Data and Research

LGBTQ Americans Struggle With Saving for Retirement

Seven in 10 LGBTQ Americans say they are behind on saving for retirement.

By Rebecca Moore editors@plansponsor.com | July 28, 2017

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) middle-income Americans are more likely to feel less financially secure and struggle more with personal financial issues than other Americans, according to research by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

When it comes to retirement, 70% of LGBTQ Americans say they are behind on saving for retirement, compared to 63% of the general population. Those identifying themselves as LGBTQ were more likely to agree that "spending money to enjoy myself now is more important than saving for the future" than other Americans, 36% to 27%, respectively.

Fifty-four percent of LGBTQs reported they wish their employer provided more education about retirement savings, and 40% said they don’t understand how to save and invest for their situation.

As for general finances, 27% of LGBTQ respondents have at least $5,000 in savings set aside for emergencies, and 44% said an unexpected expense of $5,000 would create at least some, if not significant, discomfort. Both those levels were higher than reported by the general population.

Managing finances is also more of a challenge for the LGBTQ population, with 59% saying they don't always have enough money every month, compared to 48% of the general population, the study found. Half of LGBTQ workers with lower incomes (less than $45,000) found it difficult to manage their household expenses. Both LGBTQ (54%) and the general population (53%) attributed personal financial issues to high levels of debt.

LGBTQ Americans also expressed concerns about having different financial planning needs than the average household, more difficulty finding financial support and greater interest in financial education. More than half (53%) said they are unsure where to go for financial advice.

"The financial services industry needs to continue to get closer to its customers to better understand their individual needs, as MassMutual's study of LGBTQ middle Americans plainly shows," says Wonhong Lee, head of diverse markets with MassMutual. "There are many different types of households and families in America. Both our challenge, and our opportunity, is to better understand how we can help all types of households and families prioritize managing their money, enhance their financial security and reach their financial goals."

The research polled 500 respondents who identified themselves as LGBTQ as part of a broader study of working Americans ages 25 to 65 who earned annual incomes between $35,000 and $150,000.

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