JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Discuss this article with fellow FPA Members through FPA's Knowledge Circles.
FEEDBACK: If you have any questions or comments on this article, please contact the editor HERE.
It is prudent to remember that everybody faces their own hardships. Being an LGBTQ+ person has long been a social taboo, and that has only recently been pivoting in a positive direction. In fact, same-sex marriage has only been legal nationwide in the United States for just over six years, and there is still much ground to cover.
Even just a couple of decades ago, most companies wouldn’t be caught dead showing any support of non-heterosexual peoples or events. Now almost every company is proud to advertise in Pride parades. We have come a long way. And yet, I know many people in the community who roll their eyes at these companies. They are all about the fanfare when it’s the right time to show support, but you don’t hear more than a peep of support out of them the rest of the year.
We Still Have a Long Way to Go
Members of the LGBTQ+ community still face many struggles, and some of these are ones that even allies wouldn’t think of at first.
Some companies have yet to allow same-sex spouses to continue receiving the company’s pension plan after the retired employee passes away. This can create a higher need for other forms of support like life insurance to help aid the remaining partner.
Some people still can’t stand their family members being in a same-sex relationship. This can become a big problem if one partner ends up sick or passes away. Disgruntled family members may try to override the wishes of the remaining partner, even if they have their partner’s best interests or desires at heart. It is vital for planners to make sure their same-sex clients have properly established wills and powers of attorney to prevent any conflicts with in-laws or even their own family.
The finance industry in general has a reputation for being very suit-and-tie, and also very conservative. This can make LGBTQ+ people feel like they might be walking into a hostile environment when reaching out to a financial planner. Creating an inviting and safe space for everyone at all times will help signal that you really do have your clients’ best interests in mind.
David Treece goes into more detail of these and other issues the LGBTQ+ community faces in his article, “4 Ways Financial Planning Is Different for LGBTQ+ People” at ThinkAdvisor. As a financial planner, you can better serve your clients and your community by keeping some of these issues in mind every month—not just during Pride Month.
Become an Advocate—Not Just an Ally—for the LGBTQ Community All Year Long
by Laura J. LaTourette, CFP®