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.    

The LGBT Community is financially stable, and concerned about the future. More financially stable and less concerned than the general U.S. population.

Lesbians are on par financially with gay men and enjoy higher individual median income than women in the general population. Straight women in similar employment to straight men earn on average about 90 percent of the men’s wage, until their mid thirties when the difference grows to about 75 percent. Lesbians earn more than general population women and gay men on average earn less than general population men. Educated same sex couples do earn more on average than their straight peers, yet disproportionally higher levels of LGBT poverty dilute the average.

Though earning power and wealth of gay men is usually the focus of reporting, lesbians also have financial power. Even so, though the community has strong confidence in their financial futures, gay men are more confident than lesbians.

Individual median income for gay men is $49,000 vs. $44,000 for lesbians, the gap being smaller than that in the general population. Lesbian household median income is higher than gay men, $63,000 vs. $62,000, likely because more lesbian households are dual income. Median LGBT household income is $61,000 vs. $50,000 for the U.S. average. Median income in LGBT homes with children is $71,000.

Though this study is focused financially it also provides some interesting insights into the makeup of the LGBT community. Respondents to the survey were found to be 67 percent White, 12 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Black and the balance being Asian, Native American and others. Age wise, Boomers and Gen Xs equally make up 82 percent while Gen Ys comprise 18 percent.

Prudential found that overall the LGBT community is firmly in control of their financial lives. Our attitudes toward saving, debt reduction, investing and real estate are generally more moderate than the general population and as a group the LGBT community falls solidly in the middle class. We, like our straight brethren, are concerned about being able to retire with enough money to last til death do we part and we, unlike our straight brethren have more confidence in the future. Perhaps our increased level of future confidence is a benefit of our higher educations.

We are upbeat about our finances with 22 percent of respondents feel they are doing well, 47 percent are on time with bills and 31 percent feel they are doing poorly. Again, that annoying level of poverty particularly in younger LGBT dilutes.

Gays are generally thought to be better off financially than the general population and this report supports that belief. However, retirement remains a top challenge for the LGBT community. Over three quarters of us are already planning and saving for our golden rainbow years. Like the general population, Boomers are having the most difficult time as wages are stagnant and they face employment discrimination in what should be their prime earning years. Interestingly, large numbers of HIV positive gay men forced into early retirement reduce the LGBT group in net worth.

Large national issues weigh less and less on us as we prepare financially for retirement. Social Security Survivor Benefits, defined benefit plan survivor benefits and tax treatment of same sex couples are coming more in line for us. Many, however, have yet to take advantage of recent changes in law to protect their loved ones financially in the event of their own passing.

 

Next: How we have changed from 2012-2013 to 2015-2016


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