Have you every considered that money is also menopause issue?
Why would you? You’re probably too immersed in peri menopause, life and all of that. But think about it: if you are to continue working into your 60s, (and in the UK state pension age is moving up to 66 and beyond) how will you maintain your current financial status?
Do you know how will you provide a pension for yourself, and have a sufficient amount of funds to pay for holidays, cars and so many more things, once you have retired? Relying on someone else is a nice idea, but not always a good one.
Most advice on ‘getting through’ menopause focuses on physical wellbeing but rarely mentions the physical necessity of keeping well, financially. And this matters.
Not every woman in menopause will be in the workplace. But more than 3.5 million women in the U.K. aged over 50, are. Of those 3.5 million it’s likely that 25% will be feeling the physical effects of menopause and this can negatively affect ability, (note: not capability) whether that’s ‘brain fog’, exhaustion, sweating or emotional upset.
“ITV Tonight” is a British news programme that carried out research into the attitudes and issues facing menopausal women in the workplace. They found that:
25% of women considered leaving their jobs because of menopausal symptoms.
50% of women said life was ‘significantly worse’
85% thought that specific occupational health guidelines are needed.
Yes, employers have a duty of care to the health and safety of their employees, and yes, there is already legislation (in the 2010 Equality Act) that protects people from discrimination of all kinds, and provides for employees with more than 26 weeks service to request (note; request, not expect) flexible working arrangements.
If you can have the conversation about your health needs in the workplace during menopause, you will be also setting a standard for all the women that follow you. I also know that many employers would not listen, will not have the conversation and make it difficult for women to even want to mention their symptoms. If this is the case for you, seek help from outside.
Some women have struggled so much with their symptoms, that the resulting work errors and inefficiencies have been noted as ‘performance issues’ by their employer who did not realise the underlying cause. This can lead to disciplinary situations and potential loss of status or promotion possibilities. In 2018 the Scottish courts found in favour of a woman who had been dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’. The underlying cause of her error was found to be menopause symptoms and she was awarded a compensation for the employer’s breach of law.
I have clients who have indeed given up jobs they ‘used to love’ but could no longer cope with, leaving behind great salaries, benefits and fulfillment. “Nothing wrong with that”, you may say, and I’d agree. If you have a big, fat financial safety net, or a willing and stable partner, you’ll probably get to 66 (or the age your private pension kicks in at) and you’ll be home and dry. But I would never recommend this as a strategy for financial safety.
For one thing, reality often differs from our expectations. Financial pressure in marriages is cited as one of the top causes of divorce and depending on another for your financial wellbeing is not a sound strategy. It’s very likely that a divorced or newly single woman in her 50s, working a low paid and sometimes part time job, is going to struggle to make financial head way. Finding great new roles isn’t easy in your 50s and if the woman is the main care giver to children or elders, she already has limits on the time available for a demanding role.
So when menopause announces itself, one way or another, it’s also a great time for a financial wellbeing review. Make sure you do this regularly. You need to support yourself and good information and money habits will help you feel emotionally clearer and stronger, I promise.
If you are in a relationship and it’s not yet part of your lives, then book a “money date” with your other half and make it a habit. It is surprisingly reassuring (even if the numbers scare you) to discuss these matters and get a handle on them
Current income: Make a complete list of all your outgoings, personal needs, investments and savings contributions, and see if you can afford it fully, now. If not, you need to do some work to establish what you can do to afford your life.
Pension: When do you want to retire and how much will you need in your ‘pot’? How much have you got now and what contributions will you continue to make and how?
Home: If you own or co-own a property, and there is a mortgage, how much is it, and how long is it until it’s paid off? Is your name on the title deeds?
Safety net: What if the car goes ‘bang’, the dog needs expensive veterinary procedures. What easily accessible savings are in place for emergencies (tip: you need at least 3 months’ worth of income to hand).
Insurances: Only keep those that are necessary but make sure they are fit for purpose, so insuring your buildings, cars, health and possessions as a priority. Weed out expensive policies where saving money in an interest-bearing account may be a better idea (e.g. when you buy electrical appliances).
Wills: Keep them up to date, and consider having a ‘living will’ (advanced healthcare directive) which specifies what actions you want or don’t want, should you become incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself.
Investments; Monies you set aside to ‘grow’ and never touch. Are they in the best place? When do you review them and how?
This is a very high level guide to what needs to be managed in your money life. It’s intended as a prompt, a wake up call, and it comes from someone who walked into her divorce blindly and with none of this information, or even a shred of an idea that some of it existed, so it comes with a passion for your financial wellbeing, in menopause and afterwards.
See what my friend, Dr Nikki Ramskill (aka “The Female Money Doctor”)prescribes for mid life money health!
https://debsdevries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/money.jpeg168300Debs de Vrieshttps://debsdevries.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/logo-sig-300x92.pngDebs de Vries2018-08-23 14:32:372018-07-12 16:47:14Menopause and money. Financial future or financial failure?