January is a time of reflection. I am reading many social media stories and blog posts reminding us of the need to be mindful about our financial futures and encouraging us to make resolutions.
When I see these stories, I’m reminded to encourage others to have conversations about our LGBTQ+ elders. I’m uncomfortably aware that our LGBTQ+ elders are often overlooked. I want to share a few ways we as financial professionals can help our LGBTQ+ elders as thoughtful advocates. If you’re a financial professional who would like to join me in this commitment to helping LGBTQ+ people with financial planning, you can begin preparing today by developing your discovery questions.
In my experience, spending time preparing the right questions to address our elders’ unique needs – and truly hearing their responses – can make all the difference in their world. Here are a few questions that we can ask and build on, understanding that each LGBTQ+ elder’s experience is different.
- Have LGBTQ+ elders experienced workplace discrimination that has resulted in a lack of career advancement, compromised earnings, and earnings gaps? How has their retirement savings been affected?
- What are their family dynamics like? Do they have children or younger family members who are close to them? Who are their trusted family members? Have their families accepted their spouse or partner? How has this affected estate and long-term care planning?
- What specific discussions have LGBTQ+ elders had regarding caretakers? Have they identified family members or friends who might take on these roles? Creating a formal plan is necessary so they know who will help take care of things in succession.
- Are they worried about being fully accepted in long-term care facilities? Are they concerned about the ability to bring their whole selves to these facilities? Who can be their advocates if they need help?
By carefully considering and asking the right questions, we can begin to understand how we can help our elders with their immediate and broader financial concerns. We have to become their advocates in situations where they may feel especially vulnerable because of past experiences. Just having someone listen without judgement and asking important questions when fully discussing their financial plan is crucial.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference for LGBTQ+ elders, please stay informed with resources from leading industry advocates such as SAGE or HRC. The CFP® Board, and the Financial Planning Association® are developing more materials to help as well.
Remember we are mirrors for each other and see each other fully when we talk from the heart.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, The Wealth Consulting Group, and Family Wealth Management Group are separate entities from LPL Financial.