I’m often asked how financial planning for the LGBTQ is different from planning for any other person or family, especially now that we have marriage equality. Here’s one example: members of the LGBTQ community, generally speaking, are at higher risk of facing a number of health concerns, compared to the U.S. population as a whole. This is an important factor to consider when planning for retirement and the costs of medical and long-term care in old age.
One excellent source of information we have available on this topic is the National LGBT Health Education Center at The Fenway Institute, a division of Fenway Health based in Boston, MA.
Research shows that LGBTQ people experience[i]:
- Higher rates of attempted suicide and homelessness
- Lower rates of wellness screenings
- A greater likelihood of being overweight
- A higher prevalence of substance abuse
- And greater isolation and lack of services in old age
These trends have tremendous implications for the medical community, but it also impacts decisions in a solid retirement plan for LGBTQ individuals and families.
We take into consideration:
- Where and with whom you might be living with in retirement
- Trusted contacts that serve as a back-up if you can’t be reached
- Sources of income/assets available for medical costs and long-term care
- The overall average lifespan of a lesbian couple (women live longer!)
- Naming beneficiaries, which may include children from another relationship, friends who are like family or other dependents.
Working with an advisor who has extensive experience in working with the LGBTQ community will increase the odds that we address as many facets of planning as possible. At the very least, it will help ensure that you will have someone on your professional team that knows your language and will treat you with respect.
[i] For more information, visit https://fenwayhealth.org/the-fenway-institute/education/the-national-lgbt-health-education-center/.
(Please note that this information is provided by me, Karen Melo Ticas, CFP®, strictly as general advice based solely on my personal education and years of experience in the financial services industry, unless otherwise noted. When making decisions, consider working with a professional that is well informed about your individual circumstances.)