The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

The Cost of Good Luck

10/11/2020

It is no surprise that white middle-aged men have economic and social advantages in life.  Of course, these blessed Americans also have 69.97% of all suicides.  One usual reason is the guilt of having squandered their “white-male” advantages by accomplishing so little.  It is the curse of “the American Dream.”   

Another reason is that white males are encouraged to become white ALPHA males.  To my surprise, those males are more likely to lack “resilience and coping mechanisms.”

When a man reaches age 75, he is 30% more likely to commit suicide.  Psychologists theorize that men are not able to adjust their identity from being the family provider to being provided-for by the family.  Are you still a man if you’re not providing for your family?  That responsibility gave meaning to your life, and it is now gone.

Men are also more likely to become entrepreneurs, 49% of whom self-report having mental problems, compared with only 7% in the general population.  Very often, the entrepreneur has trouble distinguishing their business and their own identity.

As is well-demonstrated, men are more reluctant than women to seek medical advice and will never ask for psychological advice.  This is where good financial advisors can help.  Men are more likely to seek financial advice than either medical or psychological advice.  Financial events are often the cause of suicide.  Examples are loss of a business, forced retirement, divorce, declining health, etc.  We have a moral responsibility, unrecognized by the CFP Board, to listen and probe carefully into related emotional issues.

For men, just listening helps, but not much.  It is more helpful to be solution oriented.  Good financial advisors have plenty of experience looking for solutions.  Then, strategize!  Give him concrete steps to take.  Make him see “the light at the end of the tunnel!”  Then, collaborate with their CPA, their attorney, and their insurance agent.  Together, help him pick a mental health counselor and get him there.  Drive him, if necessary!

Certainly, being a white-male offers advantages that minority-females can only dream about . . . but there is a risk . . . a cost!

 Financial Advisors:  Don’t forget that cost!

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