Have you ever stopped to consider what the financial impact of menopause might be for you?
You may have done your research into what to expect physically and emotionally from menopause symptoms but finances tend to be ignored.
When I raised this issue during a recent online course, both the women and the men attendees were shocked by the statistics. It was an aspect of this natural stage of life that they had never considered. One woman commented that she thought she was alone in reducing her working hours in response to her menopause symptoms. When she talked to her friends several had taken the same action.
Consider your pension.
The majority of women have less in their pension pots than men do due to a number of factors such as:
- The gender pay gap
- Childcare/ caring for parents
- Part-time working
- Changes in statutory pension provision
The gender pay gap measures ‘the difference between the average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of men’s average hourly earnings (excluding overtime)’, Office of National Statistics. It is calculated as an average for all working men and women rather than those working in the same role.
In the year to April 2020 the gender pay gap was 15.5%. Although it was down from 17.4% the previous year this is still a significant amount when you consider the long term implications for women’s pensions.
The gender pension gap is the percentage difference in pension income for female pensioners compared to male pensioners. Research by the union Prospect shows that the gender pension gap increased to 40.3% in 2018-19 for women in the UK.
In 2018, women in the European Union (EU) aged over 65 received a pension that was on average 30% lower than that of men.
Although women received lower pensions in all EU Member States, the extent of the gap varies widely. The largest difference was observed in Luxembourg, where women aged over 65 received 43% less pension than men. Luxembourg was closely followed by Malta (42%), the Netherlands (40%), Austria (39%), Cyprus (38%) and Germany (37%).
The Menopause Effect
Research has shown that of the 4.3 million women aged over 50 in the workplace in the UK, 75% experience menopause symptoms that effect their performance. 25% of women consider leaving their jobs.
There are no statistics available for the number of women who decide to work part-time because they are experiencing poor sleep, fatigue, brain fog or anxiety due to menopause. However, from my own conversations with women I know that this is not uncommon. Some women also take on roles below their capabilities and experience or turn down promotion opportunities due to their symptoms. All of this affects their current income and future pension provision.
It is important to take action as early as possible if you are concerned about how your menopause might affect your pension. Remember that although the average age of menopause is 51, a percentage of women experience menopause in their 30s and 40s and others go through medical menopause due to hysterectomy and other treatments
The younger you are when you start to plan for a healthy menopause, the better the experience you can expect and the less it will impact on your finances.
A few simple steps to consider:
- Get informed about menopause – the timing, and symptoms
- Research medical options and whether they would be suitable for you.
- Make changes to your nutrition and lifestyle to support your body through this important stage.
- Explore complementary approaches to managing your symptoms.
- If you are experiencing symptoms in the workplace, talk to your employer about making reasonable adjustments.
If you need support to manage your menopause symptoms contact me for a free 30 minute consultation.