[This episode is part of the LGBTQ Series of the Midlife Money Gal Podcast]
Welcome to the first episode with the new name, new focus and new format! My goal with this podcast is to better serve the LGBTQ community. With each episode I’ll share personal wealth-building and financial planning insights to help midlife LGBTQ professionals take charge of their wealth.
I’ve also added a new segment to the show: The “Midlife Mindset Moment”. In this segment each week I’ll share a personal story, tip, or resource that I believe would be valuable for you. It could be a health and wellness tip, a productivity tip, a book recommendation, or an insightful story! I’m really excited about adding this segment because it brings out the coach in me :).
This week’s Midlife Mindset Moment is about Elton John and his mother. I was really intrigued by his recent interview on the CBS Sunday Morning Show where he talks about his struggles growing up and how his mother never accepted him for who he is.
The Equality Economy: The LGBTQ Investor Behavior Study
To kick off the first LGBTQ Midlife Money episode, I was thrilled to come across this recent study developed by TRowe Price Asset Management about LGBTQ Investors and the LGBTQ impact on the U.S. economy.
The Equality Economy refers to LGBTQ people and our allies, or those who support us and expect that we should have equal rights across the board.
The reality is, we are still striving for the Equality Economy. Just recently the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the civil rights act protects LGBTQ workers from being fired over their sexual orientation or gender identity. That seems kind of crazy to me because although we can now legally marry, we can still be fired in 30 States for being gay!
Regardless, we are making great strides and the LGBTQ Community has a tremendous impact on the U.S. Economy.
In this podcast episode, I share some of the major findings of the study including:
- The estimated buying power of the LGBTQ Community is $971 Billion (which is massive) and we represent 4% of the population (these are the folks who openly identify as LGBTQ so the % is probably higher)
- LGBTQ investors are self-reliant – we have grown up with challenges (cultural attitudes, lack of family support, workplace discrimination) and have learned that we have to take care of ourselves by becoming financially independent
- LGBTQ couples tend to act more financially independent from their partner. More than half (59%) of those with assets above $500,000 act financially independent from their spouse or partner
- LGBTQ investors are open and receptive to financial advice and the majority of those with $500,000 or more to invest work with a financial advisor (was glad to hear this). It was also clear that LGBTQ investors want to work with a financial planner/advisor who understands their unique needs.
- LGBTQ investors feel underserved by the financial services industry. Only 16% completely trust asset management firms and the majority aren’t sure how supportive these firms are of the community.
- LGBTQ investors feel it is important to do business with firms that have LGBTQ-supportive policies and agree that it’s also important for firms to politically stand up for LGBTQ rights.
You can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast app or sign up for my email list below. I’m excited to continue in this journey of uncovering the challenges and opportunities we face as LGBTQ professionals in midlife. My goal is to help you have a more successful financial life so that you can live more freely and fully!
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Welcome to the LGBTQ midlife money podcast. I am thrilled that you are here. I am thrilled to be here. This is really my first show with
the new name and the new focus and I also have a little bit of a new format. I wanted to mix it up a little bit and try to make it more entertaining because I know that sometimes financial discussions and financial topics can get pretty boring and dry. So what I'm doing is I'm incorporating a midlife mindset moment into each show and I'll explain here in just a moment what that will entail and now it's time for the midlife mindset moment.
this is a new segment of the show where I want to take time out to share a new insight with you. Or maybe it's a tip, a reflection for the week, something that I have learned or that I have experienced or that I've read that I want to impart to you and share with you so that you can have the value of that information. And so it could be a tip on productivity, it could be something about health and wellness, it could be an observation, a quote, a passage, something that I have recently listened to or read or come across, could be a book recommendation. It could be a music recommendation, it could be anything really that I think would add value to your life that I would like to share with you. And I'm wrapping it all up as the midlife mindset moment. So most of these ideas will be things that can impact the way you think and your mindset.
