Warning Signs From Men’s Financial Feelings

Yes, men have feelings and in what could be a call to action for advisors, male perspective on finances isn’t so hot right now. To be specific, men’s sense of financial security is declining and that’s concerning on a number of levels.

As advisors know, money and personal finance can be emotional concepts and men deal with emotions much differently than do women. One doesn’t need to be a psychologist to know that. However, “financial funks” can be particularly stressful for men. After all, men are hardwired to believe we should be “good” at finances. Then there’s burden of, in some cases, being a household’s primary breadwinner. Add in the elements of “keeping up with the Joneses” – something men are vulnerable to – and it’s not always easy being a male.

What makes the gloomy financial vibes currently held by many men all the more concerning is it is likely their female counterparts feel worse. In a hypothetical, it’s likely that if five in 10 men said they’re concerned about the current state of their finances, it’s likely six or seven women feel the same way. In other words, advisors might want to consider having some direct conversations with the men on their client rolls.

Men Might Need Financial Pep Talks

As it relates to men, advisors should consider the findings in the ARP Financial Security Trends Survey. Broadly speaking, people are feeling more financially confident than they felt a year ago, but for men, the devil’s in the details.

“Today, 42% of all men ages 30-plus describe their financial situation as ‘only fair’ or ‘poor,’ up from 34% when the survey began in January 2022. This decline appears to be driven by increased difficulties managing debt, building savings, and even covering basic expenses,” according to AARP.

The retirement organization also points out that 40% of men are worried about covering basic expenses up from 33% in January 2022 while the percentage of males saving at least 10% of their income for retirement plunged to 28% from 35% in January 2022. Familiar factors such as persistent inflation and high interest rates are weighing on men’s financial perspectives.

“This shift in men’s sense of financial security may reflect the cumulative effects of the higher than average inflation of the past couple years, which may have made long-term saving more difficult for men, adding financial pressure as they approach their retirement years,” adds AARP.

Read the Tea Leaves for Women

As noted above, it’s possible that if men aren’t enthusiastic about their personal economies, the situation is amplified with women. With that in mind, advisors should take the time to reconnect with clients that are married couples to assess their financial perspectives.

That can include refreshing retirement propositions and discussing with women the likelihood that they’ll outlive their male partners and how to prepare for that scenario. Data confirm those conversations need to take place.

“Men are more likely than women to have emergency savings (62% of men vs. 58% of women); men (42%) are less likely than women (47%) to be worried than about managing debt, and men with debt are more likely than women to view their debt as manageable (61% of men with debt vs. 52% of women with debt). Also, men have saved more for retirement compared to women,” concludes AARP. “In fact, among adults who regularly save for retirement, roughly four in 10 men believe they are saving enough to be secure in retirement, compared to just three in 10 women.”

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