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People in the LGBTQ+ community experience unique economic disparities that cisgender heterosexuals and heteronormative families do not experience. According to a 2019 Williams Institute analysis of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, 22% of LGBTQ+ adults in the United States live in poverty, compared to about 16% of their heterosexual cisgender peers.
LGBTQ+ financial professionals are uniquely positioned to share their knowledge and relate it to their individual experiences of queerness because of these disparities and the political climate affecting their communities.
We spoke to some financial influencers in the LGBTQ+ community for tips on finding affordable housing, starting a business, buildinggenerational wealthand find family planning resources.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Learn more about each financial professional below by following the questions.
Are there specific resources available for people in the LGBTQ+ community who are on an entrepreneurial path or interested in starting a business?
bitches get rich: "Yes! Here's the thing: Queer people are so good at taking care of themselves. If there are two coffee shops on the same street and one of them hangs a rainbow flag in the window, guess which one gets my business? Entrepreneurs queer starts with a built-in base of extremely loyal potential customers, supporters, mentors and investors.
“Many cities offer classes for budding entrepreneurs through their public libraries and state universities. Take a class, find a mentor, develop your business ideas like everyone else - and leverage your queer community to support you.
Travers Johnson(Queerency): “When I first became interested in starting a business, it was difficult to find models of queer possibilities. I didn't see a lot of LGBTQ+ representation in business media, and I didn't know where to start to find support to help me as a queer founder. Here are some of the organizations and resources I've encountered along my entrepreneurial journey:
"The Balance Sheet" is my weekly newsletter highlighting the latest LGBTQ+ business news.
Lesbians Who Tech, StartOut and Out in Tech are large organizations that specialize in training and supporting founders and coaches of LGBTQ+ startups.
Pride Fund, Gaingels, Backstage Capital and LGBT+ VC are great resources for funding and venture capital.
NGLCC, the National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce and their affiliated chapters do a great job certifying and supporting LGBTQ owned businesses at the national, state and local levels.
The Queer Business Alliance is a non-profit organization that equips LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with the resources to start, grow and thrive in business.
Out Leadership and Out & Equal do a great job of empowering LGBTQ+ corporate leaders.
LGBTQ+ Business Week (November 1-7) is an annual seven-day celebration of queer-owned small businesses, with the goal of raising awareness and empowering LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs."
What is your advice for LGBTQ+ people looking for affordable and inclusive places to move and/or retire? Any practical advice for balancing security with the high cost of living?
debt free guys: “Unfortunately, most 'Best Places for LGBTQ+ People to Live' lists are the most expensive and A-list cities in the world, and are often heavily weighted in the quality of nightlife. When it comes to combining accessibility with LGBTQ+ friendliness, LGBTQ+ people must be as open-minded about cities and towns as we want people to be about us.
“We suggest looking at the Human Rights Campaign City Equality Index or Movement Advancement Project Data on LGBTQ+ inclusion and protection in local policies and combining them with general affordability metrics including, but not limited to, cost of living, affordability housing and income. Even giving equal weight to all metrics, most will find that cities of refuge for many LGBTQ+ people will be priced out.
“On the 'Queer Money®' podcast, we're running a bonus episode every Thursday that showcases each state's most accessible LGBTQ+ city and its runner-up. The findings so far have been interesting, but with a little open mind, we think there are more options for LGBTQ+ people than we tend to believe.”
K. Kenneth Davis(The Trans Capitalist): “I feel this is a class issue, as the majority of the queer community, especially queer people of color, do not have the access or means to move and/or retire.
“In this recession and with high mortgage rates, I advise people to move only if their lives are in danger. Unfortunately, the most inclusive spaces are in expensive states and cities. For example, California and New York are very inclusive, but rents and mortgages in those states are through the roof. Still, you have affordable housing in states like Georgia and Texas, but your safety is at risk. It's a catch-22. Don't beat yourself up, but set a schedule for saving the money you'll need to move so you're not just relying on your savings.
daniela flores(I Like to Dabble): “My wife and I moved from Missouri to Washington, and although there was a considerable increase in housing prices, everything else turned out to be the same or a little less. For example, our housing expenses increased by 100%, but our utilities decreased by 50% (and no state income tax). When we were researching areas to move to, we looked at states that were LGBTQ+ friendly and foundthe Movement Advancement Projectuseful.
"We also planned about a year into the actual move and spent a lot of time researching how we were going to balance the difference in the cost of living. Our side hustles helped us save for that, and when we got here, things evened out. However, it didn't. it will be the same for everyone. I would advise doing some deep research on not just housing costs but the general cost of living and trying to find people in those areas to talk to about what to expect."
What is your advice for people in the LGBTQ+ community looking to build generational wealth?
