LGBT Adults Have Better Financial Picture

March 4, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - LGBT investors are more positive regarding their current financial situation than the general public, a Wells Fargo survey found.

Three in five (59%) report they feel financially comfortable, compared to 51% of all U.S. adults. Two-thirds (66%) are confident in their financial future, versus 52% of all U.S. adults.  

In addition, LGBT adults appear to be taking more steps to better save and prepare for retirement. On average, nonretired and retired LGBT adults report higher median net savings than the overall population. More than half (55%) of LGBT nonretirees  report having a detailed retirement savings plan in place, compared to 42% of all adults. These LGBT respondents are more likely to have developed plans with a paid financial adviser (42%), while an additional 22% used web-based tools and calculators to assist in the process.   

However, LGBT survey respondents still have concerns. Many LGBT respondents are concerned about saving enough for retirement (53%), and only 55% are confident they will be able to afford their current lifestyles in retirement. In a list of financial concerns, “saving for retirement” was the top concern for pre-retired LGBT respondents at 38%, followed by health care costs (18%) and paying monthly bills (16%).

LGBT adults with children consistently report more financial challenges, including preparing for retirement, than LGBT adults without children. LGBT adults with children feel less financially comfortable than those without (42% vs. 61%), and reported less confidence in their financial future (40% with children vs. 68% without). LGBT adults with children are also twice as likely to report that high living expenses are limiting their ability to save for the future (51% with children vs. 26% without).   

Despite heightened attention to same-sex marriage and civil unions, confusion remains about transfer rights and benefits for same-sex couples, the survey found. Nearly half (44%) of LGBT respondents did not know that Social Security income and benefits are not transferable to the spouse or partner in a same sex couple. Similarly, fewer than half (41-47%) of LGBT respondents correctly answered that other assets and benefits like real estate (47%), life insurance (44%) and retirement savings (41%) may be transferable depending on the state in which the same-sex couple resides. Only 36% know that Federal taxes on survivor assets or benefits are different for the spouse/partner in a same-sex marriage than in a heterosexual marriage.   

The survey findings are based on an online survey conducted November 9 to December 3, 2012, among adults nationwide (N=1,105) and LGBT adults (N=606). Qualified respondents were non-students, ages 25 to 75, who are the primary or joint financial decision-maker in the household with household investable assets of at least $10,000.

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