Midlife panic: A red sports car is the least of it

July 30, 2018

You look in the mirror and realize that you are no longer “young.” Your children are going off to college. Your career has not produced either riches or fame. You still are paying a mortgage and mowing the lawn.

It’s called a midlife crisis—and it can have serious ramifications on your relationships, your career, your bank account, and even your mental health. Those little red sports cars cost money. So does a trip to the Bahamas. And let’s not even talk about the psychological and financial aftermath of an affair.

But all those sports car clichés are bandied about for a reason, according to the findings of a poll conducted by Healthspan Ubiquinol and posted by Metro UK. Researchers polled 1,000 men age 40 an above.. More than half  said they truly had experienced a midlife crisis, with the majority saying that it had hit at around age 47.

Women admit to the same thoughts and feelings—but most do not express them in a flamboyant way. Instead, women are likely to become more “selfish”—carving out time in their lives for things they want to do, such as exercise or run a marathon, or go back to school.

Men very often do cope with a midlife crisis by buying wild and wonderful things. Based on the poll results, the average man will spend US$2,760 (£2,106) during his midlife crisis, with a flashy vacation the most common purchase.

As well as trips abroad, men in the midst of a midlife crisis were likely to buy (in order of respondent preference):

  1. A vacation
  2. A new gadget
  3. A sports car
  4. Designer clothing
  5. A motorbike
  6. Tickets to a concert
  7. A new tattoo
  8. A trip traveling around the world
  9. A gym membership
  10. A games console
  11. A designer watch
  12. Tickets to a music festival
  13. Major home renovations
  14. Expensive or vintage alcohol
  15. Sex toys
  16. A new house or property
  17. A new hairstyle/color
  18. A musical instrument
  19. An expensive bicycyle
  20. Jewelery

One man polled blamed his midlife crisis for buying a US$2,622 (£2,000) Armani suit, another said he had spent US$92,000 (£70,000) on a car, and yet another said he had purchased a US$2,400 (£1,800) albino python.

Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll told Metro UK, “Reaching midlife can act as a significant milestone for many men and is a time when some men become keenly aware of their own mortality. This can result in a profound sense of turmoil and confusion, as life may not have turned out as envisaged (it rarely does). ‘For some men a way to cope with these feelings is to make life-changing decisions regarding relationships and money.”

“‘However,” she said, “this period of introspection doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, For some men, middle age can … be positive, leading to more time spent with family, health kicks ,and getting back to once-loved hobbies.’

In addition to inspiring some less then sensible purchases, the men surveyed revealed that their midlife crises changed their health and relationships—and often, not for the better. Over one-third (37%) said their relationships had lost their spark; 34% said they were more likely to argue with their partner; and 20% said they struggled to see the good in their relationships and family life. Nearly half (48%) said their energy levels dropped after reaching middle age, too. So that’s some fun stuff for us all to anticipate.

Research contact: pressoffice@healthspan.co.uk

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