Equal pride- live a fabulous LGBTQ+ life AND be proud of your finances
4 minute read
A mighty minority
With close to $1.4 Trillion spending power, the LGBTQ+ community is the fastest growing minority segment in the US – on par with Hispanic American, African American, and AAPI segments (2022 Pride Co). Up to 7.1% of the overall US population and 21% of Gen Z and 10.5% of Millennials consider themselves LGBTQ+, an increase of 5.6% since 2020. LGBTQ+ household income is approximately double the national average (nearly $130,000 for gay couples), with 91% of adults aged 22+ employed full time and 93% having attended some college (2021 U.S. Census Bureau). Your economic participation is strong and hard to ignore.
Wave your flag, but proceed with caution
With these strengths comes some weaknesses, though. As an LGBTQ+ worker, you earn on average only earn about 90 cents for every $1 earned by a typical American worker (2022 HRC). Almost 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ Americans report feeling daily stress about their finances and nearly half report experiencing discrimination from financial services. The top three financial worries for LGBTQ+ respondents were: keeping up with the cost of living (67%), unplanned financial emergencies (60%), and making the right investment choices (41%). And when it comes to debt, 37% LGBTQ+ respondents said they had student loan debt, while 56% said they had credit card debt, both above the averages of the U.S. population (2022 LGTBQ+ Money Study). Another thing to watch out for – lifestyle creep. When you deploy more resources towards your standard of living and make luxuries (wants) necessities (needs), you may be succumbing to a live for today or FOMO attitude that hurts your ability to fund your future. Getting clear on your spending habits, creating a budget, and setting financial goals are important first steps to getting the fabulous life you deserve. And when it comes to your retirement, the sooner you consider your costs, and what it will take to fund it, the better.
WATCH Your Money Map: retirement concerns for the LGBTQ+ community
Old and Bold
Statistically, as an LGBTQ+, you are twice as likely to be single and live alone and four times less likely to have children than the general population. This lack of a family safety net can make your care options more complex and expensive as you age. Additionally, many LGTBQ+ report being behind in retirement savings, so it’s no surprise that outliving income is one of the top concerns (2022 SAGE). Social Security is often the first income source for most people in retirement and many LGTBQ+ may be surprised to find out they may be able to receive spousal benefits, pre DOMA. Husbands, David and John Auten-Schneider, and founders of The Debt Free Guys® blog and Queer Money® podcast, recently invited Aaron Tax, Director of Federal Government Relations at SAGE, to discuss this topic and the New York Times has also reported on the steps you can take to see if you are eligible. But remember, Social Security may not be enough to fund the retirement of your dreams, so building your personal savings is a critical step in creating a secure retirement. David and John address the role annuities play in a more self-reliant retirement and how annuities create protected income streams, i.e., guaranteed income, that can last throughout retirement. Covering your basics (needs) can give you peace of mind and less worry so you can have more fun with your wants. The Alliance for Lifetime Income is also a great resource and offers free tools and guides to help you get a sense of where you are and help you get to where you are going.
Tips for a fabulous and abundant life
- Track your spending. Once you know your outflow, you can create a workable budget on your inflow.
- Get control of your debt. David and John support using the debt lasso to corral your high-interest debt into a low-interest one so you can pay down the principal balance more quickly — and for less money.
- Get really clear on your hopes and dreams to build a plan. As Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying, it takes as much time to wish as it does to plan!
- Create a supportive community. Money can be a taboo topic but talking about it with trusted friends can be a great way to be accountable and learn from each other.
- When looking for a financial professional (FP), these organizations can help you find financial professionals who understand your unique needs and circumstances:
- The Certified Financial Planning Board (CFP) lists 1,600+ who self-identify as LGTBQ+ FPs and of these, 600+ also focus on retirement and retirement income planning.
- Financial Planning Association, which has a filter for non-traditional households.
- The National LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the local Pink Pages, and your local LGBTQ+ chamber of commerce.
- Avantex (formerly GuideVine) has a filter for LGBTQ-friendly advisors.
- Questions you can ask an FP to be sure they are aligned with your unique needs:
- Have you helped any LGBTQ+ individuals or couples navigate any unique challenges my community faces and, if so, how?
- Can you walk me through specific financial challenges that LGBTQ+ individuals face?
- Can you tell me about laws in this state that can impact productive financial planning for LGBTQ+ people?
- Does your company have any collateral that shows representation of me and my community?
David and John Auten-Schneider, husbands living fabulously helping other queer people live fabulously, are founders of The Debt Free Guys® blog and Queer Money® podcast, the #1 gay money blog and podcast for the LGBTQ community. They help queer people (and allies) live fabulously not fabulously broke by helping them 1) pay off credit card debt, 2) become part- or full-time entrepreneurs, and 3) save and invest for retirement. If outwardly your life looks amazing but inside you feel fabulously broke because of debt, financial, career or personal struggles, you’re in the right place with them. They invite you to stop by regularly to live debt free, make more money, and live abundantly!