So this week I watched the CBS Sunday morning show, which is a show that I love, but I don't get to watch it very often. And Elton John was a guest on the show and he talked about his life and told his story. And something that he said really struck me and it stuck with me this week. And so I wanted to share that with you. So Elton John was talking about his tumultuous relationship with his mother. Apparently they did not get along. And I mean the bottom line really was that she never truly accepted him for who he was, which was a gay man who was a very famous singer, musician and entertainer and Elton John is now 29 years sober, which is just incredible. And I have so much respect for people who struggle with addiction and go through recovery. And then on top of that have the ability to stay sober that many years.
It's just an unbelievable accomplishment in my mind. But something that he said he learned through the recovery process was that you can't change people. You can only change your attitude toward them. And I just love that, you know, we spend so much time wishing that the people in our lives that we're close to could change this or that about themselves, about who they are. And the truth is that we can't, we can't change people. All we can do is change the way we view them and change our attitudes toward the people in our lives. And so I thought that would just be something really cool to impart to you and to help you remember. He did say that later in life, he and his mother got together over lunch or dinner or something like that, and they had not really reconciled their differences, but he had just grown to love her despite the fact that she never accepted him and that she wasn't nice to him his entire life. And he told her he loved her. And her response to him was, well, I love you but I don't like you very much. And that is just, gosh, that's really hard to grasp. But anyway, wow, I just have tremendous respect for that man. And he's accomplished so much. So that is your midlife mindset moment. The day. Now we're going to move on to the financial inside for this week's episode.
Okay. This week is really the first episode where I have changed the name and the theme of this podcast. So we are now the LGBTQ midlife money podcast and I'm very excited to focus on my community, which is the LGBTQ community. And providing education and information to my community is so important to me and it happens to be the community that I serve in my daily financial planning practice. So for me it just made more sense and based on the feedback I have received so far with this podcast, this is the direction that I need to be going. And I listened to that and I just kind of feel like it's a calling for me to be serving the LGBTQ community. So with that, I thought I would kick this first LGBTQ midlife money episode off with a recent study and survey that came out from T Rowe price about LGBTQ investors.
So that's what we're going to dig into. I'm thrilled to share with you some insights on a study about the wealth and influence of our community on today's economy. And the name of the study is called the equality economy and it was done by T Rowe price, which is an asset management company in the financial services industry. This was actually a survey that was done by a gentleman named Paul Zeti and he is chair of pride at T Rowe price and he is also a the head of product and offer management for the company. And the company put this together and did a survey back in October of 2016 of 1300 adults who were over the age of 21 and who identified as LGBTQ. So there were some various parameters and things and all age groups were included in terms of millennials, gen Xers and baby boomers. But they also looked at LGBTQ investors who were more of fluent and by a fluid.
That means that the individual had $500,000 or more in investible assets. And you tend to find that when people are in midlife and gen X baby boomer age group moving toward retirement or nearing retirement. So I was really fascinated by that. I wanted to really understand the attitudes of our community about these, these various themes that the study looks at. So it's called the equality economy. And I will say that, you know, in our community we are still striving for the equality economy and that's the reality. The Supreme court actually just heard arguments about whether the civil rights act protects LGBTQ workers from being fired over their sexual orientation or gender identity. And that seems kind of crazy to me because I mean even now it is legal for us to get married. Yet in 30 States you can be fired for being gay. And many of us who are in midlife have likely experienced some kind of discrimination on the job.
I know I have personally experienced that and been through that. Even if that means you had to hide your true identity or you weren't able to really come out and be open and authentic about who you are. That is a form of discrimination. So it's still going on. There is still an ongoing striving for equality in our society, but we never give up and we always keep fighting and keep pushing for that equality. So I love that Paul, the person who put this study together calls it the equality economy. I think it's really a great way to put it. The way that he defines the equality economy is the ever increasing pool of LGBTQ individuals and allies who value diversity and expect equality for LGBTQ friends and family. So it's not just those of us who are LGBTQ, it is also those people, our friends and our peers and our colleagues and our families who are supportive of our community.
