Menopause and your finances

Journalist: Marc Shoffman, Freelance

ended 06. June 2022

I am writing a piece for The i newspaper on the impact of the menopause on your finances.

It is focusing on comments from a lawyer claiming maintenance payments in divorce agreements should factor in the menopause and women finding it harder to work so having a reduced income.

I am keen to explore the impact of the menopause in other areas of personal finance as well such as being able to work, investing, getting a mortgage etc.

It would be good to get comments from financial planners, advisers, mortgage brokers on any experiences they have in this area.

Is menopause considered as a factor for income protection? Should it be?

Does menopause affect how women invest/plan for retirement? 

2 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
Menopause is the unspoken handicap to a woman’s earning capacity. It is now commonly accepted that the menopause can adversely impact a woman’s ability to work and hence to earn, yet this is typically overlooked when it comes to financial settlements following divorce. This is because the courts have a policy of not “crystal ball gazing” and only assessing financial needs based on the parties' current medical condition. However there are some notable exceptions to this sweeping rule, the most common being where a party has a degenerative medical condition. In this case the Court can, and typically does, make an assessment regarding the future earnings impact. Likewise the Court will also look at the age of parties and how this might impact their future earnings. With this in mind how difficult would it be for the Courts to do the same with the menopause? Whilst it is true that there are varying degrees of symptoms, the NHS quotes that 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms with 1 in 4 experiencing “severe symptoms, which impact on their day-to day life”( Menopause and the workplace | NHS Employers). Statistically this means that we should be paying attention to the menopause, even when dealing with clients who have yet to experience symptoms. There is a very strong argument for projecting a reduction in earnings capacity for women in their 40’s through 50’s, the period that would typically see an individual earn the most in their career. This should also be reflected in the level of pension savings projected for the same reason. For those going through the menopause it should be treated in the same way as any other debilitating medical condition, something that does not happen currently.
Sadly I know all too well how the menopause can affect a woman's finances. I battled severe endometriosis that resulted in a total hysterectomy in 2021. The surgery induced me straight into menopause. I ended up having to take more time away from my jewellery manufacturing business than I wanted to because the menopausal symptoms were so debilitating. The brain fog and anxiety were horrendous. I honestly thought I had early onset dementia. Running my jewellery manufacturing business became really difficult. I would walk into to my workshop to talk to the team and have no idea what I had gone in for. The anxiety was crippling at times. I had to take a few weeks away from the business to get myself sorted and settled on HRT. This was a financial strain on the business for sure. Sales fell without me being there, I had to employ an additional member of staff to help cover some of my day to day roles. This ultimately meant I took less money home to my family. The menopause is still very taboo to discuss in British culture and especially within the workplace. We are expected to just get on with it. Suicide rates for women aged 45 to 54 – the most common age for perimenopause and menopause - have risen 6% in 20 years, according to the Office of National Statistics. It is vital menopausal women are supported financially.