An Experian survey recently revealed that 62 percent of LGBTQ+ individuals have experienced financial challenges due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.1 Another third of survey respondents stated that they had some bad financial habits they'd like to change. Here we discuss some specific challenges that members of the LGBTQ+ community may face and how financial wellness can be achieved despite these obstacles.
Financial Challenges Facing the LGBTQ+ Community
Some of the broad challenges facing individuals who don't identify as straight or cisgender include wage discrimination, career stagnation, and housing discrimination. Some states make it difficult for individuals to change their driver's license gender marker, while others have yet to ban health care discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A few other obstacles that the LGBTQ+ community face include:
- The cost of living in major cities and LGBTQ+ friendly states tends to be higher than the cost of living in more rural or conservative areas. This means that LGBTQ+ individuals may pay higher housing costs or face housing discrimination, particularly if they're non-white.
- LGBTQ+ individuals may also face health care inequalities. Access to gender-affirming care can be limited, and many members of the LGBTQ+ community have reported feeling harassed or discriminated against by their health care providers. This means that LGBTQ+ individuals may be less likely to have regular checkups and more likely to develop chronic or expensive-to-treat conditions.
- When it comes to family planning, LGBTQ+ couples are far more likely to pursue surrogacy, fertility treatments, or adoption—all of which can be expensive. And not all states allow LGBTQ+ couples to foster children.
Many strides toward equality have been made over the last decade—most notably, the ability of same-sex couples to marry and enjoy the tax and financial benefits associated with marriage—but there is still more progress to be made.
How LGBTQ+ Individuals Can Pursue Financial Wellness
There are a few things that LGBTQ+ individuals can do to improve their financial standing.
- Become familiar with the types of questions that lenders can—and can't—ask when they're evaluating your creditworthiness. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself when seeking a loan or line of credit. If you're being asked illegal questions or suspect you've been treated differently because of your gender identity or sexual orientation, make a report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Get a copy of your most recent credit report to ensure all the information is accurate. If you've changed your name or gender marker, it's possible your credit report isn't as up-to-date as it should be. Removing inaccurate information or disputing derogatory marks can improve your credit score.
- Don't forget estate planning. Having your wishes in writing can help your surviving loved ones avoid even more difficult decisions (or conflicts with other family members) in their time of grief. This doesn't need to be expensive or complicated; investigate pro-bono legal resources in your area to see whether you can have a will drafted cheaply (or even for free).
By taking these steps, you may be able to make the financial playing field more equal—both for yourself and for those who come after you.
1Important Financial Issues Facing the LGBTQ Community, Experian,
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
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