On the heels of a global pandemic and facing a looming recession, most Americans have a heightened interest in safeguarding their financial plan for what’s to come. Unfortunately, black and brown communities, women, lower-income individuals, and members of the LGBTQ+ community experience numerous societal inequities that make building a strong financial plan more challenging.
At Bestow, we’re building life insurance technology to increase financial security for everyone, which requires understanding the unique financial concerns of underrepresented populations. For Pride Month, and with insights gathered from the Bestow Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG), we surveyed more than 500 people who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community to understand their financial challenges and the opportunities for financial companies to serve this population better.
Our findings underscore the importance of eliminating discrimination and encouraging equal access. LGBTQ+ individuals don’t feel supported or represented in the financial community and look to their friends and family for financial support and advice. Additionally, LGBTQ+ folks are more likely to face unique medical and family planning costs and, as a result, higher debt.
“The financial services industry needs to prioritize developing products and experiences that serve the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Jeremy Bill, Chief Insurance Officer at Bestow. “As someone with decades of experience in the life insurance industry, I’ve witnessed how institutional barriers, the regulatory landscape, and a lack of representation can compound into a lack of access for many communities. Personally, this topic is also significant to me as my wife leads an organization that works with the LGBTQ+ community, and we’ve seen the challenges faced by members of this community. By building more inclusive products, experiences, and sales practices, and understanding insights into this population’s concerns and goals, the financial services industry can expand the market we serve and contribute to financial inclusion and security for everyone.”
Our aim is for this data to equip the financial services industry to better serve, educate and build financial freedom in the LGBTQ+ community. Read on to learn more about LGBTQ finances.
Negative experiences and lack of LGBTQ+ representation are critical barriers to financial planning.
More than 1/3 (35%) have experienced discrimination or microaggressions by a financial services institution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. So it’s no surprise that 36% of respondents prefer a financial advisor identifying as LGBTQ+.
LGBTQ+ respondents look to their family and self-directed sources for financial support and advice:
- The top two sources for financial advice were family (58%) and online sources (35%).
- Only 20% of respondents listed a financial advisor as their top 3 choices for financial advice.
The LGBTQ+ community shares many of the same financial goals and concerns as heterosexual and cisgender folks but experiences greater headwinds.
In the next 10 years, the LGBTQ+ community’s top financial goals are to:
- Buy a house (32%)
- Pay off medical or consumer debt (31%)
- Set up passive income streams (25%)
Their top three financial challenges include:
- Saving for Retirement (42%)
- Building an emergency fund (35%)
- Saving enough to buy a home (30%)
The average savings (including retirement and traditional bank accounts) reported was about $68,000, with the average debt reported as $44,000.
Nearly half (46%) of LGBTQ respondents reported receiving unfair treatment at some point in their careers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — including being passed over for a job and denied a promotion or raise — in a survey from the UCLA Williams Institute. This is double the wealth-building challenge for women and non-binary people in relationships, who may already experience lower pay than their male counterparts – putting their household doubly behind the pay gap.
The cost of healthcare shadows the LGBTQ+ community’s financial mindset.
The majority of LGBTQ+ respondents (76%) report feeling concerned about medical costs.
- One primary concern is mental health, with 57% of respondents noting mental healthcare as a financial concern.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that LGBTQ+ people used mental health services at 2.5 times higher rates than heterosexual and cisgender individuals. Additional research has found that LGBTQ+ individuals are at elevated risk for some mental health and behavioral health conditions. Studies have found that they are two and a half times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
When it comes to physical health, the average LGBTQ+ budget must budget for costly family-planning services.
- 25% of respondents with a partner are concerned about their personal finance situation when it comes to the cost of family planning, including fertility treatments, IVF, surrogacy, or sperm donation.
The average cost per IVF cycle, including medications for egg donors and surrogates, is approximately $20,000. To secure an egg donor is, on average, $10,000 – $20,000 in compensation and fees. While 85% of respondents have health insurance, many plans don’t offer financial assistance to cover surrogates, and many don’t cover egg donors. In some cases, same-sex couples must show proof of multiple failed rounds of fertility treatments to qualify for insurance coverage.
Regardless of whether they have dependents, most LGBTQ+ respondents prioritize end-of-life financial planning products.
The majority of LGBTQ+ respondents (63%) have some kind of end-of-life financial product like life insurance, a will, or long-term care insurance.
Nearly 60%of LGBTQ+ Millennials surveyed reported having life insurance, with 52% having coverage through work.
Young LGBTQ+ homeowners value life insurance.
- Nearly 80% of LGBTQ+ homeowners under 30 years old had life insurance versus about 40% of LGBTQ+ homeowners over 30
Of those without life insurance, 42% plan to purchase a policy once they buy a home, form a partnership or get married, or start a family.
Bestow commissioned a third-party company to conduct an online survey of 526 individuals aged 18-56 in the United States who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community between May 5-6, 2022.
For this study, we define generations Generation Z as ages 18-25 and Millennials as ages 26-40.
Bestow is a leading life insurance technology company. As both a direct-to-consumer destination and an infrastructure provider, Bestow powers instant life insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes, across any channel. In a world full of unknowns, Bestow is on a mission to increase financial security for everyone by creating the best possible products and experiences that serve future generations.