Carmen Perez(Earn real pennies): “Build aemergency fund. Having a soft cushion to land on in case a medical emergency arises, you get laid off, or you're taking longer than expected to land that next gig is crucial. An emergency fund can not only alleviate financial stress, but also help you fight unnecessary debt, which increases your ability to build wealth.
"Start investing early and often, adding assets that will appreciate and add to your net worth. You don't need a lot of money to start investing. You should prioritize and do it consistently as soon as possible. (and money) you have on the market, the better.”
debt free guys:“Much of the wealth of LGBTQ+ people ends up in the hands of our non-LGBTQ+ family members and, often, family members who have not fully supported us. The first step is we need to start talking about it, and then we need to start taking the steps to do it. Marrying our partners is one of those steps. Whether we marry our partner or not, whether we are partners or not, all LGBTQ+ people must make a will and estate."
Davis:“To build generational wealth, you must focus on financial literacy! It would be better to learn financial rules or principles to manage your money, save and pay off debt properly, or else you will have an impossible and challenging road to generational wealth. When you take the time to learn financial literacy in the areas where you want to grow your wealth, it leaves room for fewer mistakes or mismanagement of money.”
Johnson:“Much of generational wealth is aboutreal estate planning. Where or who do you want your money and possessions to go when you are no longer here? But for LGBTQ+ people, there are unique hurdles to tackle in the estate planning process. Legal inequalities, nontraditional family structures, and other factors can make an already daunting process especially difficult.
“I recommend partnering with an attorney who specializes in LGBTQ+ estate planning. They can help you create documents such as a will, trust, power of attorney and other legal documents that will help ensure that the wealth you acquired while you are alive is passed on transparently to your successors and beneficiaries.”
What are some of the financial hurdles LGBTQ+ couples may face as they plan to increase their families? How would you advise preparing for these obstacles?
Bitches get rich: "Having children is very expensive in the US, especially if you are adopting, using a surrogate or undergoing IVF, as many LGBTQ+ couples do. Furthermore, many states require these couples to take extra legal precautions to ensure the safety of their family units (imagine having to "adopt" your own child!).
“The first thing you should do is build a network of people to turn to for advice and help. Find groups and subreddits where you can hide and start gaining insights. When the time is right, invest in good legal help from a family attorney who understands the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Family law is complicated and subject to change, and we still don't have the rights that all cishet couples are automatically given, but you can't mess around with your legal rights over your own children.
Pérez:“Healthcare costs, childcare costs, and delays in saving for retirement or buying a home are some of the hurdles couples often face. My wife and I had to deal with the cost of fertility and the commitment of eventually buying another home. We sold our first house and moved back into an apartment to try and save a little money to prepare for our fertility journey which came with its own set of hurdles as insurance wouldn't cover many things as we are a couple of the same sex .
“Understanding what areas you can save money in right now in terms of your household budget, and finding an employer that offers inclusive health benefits can help bring costs down. Creating a separate savings account for the family journey can also be helpful because it allows you to prioritize it.”
More about influencers
K. Kenneth Davis:The Trans Capitalist
Davis, aka "The Trans Capitalist," is a proud Forbes List transgender entrepreneur. As a financial literacy activist and sought-after financial coach, Kenneth is committed to educating and empowering the LGBTQ+ community and is strongly focused on serving transgender people of color to help end systemic poverty and economic discrimination in these communities.
Daniela Flores:I like to play
Flores is the founder and creator of an award-winning money, career and side resource platform. They help neurodivergent and LGBTQ+ people get what they want, work how they want, and build the lives they deserve through their community of more than 200,000 people.
Carmen Perez: Founder ofVery
Perez is the creator of Make Real Cents, an online money platform dedicated to teaching individuals about personal finance. She is also the founder and CEO of Much, a social money management platform for individuals who need a little extra help managing their finances. Perez created the platform and app based on lessons she learned from paying off $57,000 in debt over 2.9 years and subsequently building a six-figure investment portfolio.
David and John Auten-Schneider:debt free guys
David and John Auten-Schneider are the Debt Free Guys and hosts of the Queer Money® podcast. They help queer people (and allies) live fabulously, not fabulously broke. His work has appeared in Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC, Good Morning America and more. They've worked with some of the top LGBTQ+ nonprofits, from The Trevor Project to Out & Equal.
Travers Johnson is the founder and CEO of Queerency, an LGBTQ+ business media startup. He spills the tea on the queer economy every week in his newsletter “The Balance Sheet” and is the creator of LGBTQ+ Business Week, an annual seven-day celebration of queer-owned businesses (November 1-7).
Piggy and Kitten:bitches get rich
Piggy and Kitty are the reclusive geniuses behind the popular blog and podcast, Bitches Get Riches. They are optimistic, financially solvent, killjoy feminist 30-somethings who are teaching young people how to become competent adults in their finances, careers, and personal lives.