New priorities for gay couples threaten the traditional pink pound
Written by Philip Howell-Williams on May 19, 2015.
The ‘pink pound’ is a phrase which has long been used to describe the strong purchasing power of the gay community. Traditionally single and childless, homosexuals (especially men) have enjoyed a relatively high level of disposable income compared to their married-with-kids peers and have consequently been able to indulge themselves with new gadgets, luxury holidays, designer clothes, expensive cars and even cosmetics. A gay market research company called Out Now Consulting has produced data indicating that earnings from homosexuals in the UK topped £81bn in 2007. That’s a lot of cash to splash.
However the changing LGBT landscape in the UK and other countries, where gay marriage has been legalised and adoption made possible for gay and lesbian couples, means that the power of the pink pound might be diminishing.
According to the BBC, in the three months following legalisation of same sex marriage in March 2014 over 1,400 same-sex marriages took place. That’s not to mention the 120,000 or so people living in civil partnerships. It is safe to say that we can no longer assume that members of the gay community will remain childless and free of financial responsibility. Indeed, figures from the Office for National Statistics, say that there are now 12,000 same-sex parents in the UK, up from 8,000 in 2011.
All parents know the huge impact having children has on subsequent spending habits, and this is just as true for gay parents as for straight ones. Suddenly priorities change and instead of splashing out on several holidays a year, that nippy little sports car and designer clothes, money has to be redirected towards the accumulation of expenses which family life entails. That’s the boring stuff such as childcare, education, a less sexy car to ferry children about in and kids’ clothes designed for practicality which have to be renewed ad infinitum. The cost of all this can come as a surprise.
And it’s not just the everyday expenses that need to be taken into consideration. Having a family brings with it responsibility and the need to provide financial security. Any sensible parent will need to delve into the worlds of life insurance and critical illness cover to protect their family’s lifestyle if they were to die unexpectedly or become too ill to work. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune but it is an essential part of being a parent.
And, there is also the costly business of an education to consider. It is never too early to set up an education fund for children and regular savings will give both parent and child choices when it comes to choosing a school, college or university. The earlier this is set up, the more it will benefit from compound interest and the less will need to be shelled out in the long run. And when it comes to kids, a long term view is essential. They are, like dogs, for life, not just for Christmas and have a life-changing effect on one’s pocket! Most parents would say they were well worth the sacrifice