LGBT Community Is Financially Sound—Yet Concerned
Our 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience research report explores a range of changes in the financial lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans since last year’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating states must permit same-sex marriages and our groundbreaking 2012 survey. The survey found that LGBT Americans largely share the same concerns about their financial futures as the general population—a shift from Prudential’s first survey just four years ago, when basic rights issues were top of mind.
Watch Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that brought marriage equality to America, discuss progress for the LGBT community, while acknowledging barriers to true financial security remain.
Key Findings of the 2016/2017 survey:
Changing LGBT Households
The marriage rate has more than tripled since 2012, having increased to 30 percent from just 8 percent in 2012’s survey. Marriage equality has begun to simplify finances for many, giving same-sex couples the ability to file joint tax returns, list partners on health insurance and pay health benefits with pre-tax earnings, and ensure a spouse’s interests are protected in the event of death.
Retirement and Finances
Financial needs—including saving for retirement—for the LGBT community are the same as for the general population, said 46 percent of those surveyed. But 45 percent said they need to follow a different path to meet those same needs and urged financial advisors to consider unique needs of LGBT clients.
- While respondents have increased financial freedom, many are concerned about their general financial situations. For example, 41 percent said they are struggling to make ends meet or unable to keep up with expenses, a 10 percent increase from 2012.
- Respondents overwhelmingly said they need more financial knowledge to reach their goals and more than half said they’d likely work with a financial advisor whose company supported equal rights for employees.
- Respondents said unemployment, inflation and unpaid debt were the worst threats to financial security. Wage inequality, job insecurity and pension survivor benefits, and other rights, remain concerns, but carry less weight than in 2012.
- Income inequality remains. Lesbian women earn less than heterosexual women, reporting an average annual salary of $45,606 vs. $51,461. Gay men reported earning an average of $56,936, with heterosexual men earning $83,469.
- Despite agreement on the importance of saving for the future, more LGBT respondents consider themselves “spenders,”— 48 percent compared to 32 percent of the general population.
LGBT Family and Marriage
- Forty-nine percent of participants were single, 7% were in a legally recognized relationship, and 34% lived together with no legal protections. 15% were parents, of which 27% reported being single, similar to the general population.
- The number of LGBT parents continues to grow and is expected to increase significantly starting with Generation Y. Already 23% of lesbians and 7% of gay men are fiscally responsible for a child under age 18. Among Gen Y study participants, 11% already have children and an additional 49% plan to have children in the future.
For more information on Prudential's 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience, contact Josh Stoffregen.
*The LGBT Financial Experience 2016-2017 was conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey in Boston, Mass., which surveyed a diverse group of 1,376 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans aged 25-70 from urban, suburban and rural communities through the 50 states in April and May, 2016. Another 503 were surveyed from the general population. No income or other criteria were required to participate; respondents included the wealthy, the middle class and those struggling to pay bills.
The Prudential Insurance Company of America Newark, N.J.