The June 26, 2015, Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was a landmark victory for same-sex couples in the US. That said, many financial challenges continue to confront the LGBTQ community. Some of these challenges are common to the general population, but others are unique to LGBTQs. Even without the added complexities of a marriage relationship, LGBTQ individuals encounter financial difficulties that can be addressed through education and through seeking out the appropriate professional help.
A 2016 survey by Prudential Financial, Inc. found similar financial concerns among the LGBTQ community and the general population, including the potential for job loss and the impact of inflation. However, issues having to do with LGBTQ rights, such as:
- Employment protections.
- Lack of job opportunities.
- Lingering concern over the lack of survivor benefits from Social Security and pensions.
These challenges create apprehension for LGBTQ individuals and couples. Consumer debt is also a greater source of worry for the LGBTQ community when compared to the US population in general by a full 6%, more than any other commonly held financial concern.
According to AARP, poverty rates are higher among elder lesbian and gay couples. In fact, the rate for lesbian couples is twice that of the general American population. Continuing legal barriers and employment discrimination, as well as past obstacles regarding Social Security and Medicare, are among the leading causes.
For transgender individuals, there is an undeniable financial aspect to their decision to transition or not. Surgery, therapy, medications and even the legal costs of changing one’s gender identity all combine to make such choices financially taxing for individuals, regardless of their income level.
Another financially charged issue related to sexual orientation discrimination involves housing, homeownership, and senior living arrangements. Surveys and field tests clearly show that housing, rent incentives, and amenities are less available for LGBTQ applicants while pricing and fees are more. Additionally, while HUD has had protections in place since 2012 for LGBTQ individuals in federally subsidized housing, there are still some hurdles to be removed from the process of purchasing a home as a same-sex couple.
Debt Reduction Services Solutions
Debt Reduction Services, Inc. does not presume to solve all these unique challenges. However, we do provide our counseling and education services to all populations in need.
- To address concerns over consumer debt, we offer free credit counseling along with debt consolidation programs, effectively lowering interest rates with your creditors and setting up reasonable repayment terms to have you living debt free in five years or less. Debt Reduction Services also has programs to set up affordable monthly payments with medical debts, collection accounts, old utilities and phone bills, and more!
- While advocates and others work to eliminate employment barriers around the country, it is critical for the LGBTQ community to build healthy savings habits in case of emergencies or job loss. As a nation, only 40% of Americans save regularly. We must do better than that! Anyone facing job insecurity needs to prioritize monthly savings of 10% to 15% or more of after-tax income. Save first, pay bills second, purchase groceries last. Check out our webinar on Simplified Savings Strategies, its corresponding handouts and even a quiz to submit for a certificate of achievement.
- Understanding your Social Security benefits should be a priority for all Americans. Given the major changes in marriage law in the past few years, it is particularly critical for same sex spouses to know what to expect from Social Security at they approach retirement age.
Take advantage of our free webinars to brush up on or polish off your financial skills and knowledge. Topics include savings, household budgeting, establishing a financial vision, shopping and spending strategies, spending personalities, as well as relationships and money.
- Human Rights Campaign: Housing for LGBTQ People: What You Need to Know about Property Ownership and Discrimination
- NerdWallet.com: LGBTQ Housing Discrimination: How to Spot It and What to Do
- Reuters: Same-sex couples face the music: First comes love, then taxes
- SAGE Blog: Financial Literacy: Tip and Tricks for LGBTQ Elders
- Talk before You Walk: Considerations for LGBTQ Older Couples before Getting Married (2016). Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). Retrieved from https://issuu.com/lgbtagingcenter/docs/talk_before_you_walk_sage_finance_t?e=2766558/35077938
About the Author
Author and Accredited Financial Counselor®, Todd R. Christensen, MIM, MA, is the Education Manager for Debt Reduction Services, a nationwide nonprofit financial wellness and credit counseling agency. Todd develops educational programs and produces materials that teach personal financial skills and responsibilities to all ages. He’s also the author of the book Everyday Money for Everyday People.