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Retirement Planning Looks Different for LGBTQ+ Couples. Here’s Why. Thumbnail

Retirement Planning Looks Different for LGBTQ+ Couples. Here’s Why.

Michael Baum, CFP® RICP®
Vice President & Associate Financial Advisor 

Every couple, regardless of identity, has a distinct story, and couples’ experiences often shape their financial landscapes. For LGBTQ+ couples, their stories include exceptional resilience. 

From fighting for marriage equality to navigating different legal scenarios, these experiences have instilled a sense of resourcefulness and adaptability in LGBTQ+ couples that can be a strength in planning their financial futures. Let’s think about why retirement planning for LGBTQ+ couples looks different and offer advice to help this community succeed. 

Retirement Income Planning Is Vital  

Until recently, legal recognition for same-sex marriages was not universal, making it challenging for LGBTQ+ couples to access some financial benefits. The good news is that, as of 2015, all 50 states in the U.S. legally recognize same-sex marriages, enabling LGBTQ+ couples to access financial opportunities, such as shared Social Security benefits and spousal individual retirement accounts (IRAs).1 

They Lean On Their Chosen Family 

According to the United States Census Bureau, only 15% of same-sex couples have children in their household.2 Because children are often the primary caregivers for aging parents, this presents a unique consideration as LGBTQ+ couples plan for their long-term care in retirement. 

Many LGBTQ+ individuals have built support networks outside their biological families. This has led to a broader definition of “family,” which often includes chosen families or close-knit friend groups. Unlike the traditional focus on biological relatives, the focus for LGBTQ+ couples may be on extended networks, which could play a significant role in their retirement plans. 

They Have Unique Healthcare Needs 

Retirement planning for LGBTQ+ couples also requires a keen focus on healthcare considerations. LGBTQ+ individuals often face health disparities linked to societal stigma and discrimination. However, with the ongoing expansion of LGBTQ+ healthcare rights and an increasing number of providers that are becoming more inclusive and knowledgeable, these gaps are gradually closing. Still, this gap emphasizes the need for thorough long-term health planning for LGBTQ+ couples. 

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They Need A Comprehensive Estate Plan  

Estate planning can differ for LGBTQ+ couples compared with heterosexual couples because of their unique familial and social structures. Additionally, while legal strides have been made regarding marriage equality, not all LGBTQ+ couples choose to marry, nor do they have access to the same marriage rights globally. This may impact the automatic inheritance rights typically provided to a legal spouse. 

Having a comprehensive and articulated estate plan is vital for LGBTQ+ couples to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes, covering their partners, friends, biological family, or chosen family. 

While the retirement planning journey for LGBTQ+ couples may look different, these differences need not be perceived as disadvantages. Instead, they are opportunities to engage with retirement planning from a more comprehensive and inclusive perspective. 

Our team of advisors at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors understands the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ couples when it comes to retirement planning. From navigating complex legal and financial considerations to ensuring your hard-earned savings are protected, we're here to help guide you through our distinctive people-first wealth management experience to fulfill our ultimate goal of providing Absolute Confidence. Unwavering Partnership. For Life. Schedule a complimentary consultation  on our website or call us at (860) 928-2341.    

Authored by Vice President, Associate Financial Advisor, Michael Baum, CFP® RICP®. Securities and advisory services are offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your representative. Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. 697 Pomfret Street, Pomfret Center, CT 06259 and 392-A Merrow Road, Tolland, CT 06084. 860-928-2341. www.whzwealth.com. 

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-allow-same-sex-marriages
  2. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/fifteen-percent-of-same-sex-couples-have-children-in-their-household.html     

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