Column: Managing Money In A LGBT Family

Worry takes a great deal of energy. Can you define worry? After all if you worry about money, employment, love, health or gay drama you might just as well understand what you are really doing. So, what is worry? My definition of worry: worry is interest paid on trouble before it’s due. Here is an interesting conundrum, because regular readers are aware of my abhorrence to paying interest. Thus, I simply don’t worry.

Oh, I have problems like everyone does. Only my problems are usually good ones. I have to decide if I want a beer at home or a gay bar, will I wait for the rain to stop or head out into it, will I get up now or sleep for a while longer; that sort of thing.

One reason that I don’t worry and generally have good problems is that I plan. Some might say I am a bit overly structured, or as my now gone mother regularly put it: “you’re a stick in the mud.” That may be true; others often see us in brighter light. Yet, planning makes it possible to get from here to there with the least effort and greatest efficiency — without worry and with good luck.

Let’s say you want to go on a trip. A good first step is deciding where you want to go. Once a fun gay destination is defined a good next step might be to consult a map to see how you get to the chosen place. Obviously, you could simply get in the car and start off hoping for the best, though if it were a contest I can assure you that I would arrive first. He with the plan has the advantage.

Managing your gay family’s money requires a plan also.

Since you have trimmed spending and increased savings and been able to get out of the house more, perhaps you have found another gay man or lesbian with whom you want to spend more time; perhaps you are even in love and plan to spend the rest of your lives together.

Alert, there is a big time bomb planted with the first LGBT kiss that will explode at the worst possible moment.

That time bomb is money; your money, his/her money or your lack of money or his/her lack of money. Yes it all starts out so beautifully, settles to the mundane and devolves into chaos. The good news is it doesn’t have to.

Perhaps the greatest impediment to a blossoming relationship is money. It is generally the single most fought over issue. The amount is irrelevant — it is the money or lack thereof that provides the fight fodder.

An easy way to give yourself a leg up is to plan the use of your gay family’s money right up front. Even I would not suggest this as a first date conversation, or perhaps the second date either, though the topic can be integrated into the dialogue quickly and easily.

The evening I met my husband we spent hours discussing our future dreams. He dug into my brain wanting to know who I am and now I know he was comparing my dreams to his deciding if we could be compatible. I can tell you after twenty six years that we are as opposite as two can be yet we have a series of mutual commonalities including an understanding of money that has removed it as an underpinning of our relationship.

When it’s time to move in together it’s time to have the managing money in a gay family discussion. Everyone’s discussion is different and the outcome is unimportant to anyone except you. You may be lucky enough to earn equally and have roughly the same assets, or one may earn significantly more or own significantly more assets. It is simply important to mutually agree up front how the new family will be funded.

We agreed on my money, his money and our money. We created three common bank accounts: one for general spending such as utilities, groceries, supplies, and entertainment, one for vacations, and one for the house. Then we decided how to fund each account, and in our case we simply funded them equally. Perhaps if one person earns a great deal more he or she will fund a greater portion of the whole so they might continue to live a lifestyle the other person could not otherwise afford. During our years together each of us has earned more and then less than the other; earnings move with raises, unemployment and new employment.

As gays couple and settle down they must protect their assets. LGBT persons do not have the legal protections of the general population and hostile families have a legal right to swoop in at the very worst time and challenge even legal wills. All gays are well advised to seek the services of a reputable estate advisor early on in their new family as evidenced by the Shane Bitney Crone story. Don’t wait to be a gray gay before doing your estate planning. Nature calls when nature is ready.

Managing money in a gay family is easy. Simply plan the funding and spending. Then if an issue arises the problem is the plan, not the money.


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