The challenges of aging for the LGBT community
Written by Philip Howell-Williams on February 11, 2015.
The LGBT community faces a set of unique challenges when it comes to aging, in particular with regard to financial security and retirement, and this is clearly a pressing concern for many older lesbians and gays. A new report from SAGE, a non-profit organisation in the US which is dedicated to improving the lives of the LGBT community, reveals that older members of this community- those aged between 45 and 75 - are far more concerned than their straight peers about not having enough money to live on during retirement – 51% compared to 36%. 42% believe that they will run out of money in retirement and 44% fear that they will have to work beyond the age of retirement, these figures compare to 25% and 26% for non-LGBT people.
The fact is, that there there are several reasons why this community are disadvantaged when it comes to finances and many are right to be concerned. Workplace discrimination may have hampered their careers – particularly gay men - in comparison to their straight counterparts and this will in turn have impacted on their ability to save for retirement.
Older members of the LGBT community are more likely to have faced institutional discrimination over the course of their lives which in many cases leaves them mistrusting of financial institutions and more likely to have ‘gone it alone’ in sorting out retirement savings, perhaps unsuccessfully.
As same-sex marriage is legalised in an increasing number of US states and countries, legislation regarding spousal rights struggles to keep up and it is often unclear whether Social Security, state and company pensions and military benefits can be passed from one same-sex partner to another upon death. To add to the complication, these laws vary in the US from state to state.
If you are one of the 42% who believe that you will run out of money in retirement, burying your head in the sand is not the way to go. There are LGBT-friendly financial advisers out there – indeed, I am one – and you should seek one out as soon as possible. It is essential that you are honest about your sexuality so that you can get the right advice for your situation and it is also important that you feel comfortable discussing this with your advisor. Finding a financial advisor that you trust and taking steps now to ascertain your financial goals will help you prepare for a more secure future.
If you need any advice why not drop me a line to see how I can help?