Cost of Menopause Soars: AIST Urges Measurement of Impact

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has increased its estimate of the cost of menopause to more than $112.2 billion as it continued to urge the Federal Government to measure and report on its impact on women’s retirement incomes.

CEO Eva Scheerlinck said AIST’s previous estimate of between $17 billion and $35 billion was conservative and the peak body for profit-to-member funds had adjusted its assumptions on the basis of new data and broader analysis of the impact on women.

She said that with the average age of menopause being 51 and many women experiencing symptoms for five to 10 years, the impact of this life change affecting all women needed to be quantified so that appropriate policy and public health interventions could be developed.

In a pre-Budget submission, AIST recommended the Government provide funding to the Office for Women to measure and report on the extent to which menopausal symptoms impact women’s employment and retirement decisions, super and retirement incomes.

“AIST bases its estimates on publicly available data sources but recommends that the Government undertake its own comprehensive analysis of the heath and economic impacts of menopause on women’s workplace participation and retirement decisions,” Ms Scheerlinck said.

“This is a great time for this work to be done because women retire with 40% less superannuation than men and they live longer. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, the average retirement age is 52.1 for women and 59.5 for men.

A woman retiring at the average age for a man would accrue an additional 7.4 years of income and superannuation which, based on the average income for women aged 45-54 amounted to lost salary and wages and foregone superannuation of more than $577,512.

According to ABS data, 694,143 women were in the workforce in November 2022 and, by the Government’s own estimates, 28% of menopausal women will have symptoms severe enough to impact their participation in the workforce.

This translates to a collective economic loss of $15.2 billion per year and more than $112.2 billion in foregone earnings and super over 7.4 years.

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