Sugar…
When reading food labels, what do you look for? Many people look at serving size, calories, and calories from fat. Some focus on trans fats, which the Mayo Clinic reports increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.9

It’s also important to consider sugar. 

For instance, a 20-ounce soda has about 65 grams of sugar. That’s good to know, but how much is it, really? The SugarStacks blog translates grams into sugar cubes, which have about four grams of sugar each. The results are quite startling. Drinking a 20-ounce soda is roughly the equivalent of ingesting 16 sugar cubes.10 The blog also translates sugar content into carrot equivalents. A 20-ounce soda provides roughly the same amount of sugar as 3 pounds of carrots.11

Fruit has a lot of sugar, too. Raisins are considered by some to be diet food because they’re sweet and have no fat.12 Raisins are sweet because they have a lot of sugar. One-quarter cup of raisins has about 30 grams of sugar. That’s about 7.5 sugar cubes or 1½ pounds of carrots.10

The American Heart Association recommends men consume no more than 37.8 grams of sugar (9.5 sugar cubes) per day and women limit sugar intake to 25.2 grams (almost 6.5 sugar cubes) per day. Despite these recommendations, the average American devours about 96.6 grams (about 24 sugar cubes) per day, reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest.13

Quiz Answers:
1. D – 456 jobs are listed as too dangerous for women on Russia’s list.
2. B – Women are not well-represented at every level in corporate America.
3. A – Women are not allowed to distill or sell alcohol in Argentina.
4. B – 20 percent of women are C-suite executives in the United States.

Sources:
1 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/thinking-inside-the-subscription-box-new-research-on-ecommerce-consumers#0
2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2018/03/04/the-state-of-the-subscription-economy-2018/#6c26222253ef
3 https://www.wired.com/story/automakers-subscription-car-ownership-optional/
4 Young-Brown, Fiona. ‘A Culinary History of Kentucky: Burgoo, Beer Cheese and Goetta,’ 2014: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/Peak+Documents/LN_3rd_Qtr_2018_Book-A_Culinary_History_of_Kentucky-Burgoo_Beer_Cheese_and_Goetta-Footnote_4.pdf)
5 https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/34615/easy-apple-coleslaw/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results
6 http://www.morganstanley.com/pub/content/dam/msdotcom/ideas/gender-diversity-toolkit/Gender-Diversity-Investing-Primer.pdf
7 https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/05/24/billions-of-women-are-denied-the-same-choice-of-employment-as-men (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/Peak+Documents/LN_3rd_Qtr_2018_TheEconomist-Billions_of_Women_are_Denied_the_Same_Choice_of_Employment_as_Men-Footnote_7.pdf)
8 https://womenintheworkplace.com
9 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114
10 http://www.sugarstacks.com
11 http://www.sugarstacks.com/carrots.htm
12 https://www.livestrong.com/article/375089-are-raisins-bad-for-a-diet/
13 https://cspinet.org/sites/default/files/attachment/combined_infographic.pdf
This material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.