It’s easy to get swept off your feet by that special someone – perhaps especially on Valentine’s Day, when you’re surprised by thoughtful gifts from the heart such as a homemade dinner or your favorite flowers.
But if you’re coupling up for the long haul, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals know that it’s important to have your feet on the ground regarding your dreams, goals and priorities. LGBTQ+ couples need to be on the same page with financial planning.
Financial planning strategies can be complex for LGBTQ+ couples; to begin, where you live matters. Although there has been progress with equality on a national level, more work is needed at the state level. For example, not all states have robust anti-discrimination laws, which are important for access to healthcare, earnings opportunities and retirement savings at a minimum – all of which are critical for financial planning.
CFP® professionals are up to date on these challenges and can help LGBTQ+ couples with strategies for their specific situations. CFP Board provides resources to help LGBTQ+ people with financial plans in their best interests as well. Here are a few strategies that CFP® professionals can help you consider while confidently focusing on your future together.
Exploring estate planning. Estate planning is so important for LGBTQ+ couples, particularly if considerable assets are involved, such as multiple retirement accounts or real estate. It is complex and takes time. One of the first steps to take in the estate planning process is an initial needs evaluation. A key component of the evaluation should be an estate analysis, which an in-depth review of your current arrangements. You will likely want to adjust these arrangements as a couple.
Thinking about your wishes. As difficult as this is to think about, it’s important for LGBTQ+ couples to consider situations when articulating medical wishes might not be possible, such as hospitalization scenarios. Take the time together to decide how you would like your medical wishes carried out. You will need living wills, health care proxies and medical powers of attorney.
Reimagining retirement. LGBTQ+ couples’ ability to save and plan for retirement can be affected by career opportunities and unexpected changes in employment. The good news is that there are strategies for these situations. Couples can work together to fund their retirement in ways they might not have considered. For example, for married couples, a spouse with eligible compensation can consider making a tax-deductible IRA contribution on behalf of their nonworking spouse.
Tying the knot…or not? Marriage might have long-term financial benefits for LGBTQ+ couples, including social security, healthcare coverage and federal protection of assets such as real estate. If you decide not to marry, you should consider strategies that seek to protect your assets and your partner. A domestic partnership agreement that incorporates financial planning strategies might be helpful.
Starting families. For many LGBTQ+ couples, conversations about starting families involve considerations such as domestic or international adoption programs, as well as the programs’ histories of working with LGBTQ+ couples, costs, and wait times. Couples might have concerns about unconscious biases that birth parents working with adoption programs might have. LGBTQ+ couples considering fertility treatments may to need to address cost concerns and access to appropriate healthcare.
To express your love and commitment, consider a different type of gift from the heart. Consider beginning financial planning as a couple. Contact a CFP® professional today to share your story and begin discussions about financial planning strategies for you both.
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.