And that is the equality economy. I really love that. I think it's a great way to frame what's happening. The reality is we have, as a community, almost a trillion dollars of spending power in the U S economy alone. $917 billion. That is the estimated buying power of the LGBTQ community and we represent 4.1% of the population. That's about 10 million people who openly identify as LGBTQ. That doesn't include people who are not open about their sexual orientation, so 10 million people who have almost a trillion dollars of buying power in our economy. That's pretty major. We have a lot of wealth in our community and we have, we, we make a big impact on the economy. Another compelling insight from this study that is not surprising to me is that 80% of LGBTQ investors prefer to work with firms that support the LGBTQ community and that can probably be said for any company out there that we prefer that the companies we are buying from and doing business with support our community.
That just makes sense. Another interesting insight that came from this study is that our community is expected to grow even more as changing attitudes and changing laws allow for LGBTQ individuals to live more authentic lives. And as an example, they say 20% of millennials currently identify themselves as LGBTQ compared to only 7% of baby boomers, and that just makes sense. The baby boomer generation and my generation, which is gen X, we were much more fearful of coming out and growing up that way and living your life that way. As you get older you tend to want to stay that way. It's still scary to actually be completely open and out everywhere you go and with even with family and other people that you spend time with and it's sad and it's not right, but that is still the case. The, the attitudes of the older generations are such that it's just hard when you've lived your entire life being more closeted than some of our younger counterparts.
The millennials. Now with this study, three major themes emerged and I'm going to tell you each one of the themes and then go into a little bit more detail. So the three major themes were as LGBTQ investors, we are more self-reliant. We are number two open to guidance. Even though we're self-reliant, we're still open to other opinions and guidance. And number three, we feel underserved by the financial services community. Alright, so let's, let's go through these three major themes that emerged in the equality economy. Study number one was self-reliance. As I mentioned for baby boomers and gen Xers, there was really no guarantee that same sex couples or even individuals would receive the support of family that we would receive any spousal benefits. We could only get married several years ago. We also have worried and question would our immediate family members take care of us as we age, as we grow older or if we become ill.
and so growing up with this kind of mentality, as a result, the gen X and baby boomer demographic learned about managing their own financial lives in order to become as self-reliant as possible in many cases without the support of family and government policy or even employee benefits, and even a fear of being fired because you're gay. And as a result of all this, we've become very self-reliant people when it comes to our financial lives. And we've been very diligent for the most part in saving for our financial goals and our retirement and putting protections in place for our loved ones that were in longterm relationships with, but maybe not married. We've taken all these steps to shore up our financial lives to create our own financial security and have become very self-reliant in the process. Now remember, one of the other themes that I'm going to go into is that we're still open to guidance and ideas and help, and so I think that's a really important piece of this.
Another part of being self reliant LGBTQ investors is the number one investment objective. Really across the board of the demographic generations, millennials, gen X, boomers, is to earn more money for retirement. 77% of us said that's the number one investment objective, and I'll just go down the line here. Number two was to increase my net worth at 63% number three to assure that I am always fiscally self-reliant. I don't have to depend on anyone else to take care of me and support me financially. I'm independent. That's 57% number four was to preserve my wealth and assets. Number five, to assure that my partner or spouse has enough money. Number six, to preserve my active lifestyle. And number seven, I found to be quite interesting to retire early. Only 23% of LGBTQ investors have early retirement as a goal. And I just think that is really awesome and I think it's also a function of being self-reliant.
