Improving Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness for LGBTQ Workers | EBA

Prepare for security financial future is a daunting task for any employee. But for members of LGBTQ communitynew research shows that they often feel like their climb is a bit steeper and they are falling behind financially.

The Nationwide Retirement Institute recently surveyed 1,000 LGBTQ adults in the United States about their financial needs and challenges, and found that nearly two-thirds live paycheck to paycheck; that number climbs to 72% for Black LGBTQ members. The community largely reports feeling less prepared than their peers outside the LGBTQ community when it comes to retirement (13%), invest (8%) and estate planning (12%).

“I don’t know if they’re really less knowledgeable — my sense is they identify as less knowledgeable,” says Rona Guymon, senior vice president of annuity distribution at Nationwide Financial. “But this community faces unique challenges that many of their peers don’t.”

More than a third of survey respondents believe their careers have been negatively affected because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, a fact Guymon knows all too well.

Read more: Do your “inclusive” benefits exclude transgender employees?

“As a female executive and a member of the LGBTQ community, I’ve had times in my career where opportunities for advancement have been inhibited by one or the other,” she says. “There are a lot of similarities when you compare how women are treated in the workplace and how the LGBTQ world is also treated.”

Specifically, Guymon points out that the LGBTQ community tends to live in urban settings, where there are more protections built into city infrastructure and housing, which tend to be more expensive. Family planning is another overwhelming financial responsibility, which will always require planning and investment.

“Heterosexual couples also struggle with family planning and infertility, but that’s not the entire population,” she said. “Every member of the LGBTQ community, if they want to have children, it has to be very intentional and very expensive. And that impacts their debt loads and how they manage their paychecks.

This is where financial support and competent advice can make the difference between just getting by and creating a secure future. Nationwide’s survey found that seven out of 10 respondents would prefer to work with a community-aligned financial advisor, either as a member or as an ally. (Currently, only 37% believe financial advisors are ready for their nuanced challenges.) The sticking point, Guymon says, is understanding.

“This community wants support and yearns for financial literacy, and I don’t think you have to be a member of the LGBTQ community to better serve this community – but you have to be a member or an ally, and really show that you’ J ‘ve done the work to understand their needs,” she says. “Show that you’ve done your research to get to know your customer. Show that you’re ready to help them move past the paycheck-to-paycheck life. .

Read more: Is your workplace LGBTQ inclusive? You may want to ask your employees

Nationwide, for its part, provides a suite of resources to help industry advisors feel better prepared to serve this community, via a white paper detailing the needs, an educational seminar that can be provided to other industry professionals finance or even shared at the client level. , and some important steps towards the alliance so that the community feels seen.

“Sponsoring a Pride Parade or participating in a Pride Parade just shows that you’re ready to be part of the community,” says Guymon. “If you are a CFP, you can register your practice that you are trained in and support the LBGTQ financial planning community. If someone is looking for a new advisor, this is a great way to signal your support and knowledge. »

Guymon also encourages employers to self-audit their benefits package to determine if inclusivity is built in. Make sure the benefits extend to unmarried couples, explore unconscious bias training within the organization, and make sure these efforts reach seniors. level, up to entry level, she said.

“Nationwide is very proud to score 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which focuses on benefits to this community at the corporate level,” Guymon said. “If employers are wondering how they rank, get a copy of this request, and it will help you determine if you have the right LGBTQ benefits within your organization. »