Men’s Mental Health, Financial Wellness, And The Burdens Of Debt & Stress

Men’s Mental Health, Financial Wellness, And The Burdens Of Debt & Stress
In Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Rynhardt de Lange, Head of Legal at Milaw Legal, examines how financial stress, like heavy debt, deeply affects men’s well-being.

25 June 2024: Money is often a major source of stress, and for many men, financial worries can be particularly burdensome. According to Experian, men hold 20% more personal loan debt than women, alongside 16.3% more auto loan debt and 9.7% more mortgage debt. As Men’s Mental Health Month comes to a fold, Rynhardt de Lange, Director and Head of Legal at Milaw Legal, emphasizes that men’s financial burdens are more than just numbers—they are closely linked to their sense of identity and self-worth, impacting their mental well-being significantly.

Men are often socialised to view their worth through the lens of financial success and their ability to provide. This ingrained belief can lead to immense pressure to be the primary breadwinner. Financial setbacks, such as job loss or mounting debts, can trigger feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety, adversely affecting mental health.

“When men face financial difficulties, it can lead to a profound sense of failure,” de Lange explains. “The societal pressure to achieve financial stability can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and stress. This can lead to a vicious cycle of stress, deteriorating mental health, and financial turmoil.”

Adding to the pressure is the social competition many men feel, which can drive them to overspend or accrue debt in an attempt to keep up with peers. This need to maintain a certain lifestyle can lead to significant financial stress, further impacting mental health.
“The pressure to present a certain image can lead men to take on more debt than they can handle,” notes de Lange. “This constant financial strain can result in severe mental health issues, including depression and suicidal thoughts.”

He offered the following tips for men to better manage their finances:

• Be Paid What You’re Worth: Ensure your salary covers your essential needs and allows for savings. Regularly assess whether your earnings reflect your skills using online resources and negotiate using phrases like “Can you do better?” for better deals.
• Save on a Schedule: Prioritise paying yourself first by allocating 10-15% of your gross income before any other expenses. Visualise your goals to stay motivated.
• Spend Less Than You Make: Control overspending by prioritising cash payments and sticking to a shopping list to avoid impulse buys.
• Effectively Pay Off Debt: Create a repayment plan by prioritising high-interest debts first using methods like the snowball or avalanche. Seek professional help from financial experts if needed.

“Addressing financial stress head-on and developing strategies for managing it an yield significant benefits. By actively tackling financial challenges and applying practical solutions, individuals can pave the way for greater financial stability, peace of mind, and overall well-being,” advises de Lange.

About Milaw Legal

Milaw Legal is a debt management company committed to empowering South Africans in their battle against debt. With over a decade of expertise in financial services, the organisation offers a range of high-calibre debt relief services tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs, including debt review removal, judgment removal, and affordable distribution. Guided by values of integrity, empathy, and innovation, Milaw Legal provides personalised and comprehensive legal services, ensuring clients achieve financial stability and long-term success.