Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people often have a tougher time dealing with bigots in America than their counterparts north of the border.
And American LGBT people can’t benefit from a universal, single-payer health-care system like Canadians.
But there’s one area where sexual minorities in the U.S. have an advantage: they don’t have to wade through nearly as much research to find LGBT-friendly financial advice. That’s because GuideVine.com enables Internet searchers to find U.S. advisers tailored to their preferred sexual orientation.
So why would someone want to seek out someone with expertise in LGBT financial planning? Even after same-sex marriages have been legalized, there several reasons, according to New York City–based blogger and financial adviser Jim Marrocco.
First of all, there’s a higher potential for surrogacy and adoption among same-sex couples compared to heterosexual couples. And that can create challenges to the pocketbook.
“The good news is that, particularly with adoption and surrogacy, you can be very thoughtful about the timing and really plan for when it makes the most sense to start your family,” he writes.
Estate planning can be another financial minefield for unmarried same-sex couples. Marrocco states on his blog that without estate planning, legal rights can transfer to a parent rather than a partner following a life-threatening health issue or a sudden death.
“Estate planning is about taking care of the ones you love during the scenarios described above,” he writes.
Wealth management involves developing strategies to protect and grow assets throughout one’s life. Ellen Ford Krider, an RBC wealth-management adviser, states on her company’s website that couples used to do a lot of planning before same-sex marriage was legalized to achieve similar outcomes as heterosexual couples.
But after marriage, she suggests that some of these mechanisms can be dismantled.
“Taxes shouldn’t be a reason to get married or not, but (tax treatment) is something to be aware of,” Krider says. “The major thing is supporting the community and understanding that just because they can, not all gay couples will want to get married. Either way, planning becomes very important.”
There are several blogs devoted to LGBT financial issues.
Fix the Game is run by two Toronto lesbians in their 30s, Steph and Ruby, who advocate frugal living to achieve financial independence and early retirement.
Another Canadian blog, Solitary Diner, describes the author as a bisexual woman and “Frugalish Physician”.
"I live with my two cats in a lovely apartment somewhere in Canada," she reveals on her site. "I write here about such topics as atheism, being queer, cooking, travel, money, and the (sometimes) amazing world of medicine."
Yet another, Modern FImily—that’s not a typo, FI stands for Financial Independence—is run by Nic and Court, a lesbian couple in their 30s with a child.
And another, Our Freedom Years, is written by two lesbians, Stephanie and Gillian, who say they’ve achieved financial independence and are travelling across Europe with their two little dogs.
"The story of our big adventure begins in 2013 when we moved our lives and careers from Canada to a tiny country on the other side of the world: Singapore," they write. "Not only did this move expand our minds and horizons, it also enabled us to earn more and save more. While we took every opportunity to travel across Asia over the following six years, we also made sure to grow our investments and plan for a future of freedom."
None of these bloggers reveal their surnames.
Perhaps the best known LBGT financial blog is Debt Free Guys, run by John Schneider and David Auten.
They’ve achieved a fair amount of fame for pioneering the “debt lasso method”. That involves consolidating financial obligations and then automating payments to reduce credit-card debt.