This three part series takes a look at the Prudential LGBT Financial Experience Research Studies of 2013 and 2016. Analyzing demographics, data and expectations derived from the studies this series will deliver a high level look at how LGBT in each of the four primary groups is faring financially and how we have changed in the past three years. Visit SFGN.com/Prudential to read the series.    

In 2012-2013 Prudential did a survey of LBGT persons to determine how the community feels it is doing financially and how it is actually doing, and to compare LGBT financial performance and attitudes with that of the general population. Again in 2015-2016 a similar survey was conducted with results being made public in the weeks to come.

Prudential’s methodology set broad parameters for participation in an effort to generate diverse results from a broad community representation. While looking at the community as a whole, Prudential’s study also looked at how each component of the LGBT community performed.  

Participants in the 2012-2013 survey were aged 25 to 68 and identified themselves as a member of the LGBT community. Interestingly, a full 36 percent of respondents identified as at least somewhat closeted, leaving 64 percent identifying as completely out. Gay men comprised 47 percent, lesbians 45 percent, bisexual 5 percent and transgender 3 percent. Every state and DC are represented and states of residence distributed along strikingly similar lines to the 2010 US Census, allowing results data to be reasonably compared to the general population.

LGBT is a common community grouping yet is inclusive of many whom though sharing common challenges maintain separate perceptions, beliefs and financial directions. Lesbians have more children than gay men while transgender people usually face significant financial discrimination compared to others in the LGBT community.

The survey did not require personal financial information to participate and respondents were rich, middle class and even many struggling to pay their bills.

The Prudential LGBT Financial Experience report included respondents of whom 49 percent were single, 7 percent in legally recognized relationships, 34 percent living together without legal protections, and 15 percent who are parents of which 27 percent are single. These demographics are broadly similar to the general population.

In diversion, financial independence is much more important to same sex couples than it is to the general population. Same sex couples are more likely than the general population to keep separate banking, investing and retirement accounts, create financial plans and work with financial professionals.

We may yet be mired in pre Obergefell times as it remains important to us to protect assets from greedy family members in the event of the passing of a partner. Now we enjoy the benefit of settled marriage law, which includes transfer of assets on death, presuming we took advantage of the new opportunity to be married which along with its benefits brings new challenges.

Our community is more concerned about financial issues closer to home such as LGBT financial rights and Social Security benefits for same sex couples. We are less concerned about national financial issues. Equality wins over economics.

Confidence in the future is moderated by concerns of the present mostly related to equality. Gen Ys living in major metro areas employing financial professionals are the most confident group. Boomers, those living in rural areas and those going it alone financially are less confident in their financial futures.

That differentiation is actually sensible in that Gen Ys still have time to earn and accumulate while Boomers are on the cusp of retiring without the opportunity to earn more in the event of a financial meltdown that once again collects its pound of flesh in the fleecing.

Happily, for Boomers who have planned well, cycles always cycle back and average is always the new normal.

Next week: who we are and our financial performance


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