Our hormones are fascinating! Have you ever stopped to consider how your hormones can affect your finances? My background is in women’s health, and I’d never really thought about the idea that my money was affected by my menstrual cycle. But the more I read about it, the more I realise that our hormones could play a big part in how we manage our money.
Of course, there will be instances where this doesn’t apply, and I’d be lying if I said nature was textbook — because it isn’t. If you’re menopausal or using hormonal contraception you may not have the same experiences. But the concept of your menstrual cycle can still apply to you, even if you don’t have regular periods.
I recently took part in a conversation on Clubhouse with the Women & Money Café, hosted by Julie Flynn. The discussion centred around how our hormones affect our finances, and I started talking about the menstrual cycle.
If you can cast your mind back to your biology lessons at school, you’ll be familiar with at least the basics. But let’s break it down.
Your Menstrual Cycle
Day 1 of your cycle starts with the follicular phase. At the start of this stage, you’re having your period. Then as the days go on, an egg is getting ready to be released. It’s a time when you’re potentially feeling at your worst; you don’t want to see people, you might even feel like it’s the end of the world. The follicular phase causes a big dip in hormones, which is what triggers the bleeding and the mood swing.
Then about 14 days into your cycle, you ovulate. With a surge of oestrogen, the selected egg is released into the fallopian tube, where if it meets a sperm, it is fertilised. Otherwise, it leaves the body with your next period.
After the egg is released, the Corpus Luteum — a hormone-producing “yellow body” — is formed on your ovary. It then produces progesterone to make the womb more suitable for implantation.
This is the Luteal phase, where you might feel more energetic and able to do more, though you may experience more breast pain, acne, and feel bloated. This is what progesterone does to your body. If you have a smartphone, you can use an app like Flo to track these different symptoms and start to become aware of your unique pattern.
How Does This Relate to Money?
While this isn’t a consensus, research (though divided) shows that a lack of oestrogen and progesterone can prevent you from communicating effectively, depending on where you are in your cycle. I would say anecdotally, we all feel it.
You know there are times of the month you just want to be left alone. Conversely, there are also times when you want to go out and meet people and feel like you can do anything.
The research examined whether our hormone levels affect how we spend money. The findings indicate that we’re more likely to spend money when we’re not at our best, on things like snacks and other things that make us feel good.
So, if it is the case that our hormones affect our emotions, (which they do as we all experience it personally!), it stands to reason that we’re more likely to spend money when we feel more emotional.
Obviously, this can go both ways. If you’re feeling good you might want to spend money to celebrate that fact. But if you’re not feeling great, it’s possible you’ll buy things in an effort to make yourself good.
Financial Decision Making
If you’re feeling more vulnerable/up and down, your decisions may not be made in the best light, as you’re making them on an emotional basis. On the days when you feel like nobody loves you and everyone is out to get you, it’s perhaps not the best time to decide to learn how to invest or start a new budget.
Obviously, this connection with hormones and money may not affect everyone, and if it doesn’t affect you, that’s great! But if you do think you’re affected, it’s definitely worth tracking what’s going on with your cycle so you know not to make important decisions at certain times of the month and turn it to your advantage.
Imagine if we could plan our work calendar around this. If we knew it would make such an impact on our ability to communicate and perform at our best, we could keep a low profile during the less beneficial stages of our cycles. Unfortunately for most of us, that’s not how life works! But it’s certainly worth examining the concept when it comes to your finances.
During perimenopause and the menopause, oestrogen levels are at their lowest; certainly not as high as they were during your fertile periods. Some women experience brain fog and forgetfulness when going through perimenopause. There’s also been some research to suggest that long term, as oestrogen levels drop, women are more susceptible to dementia.
I’m not saying this to freak you out, because there’s no direct causality, rather a tendency towards it. Some of my GP colleagues have noted it anecdotally, though they are stories, rather than hard research. However, it’s worth thinking about how a lack of oestrogen can affect brain fog — and HRT can help with that.
If You Prefer To Watch
It’s interesting how hormone levels can change and impact your behaviour, so it stands to reason that it will also affect how you manage your money. Because how we do money is how we do everything.
Bring some conscious awareness to your monthly cycles and use it as your superpower. A book I can recommend reading is Period Power, by Maisie Hill. Maisie explores how our periods can be a real source of strength, and the book provides a fresh perspective on how our periods can be managed. The author has also written a book on the perimenopause, too; I recommend you check them both out.
So, that’s my take on hormones and how they can affect your finances. I would love to know what you think about this, so please feel free to comment your thoughts below.
Bye for now,