Why we must change from spenders to savers

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Sunday, 16 April 2017 13:41
  • Written by John Schneider & David Auten
If you’re queer, there’s a good chance you’re a spender.

Per Prudential’s 2016-2017 LGBT Financial Experience research report, more than 48 percent of the LGBTQ community identify as “spenders,” compared to 32 percent of the general population.
Consider these the following:

• The purchasing power of the queer community is close to $1 trillion

• Same-sex couples on average earn at least $7,200 more than our straight peers

• Only 20 percent of same-sex couples have children

• The cost to raise a child to 18, not including college, is $245,000 Despite our higher incomes, stronger purchasing power, and fewer respon­sibilities, we only have $6,000 more in savings compared to our straight peers and our median household consumer debt is $28,000.

Equality Rights

Many in the queer community are concerned about how the Trump Ad­ministration will act. We don’t yet know the full effects of the new administra­tion. This is why queer spenders need to become queer savers.

A pillar of a strong queer community is financially strong queer individuals. Financial strength gives us both the money and time to continue to fight for equality. We must fund the organizations and causes fighting for equality. We must donate our time and presence to these causes.

We can’t be distracted by student loans or mortgages for the sake of our financial independence and civil rights. The finan­cially stronger we are as individuals, the stronger we are as a community and the better equipped we are to fight for equality.

State-Level Risks

Many state-level laws still have out­dated language and rely on old prece­dence. Many still discriminate against queer people, such as preventing trans people from officially using the gender with which they identify.

Twenty-eight states lack non-discrim­ination employment protections for gays and lesbians. Only 14 of those states include trans protections. While we can legally marry in all 50 states, we can be fired in 28 without recourse for putting pictures of our spouses on our desks.

Because of these risks, we must become savers and adequately fund emergency savings accounts. Traditionally we should save between three to six months’ worth of living expenses in this account. Queer people who live in states with fewer protections should save at least three months’ worth.

Long-Term Care Concerns

Long-term care includes professional help at home with basic needs, retirement villages for more enhanced care, and as­sisted living for physical assistance.

Many facilities don’t offer training on caring for LGBT people. With the aver­age annual cost for a basic nursing home being $80,000, we may lose our autono­my as we lose our health. Consequently, many queer people go back in the closet to avoid discrimination and abuse.

Therefore, we need adequate retirement savings. We need long-term care and life insurance. We need durable power of at­torneys and living wills.

It’s imperative that the queer com­munity not spend all our higher-than- average annual incomes. We must use our disposable incomes to fight for equality and to protect ourselves.