Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling a year ago allowing same sex couples to marry in all states, the concerns that same sex couples face financially mirror the concerns facing heterosexual couples, according to Prudential Financial and advisors who serve this community.
According to “The 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience,” which was released Thursday by Prudential, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are “more worried that broad economic forces like market volatility or lingering low interest rates will hinder their ability to achieve lifetime financial security than LGBT-specific rights issues.”
“My clients are not coming to me with problems from the court decision; they are looking at this as a great opportunity, says Betsy Billard, a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise Financial. "They can now receive Social Security benefits as a couple and taxes are simplified. They had to jump through hoops for estate planning in the past. Now they no longer have to.
“In addition, the economy as a whole benefited from the weddings and setting of up new households,” she added.
Members of the LGBT community share the same concerns as everyone else, says Prudential, which “is a shift from Prudential’s 2012 survey, when basic rights issues were top of mind. Those surveyed say the right to marry has given them the ability to file joint tax returns, pay for health benefits with pre-tax earnings, list same-sex partners on health insurance, and ensure that a loved one’s interests are protected in the event of death.”
“Having the fundamental right to marry has begun to simplify financial lives within the LGBT community,” says Kent Sluyter, CEO of Individual Life Insurance and Prudential Advisors.
Ellen Krider, a financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management, a global wealth management firm, acknowledges there has been some "unwinding" that needed be done in the past year.
“For one couple I have, the older person had adopted the much younger partner to make provisions for health decisions and benefits. Now they can marry, so we undid the adoption,” she says.
“There are also more older same sex couples marrying now who have substantial assets, so we are making sure the assets are divided the way the couple wants,” Krider added. “But it has been amazing. I have one couple where the partners are 92 and 80 who have been together 40 years and they got married recently.”
“Married couples have a lot of protections that co-habitating couples do not,” says Joshua Charles, a member of Pride Planners, a network of advisors who serve the LGBT community, and an ambassador for the CFP Board of Standards, which he says has helped lead the way on LGBT planning issues. He is an advisor with Financial 360 in Rockville, Md.