How The Cost Of Living Crisis Is Impacting Australian Men

"3/4 of men admitted they were worried about their financial future.” 

How The Cost Of Living Crisis Is Impacting Australian Men

Image: Getty

Last Wednesday, DMARGE launched key insights from its second Men’s Matters study, which – in partnership with Hoop Research – investigated how the cost of living crisis is impacting Australian men. Here are the results.

With 75% of Australian men worried about the cost of living, 57% worried about their financial future and 40% worried they will never own their own home, the last couple of years have rocked many Aussie blokes’ “she’ll be right” attitude to life, DMARGE’s Men’s Matters study has found.

These insights came alongside the finding that – though our online habits are making us lonely – men are increasingly willing to strike up conversations with strangers, whether that be in the surf or while watching the NRL at the pub.

These insights were unveiled at DMARGE House during a cost of living panel discussion between DMARGE founder Luc Wiesman, Man Anchor founder Stevan Gamble, Man Coach Mike Campbell and writer/strategist Noelle Faulkner.

Key insights from DMARGE’s latest Men’s Matters study:

  • 75% of Australian men are worried about the cost of living
  • 57% of Australian men are worried about their financial future (with 30-40 year olds being the most affected, and Sydneysiders being the worst) 
  • 40% of Australian men are worried they will never own their own home
  • Only a fraction of Australian men are topping up their superannuation 
  • Gambling, drugs and luxury goods will be the first vices Australian men give up when “s*** hits the fan”

During the panel discussion, the panel talked about the fact that men reported feeling like they were under more financial stress now than they were before the pandemic. The panel also discussed the fact that the Men’s Matters study found shares and crypto the largest areas of investment for Australian men (with superannuation often being neglected). DMARGE’s Men’s Matter’s research also found that gambling, drugs, luxury goods, eating out and booze will be the first vices to go (in that order) when it gets real.

What does this mean for men? Well, there is a huge need for education – specifically around sensible, long-term investment advice. There is also a great need for community forums – beyond Reddit and Facebook – with a more mature outlook on wealth and health building.

As DMARGE founder Luc Wiesman explained, there has been a surprising shift away from the classic Aussie “she’ll be right” mentality. Mr Wiesman said: “We expected 50% of men to say ‘nah, it’s all sweet’ but actually 3/4 of men admitted they were worried about their financial future.” 

“General financial wellbeing awareness is still lacking amongst men.”

Luc Wiesman

Stevan Gamble also spoke about the common worries and fears he hears from Australian men while he works as a volunteer crisis support worker at Lifeline. 

“For me… areas people are concerned about is the future for their kids and where they need to find that money to bolster their children’s future,” Mr Gamble told the panel.

When was the last time you bought a coffee for less than $4? Image: Bliss Coffee Roasters

Another important insight from the the cost of living panel discussion was that Australian men need more healthy escapes – and are more willing to seek them out than ever before.

As Man Coach Mike Campbell explained, men have a tendency to live beyond their means, regardless of their salary, because we have internalised so many messages about what it means to be a man, so we “chase the things that might make us feel like we are a success.”

“We have an internalised attachment to money and wealth… we tend to lose ourselves in there. We can go to things that are distractions like drugs and alcohol, rather than facing the thing in front of you.”

Mike Campbell

The takeaway here (especially taking into account Australian mens’ common vices of drugs, alcohol and gambling), is that we need more healthy outlets. Fortunately, as was revealed by the extensive list of guest speakers at DMARGE House (which included everyone from grooming tycoons to home fitness app entrepreneurs), the men’s wellness space is poised to boom, and is currently intersecting with many other industries – from grooming to travel.

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Case in point: Chris and Cam Grant, founders of off-grid cabin company Unyoked.

Speaking at DMARGE House, Cam said: “The use case was that we were there stressed on a Wednesday night, and we wanted to be out in nature within the next 24-48 hours.”

“The average Australian is working 5 out of 7 days a week living in an urban or suburban environment spending 6.6 hours a day on their screen. People are burning out, getting anxious, getting depressed; getting lonely.”

Chris added: “On the flip side you go and spend a couple of days in nature and your heart rate lowers, your blood pressure lowers, your cortisol levels lower and your hearing and your eyesight has been proven to get better.” 

“The feeling of awe you get by looking at a big tree or mountain has been proven to help make you feel more connected to other people – can you imagine how important that is in today’s world?”

Chris Grant

“You go spend two days in nature and your creative problem solving can increase by 50%. These effects they have been shown they can last for up to a month. It’s a fascinating tool and we want to educate people around it and make it accessible.”

Image: Unyoked

This is just a small taste of the insights delivered at DMARGE House, a reader event that gave Australians the chance to come and listen to some of the brightest minds DMARGE has worked with over the last decade.

Hosted by Matthew Johnson, over 180 people descended on Ovolo Hotel in Sydney for DMARGE House, to listen to 15 leading entrepreneurs and captains of industry. These thought-leaders included The Bachelor’s Sam Wood, surfboard designer Hayden Cox and the aforementioned Chris and Cam Grant, founders of off-grid cabins, Unyoked. 

There was also life advice from tailor and entrepreneur Patrick Johnson, share trading tips from Seneca Financial Solutions’ Luke Laretive, forward-thinking crypto insights from BTC Markets’ Caroline Bowler, steak cooking advice from Vic’s Meat’s Anthony Puharich and business class travel hacks from Flight Hacks’ Immanuel Debeer. 

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Surfboard shaper Hayden Cox gave us an enlightening discussion about his attitude to sustainable surfboard design (and his new fashion label) too, while Australia’s version of Elon Musk (in all the good ways) Matt Pearson spoke to us about flying car racing (and its real life applications).

DMARGE House guests were hosted by IWC Schaffhausen and Bushmills Irish Whiskey. IWC Schaffhausen hosted watchmaking classes, offering an exclusive look at how some of Switzerland’s most high-tech watches are created. Guests also enjoyed relaxing in the VIP lounge, where they enjoyed drinks from the exclusive Bushmills Bar and were able to dabble in a complimentary range of single malt whiskeys and cocktails – and take part in whiskey masterclasses. 

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