How LGBTQ+ Families Can Build Wealth Over a LifetimeJune 15, 2022
For many LGBTQ+ families, thinking beyond convention is essential to a vibrant family life. Whether you’ve found a family in a tight-knit community or in a long-term partnership with adopted children, there are many ways to build a home. Finance for the LGBTQ+ family need be no different. In fact, turning inward to reflect on your family’s unique nature is crucial to aligning your finances with your family values.
Here’s how to build a strong financial foundation for your family for decades to come.
In this blog, you’ll find how to:
- Build wealth to match your goals – not someone else’s
- Take the crucial steps to build wealth on your terms
- Ensure that your values live on with a clean estate plan
Build wealth to match your goals – not someone else’s
There’s a lot of noise out there about what we should do with our money, but much of this financial “wisdom” fails to connect with how we want to live. Instead of starting with cookie-cutter financial advice, we first need to connect with ourselves and then find financial solutions to match. While one person may want to grow a business, another may want a fast track to retirement. One person may be certain about growing a family, while another may choose to live solo.
When we clarify our goals and find financial strategies to match, we are better positioned to grow our wealth and find mental relief in the process.
Take the crucial steps to build wealth on your terms
- Reflect on your goals – Think of your life as a car with many interlocking parts. Financial strategies, like budgets and retirement plans, are tools that keep your car’s parts operating smoothly. You and your neighbor may both have cars, but you’ll have different models that suit your unique lifestyles. If you prefer a two-seat convertible, you wouldn’t use the same tools as your neighbor’s minivan. The same goes for life plans and financial tools. Your neighbor may focus on building a savings plan to fund her travels, while you may be contributing to a college savings plan for your child’s education. The tools may be similar, but each is tailored to specific goals.
- Seek support from an LGBTQ+-friendly financial advisor – This is about finding someone who is motivated to understand you. Just like maintaining a beloved car, managing a financial strategy can seem like a messy and emotional experience. The key is finding a compassionate and knowledgeable financial professional who has experience working with LGBTQ+ families.
- Match your plan to your goals – This is where the rubber hits the road. Maybe you’ve decided to grow a family, and this requires comparing the costs of surrogacy and adoption. Perhaps you foresee a career change and are considering another educational degree. However your path twists and turns, you’ll find that your financial plan is most effective when it adjusts to your life path.
Ensure that your values live on with a clean estate plan
Developing a clear estate plan plays an important role in preserving family bonds, especially in the presence of murky laws and complex family situations. Given the patchwork of laws and family dynamics that can touch LGBTQ+ families, it’s especially important that LGBTQ+ families and their financial planners pay attention to these key areas:
- Wills – A will documents a person’s wishes for his or her estate after death. Wills are especially important for LGBTQ+ couples who are in relationships or domestic partnerships but are not married. Without a will, the intestacy laws of your state will determine who will receive your assets and property.
- End-of-life care plan – In the event that you or your spouse become incapacitated, a robust end-of-life care plan ensures that important decision-making will be in the hands of your loved one. This can include designating a financial power of attorney and health power of attorney, as well as completing a HIPAA authorization form and creating a health care directive.
- Child custody – Wills and adoption offer ways to avoid custody battles in the event of a biological parent’s passing. With a will, a biological parent can designate a partner as the guardian of the child. Adoption also establishes a legal relationship, reducing the likelihood of custody battles and easing the passage of assets to the child.
- Real Estate – Evaluate the ownership of your real estate assets to ensure that your property is properly registered. For example, “Tenants in Common” offers independent shares of ownership in the same property, allowing one partner to will his or her shares to someone else after death. Conversely, “Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship” provides equal ownership, granting sole ownership to the surviving partner in the event of the other partner’s death.
Estate planning can bring up strong emotions, but it’s crucial to clean up the plan and discuss your plans with your family. Not only does this reduce possible friction among family members, but it can also open important conversations about how to manage money and family relationships.
It takes a village. We’re here to help build it with you.
While every family is unique, one thing is universal – it takes a village to achieve success. Whether you’re ready to invest an inheritance, or it’s time to manage your own estate plan, we’re here to support your family and your financial legacy.