Men Worse Off Financially, But Better Off Emotionally After Recession

NEW YORK (MainStreet) - A Men's Health study on the financial and emotional impact of the Great Recession on men leads to different conclusions – men are worse off money-wise, but better off at heart and in the home than they were before the hard financial times hit.

What's going on with guys? And how do you explain the study's seemingly opposite views?

For starters, men have carried a slightly heavier burden from the sour economy, at least from a jobs point of view. A 2011 U.K. government study says that the unemployment rate for men stood at 9% at the time of the study (in late 2011). Women had things moderately better, with an unemployment rate that flexed between 6.5% and 7.5%.

Furthermore, an August report from the Brookings Institution says that American men are making 28% less on average than men earned in 1969 and adds that one in five American men were out of work at the time of the study.

As the data suggest, that situation can’t be good for a man’s psyche, but guess what? Fresh data shows that men are actually bearing up pretty well as the recession still shadows the economy.

Says who? Men’s Health, which has an analytical barometer called the “ManScan” that measures these sorts of things.

The most recent ManScan study found that two out of three men say their “life is the same or better” than before the recession roared into the U.S. in 2008.

Men also seem to be OK with being “out-earned” by their spouses and girlfriends, and spending more time at home with the kids and family and less time at work – if by force and not by choice.

“The data uncovered in the ManScan suggests that as men evolve their attitudes to suit the times, so do their interests, priorities and behaviors,” says Cary Silvers, director of consumer insights for Men’s Health. “With men placing more emphasis on being well-rounded, a successful life is determined beyond the traditional narrow dimensions of work and career."

The Men’s Health data show that 67% of guys say their lives are the same or better than before the recession. On the downbeat, only 57% of men say their career is the same as or better than before tough times hit. And only 42% say their financial situation has improved or is at least the same as in 2008.

The good news comes from the “stop and smell the flowers” side of the street. According to the ManScape study:

  • 77% of men say their relationship with their spouse is better or the same.
  • 71% of men say their social life is better or the same.
  • 70% of men say their physical appearance is better or the same.
  • 69% of men say their emotional well-being is better or the same.
  • 67% of men say their physical health is better or the same.

In addition, men tell study researchers that being “well-rounded” is their new top goal these days, and eight in 10 men are OK with their wives or girlfriends out-earning them. They’re even more inclined to do the laundry and food shopping.

Whether or not women approve of the apparently tamer men in their lives might require another study. But for now, at least, guys seem more and more willing to not buy the high heels for their women, but to wear them – at least in a metaphorical sense – instead.

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