We will do whatever we have to do to make sure that we have secure financial lives throughout our entire life. And I love that because lots and lots of people do want to retire early and may have the means to do so. But I'm one of these big believers in working as long as she can and contributing to society. There are so many benefits to how that keeps you active and engaged in your life and connected to people and feeling valuable and feeling like you have worth in the world. So I'm a big advocate of, of not retiring early, but maybe taking mini retirements or sabbaticals or changing careers or starting your own company, doing some consulting in the areas of your experience and expertise and just stay in at it, staying with it. I love that. So I found that to be interesting that not many of us are interested in retiring early. Now, a byproduct of self-reliance is confidence. So these self-reliant behaviors that we have as LGBTQ individuals create a greater sense of confidence about our financial wellbeing. 77% of us feel positive to very about our finances and that percentage jumps to 95% confidence for a fluent individuals in the LGBTQ community and a fluent remember was defined by you have $500,000 or more in investible assets. More than half of gay men and nearly half of lesbians say that they are very confident they will have the financial resources to retire
similarly, 54% of men and 45% of women responded that they are satisfied with their current financial situation. 20% in the study expressed anxiety about issues that could affect their financial health and these issues include the current political climate which we find very stressful a sudden drop in the market, which is understandable, high taxes or unemployment. Another byproduct of being self reliant is that we are independent, but at the same time we stick together and we stay together. So although recent changes in federal law guarantee our marriage equality, it doesn't mean that we won't stop being self-reliant when it comes to our money. There is still workplace discrimination, shifting, cultural attitudes, politics, all the things that I mentioned before that create financial stress for the LGBT community. In fact, about one in four participants in this study said they fear discrimination at work because of their sexual orientation. That does not surprise me.
these challenges are then further complicated as LGBTQ people navigate marriage and family dynamics, 55% of the fluent participants in the survey are currently married and nearly half have been in a coupled relationship for more than 20 years. We are actually more likely to stay together than our heterosexual counterparts. That's pretty amazing. As longterm couples. Many of these couples have these legacy work arounds in place to financially protect their family and unraveling these protections may not be a priority for same sex couples even they marry, but this is a really important piece to consider. I know when Kay and I got married about three years ago, we're having to redo all of those documents. Our estate planning documents are powers of attorney, healthcare proxies. We have to redo all of this now that we're married and it's a pain and it's a lot to go through, but it's really, really important to make sure that these documents are correct and updated.
So what do I mean by independent together? That's the byproduct of being self-reliant. Well, what this survey found is that many LGBTQ couples act financially independent even though they may be coupled or married. 68% of gay men in 52% of lesbian women responded that they keep some level of financial independence from their partner. More than half, 59% of those who have assets above the $500,000 level act financially independent from their spouse, at least partially. And as a financial planner, I tend to find this to be the case more often than not. All right. The number two big theme that the equality economy study found was that LGBTQ investors are receptive to advice and guidance. Most participants, 77% feel positive about their finances. That's great. And of those who feel positive, 81% work with a financial advisor and nearly half, 47% use social media to inform financial decisions. Now that scares me a little bit, but perhaps what that means is we use social media to get referrals and figure out who are trusted people in our community that we can go to and that we can work with.
Hopefully you're not taking investment advice from social media overall. This really indicates that our community is open to financial guidance and we see value in working with an advisor and I think that's, that's really, really great. All right, so the number three big theme is that LGBTQ investors feel underserved by the financial services community. Only 16% of the LGBTQ community completely trust asset management or financial services and that's less than the overall investor population. That makes sense, especially if you are unsure if the financial services firm you are working with is supportive of who you are and they genuinely understand your unique situation and your unique needs as an LGBTQ person, 87% of LGBTQ people are just simply not sure how supportive these firms are of the community and that potential lack of presence or lack of transparency about their support translates into a lack of trust for LGBTQ investors.
So again, this stuff is not really surprising to me and I think it's more these findings were, were pulled out to emphasize how important it is for people like me as a financial professional to make sure that I'm showing my support for my community, which obviously is very easy for me to do. I'm part of the community. Another few things that were uncovered by the survey that I just want to touch on. 63% of respondents believe their financial needs are different from straight individuals or families. 94% of all respondents. That's almost everyone said it's important that the asset management or financial services firm developed some expertise in LGBTQ specific needs. I think that's really critical and I see big differences over my 20 plus years of experience doing this in working with straight people and LGBTQ people. It, there are definitely differences because of the way
way that we've experienced life. And on that note, I will wrap up this episode about the equality economy. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope that you found it insightful. Thank you so much for listening and I will be back with you again next week.
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