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The following are some of the very real challenges—and the wonderful possibilities-- that LGBTQ+ people face in their financial lives. Knowing the facts, and creating a solid and truly personalized plan can make all the difference in the world.

1. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community face numerous financial hurdles:

An Experian survey found that 62% of LGBTQ+ respondents said their gender identity or sexual orientation caused them to experience financial challenges:

  • Gay men and lesbian women reported earning less on average than their heterosexual counterparts.
  • LGBTQ+ couples often experience increased costs for housing, education, having children and more.
  • David Vincent, chief program officer at SAGE, an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in New York, reported that nearly half of LGBTQ+ older people fear they will outlive the money they saved for retirement, compared with just a quarter of non-LGBTQ+ older people.

2. LGBTQ+ people have unique challenges around where they live and where they spend their money:

  • LGBTQ+ people often seek to live in inclusive and affirming areas where they won’t feel isolated or unsafe. These are usually urban and high-cost areas.  
  • LGBTQ+ people are more likely than heterosexuals to consider themselves spenders.
  • More LGBTQ+ people do not have children so they may have more disposable income. 
  • Therefore, there is more of a need to review cash flow and create budgets. 

3. LGBTQ+ people are less likely to feel confident in their investment knowledge and their financial life:

  • According to a study conducted by Head Solutions Group on behalf of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, LGBTQ Millennials have less confidence in their ability to make good financial decisions and build a secure financial future than heterosexuals.
  • According a survey conducted by the national polling firm Morning Consult, more than half of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning people feel anxious about their personal finances, compared to 41% of heterosexuals.
  • According to the above study, 42% of LGBTQ individuals are depressed because of money compared to 31% of heterosexuals.

4. Marriage/Family/Children:

There are major financial issues to be considered around marriage, partnerships, family and children. For LGBTQ+ people, these can become even more complicated:

  • Should we get married? Even though legalizing same-sex marriage made everything much better, LGBTQ+ couples may still have additional issues. Some LGBTQ+ people still don't get married due to issues of coming out to family or at work, so they really need to do estate planning to make sure their partner (and potentially children) are taken care of as desired.  According to a Gallup poll, same sex couples are less likely to be married, which means that in many cases, those couples are losing out on a huge number of legal and financial benefits. In addition, sometimes LGBTQ+ people are disconnected from their family of origin due to coming out.
  • How do we handle our finances as a couple? Same sex couples may choose to keep their finances separate, which can have numerous implications around budgeting, estate planning and the quality of the couples’ emotional connection.
  • Do we have children or not? According to a Family Equality poll, 45%-53% of LGBTQ+ people between 18-35 are planning to become parents (compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ+ people).  Currently, approximately 16% of LGBTQ+ people are married or are living with a same-sex partner and about 16% of LGBTQ+ couples have children. With a growing interest in assisted reproductive technology, and with adoption becoming more difficult in some states for LGBTQ+ people, options can become much more limited. And surrogacy could be a very expensive endeavor ($100K-$200K for gestational surrogacy).
  • Are we in a safe and inclusive community for LGBTQ+ families? Will we need to move? Which school systems are inclusive and LGBTQ+ sensitive? Which are not?

5. LGBTQ+ people have unique challenges around healthcare:

The Affordable Care Act has really helped more LGBTQ+ people obtain health insurance, however, there are still some issues for LGBTQ+ folks:

  • Gender-affirming surgeries can cost approximately $100,000 and continuing care, including hormone therapy, can cost between $25,000 to $75,000.
  • Not all insurance covers the cost.

6. Who will be there to take care of me?:

LGBTQ+ people may be less likely to have someone to care for them in their later years, hence they are more likely to need long-term care insurance. They might also have issues getting a life insurance policy (with a long term care rider) if they are HIV+, especially now during COVID times.


Now is the time!

If you are LGBTQ+, it’s important to choose a financial advisor who truly understands the inner and outer challenges of being LGBTQ+. As a married gay dad, I understand these issues. You need an advisor who is allied with a team ready to give you legal and financial advice tailored for your life, your goals, your relationships, your family and your future.

I discussed several of these issues in this article.

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