How to Find an LGBTQ-Friendly Advisor or Financial Advisor

Personal finance can seem particularly daunting for members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have faced exclusion and discrimination from family, financial institutions and government.

According to an analysis by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, gay men earn about 69 cents on the dollar for their straight peers and lesbians earn about 89 cents on the dollar for their straight peers. And those pay and wealth gaps are greater for queer and trans people of color.

Nonetheless, financial advisors and planners can help LGBTQ+ people navigate the difficult financial issues they face.

Find an advisor who takes your needs seriously

For Marci Bair, a certified financial planner based in San Diego, financial planning begins with “creating a safe space for each client to share their life story with you.”

Bair wants to hear clients talk about what it was like growing up, how a client’s family talked about money, who the client loves and who they support financially. These details are especially important for LGBTQ+ people who may be estranged or unrecognized by their family of origin.

“If you don’t have your financial and legal house in order, your family’s desires can come in and make decisions that exclude the people you love and leave behind” in the event of an emergency, illness or death, says PSC Cait Howerton.

Finding an advisor who is both culturally and financially competent can help you identify and achieve your financial and personal goals, whether it’s paying off student loans and debts or financing your transition. .

Related: Regardless of income bracket, LGBTQ investors are less confident about retirement than their non-LGBTQ peers

Know that there is financial advice for every level of income

It’s a common misconception that you have to be rich to need a financial planner. In fact, financial counseling and planning can be a tool to help LGBTQ+ families and communities achieve their goals, protect them from the challenges of trans and queer personality and family safety, and (potentially) bridge the gaps. of wealth.

While there are far more LGBTQ+ people than LGBTQ+ financial planners, financial advisors and community-allied planners are immersing themselves in the cultures and demographics they seek to serve. They can help you get started small by paying off debt, funding a medical procedure, and investing for your retirement.

Financial advisors help you with everything from learning how to manage money and creating financial goals to accessing tax credits, public assistance agencies and managing the debt. This is particularly important given that members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to live in poverty, experience homelessness, and face discrimination and violence, including from family members. origin.

In the long run, a certified financial planner can help you create a comprehensive financial plan. CFPs hold rigorous financial certifications and are fiduciaries, which means they are legally bound to act in the best interests of their clients.

Lily: California bans state-funded travel to Florida and 4 other states due to anti-LGBTQ laws

Identify an LGBTQ+ financial ally

To find a financial advisor or financial planner near you, you can start by searching your local Chamber of Commerce or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to see if there is a financial advisor near you.

However, if you haven’t dated yet or aren’t comfortable with a planner you might meet at the grocery store, online or remote financial planning can help connect you to a member. of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally.

You can use the Find an Advisor tool on the XY Planning Network website to search by LGBTQIA. Or you can search Find a CFP Professional by specialties such as “LGBTQIA Individuals/Couples”.

According to Dasarte Yarnway, co-founder of the Onyx Network, a platform that supports underrepresented financial advisors, finding a financial planner who understands specific financial needs and situations can greatly improve your financial outlook.

“From a financial perspective, alone you go fast, together you can go far,” Yarnway says of partnering with a financial advisor.

Also see: Is the real estate market in recession? Here’s what economists say

Make sure your wishes are honored

Once you’ve found a financial advisor or planner, the following financial, medical and legal tools can help ensure your wishes are carried out in the event of an emergency or death.

  • Advance directives designate someone to act on your behalf in medical decisions if you are no longer able to communicate, such as during end-of-life care.

  • A power of attorney allows someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so on matters ranging from health care and financial management to placing transactions on behalf of a company.

  • A will details matters such as guardianship of children, funeral arrangements, and division of property.

  • A trust ensures that your assets go to the intended people (with tax advantages).

These are especially important for LGBTQ+ individuals and families who are not legally married, says Chicago-based CFP candidate Kiersten Peshek.

“If clients are not interested in getting married, which is perfectly acceptable in relationships, we need to think about estate planning: whether they inherit the house, whether they have the ability to make decisions about health and that they make sure the law and family members don’t get in the way,” Peshek says.

Legally formalizing your financial, health and other wishes is especially important for children of LGBTQ+ people who may not be biologically related to their parents.

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Alieza Durana writes for NerdWallet. Email: adurana@nerdwallet.com.

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