Are LGBTs Better Off Financially?
6 months ago
Lack of rights may foster frugality
As the U.S. continues to rack up more than $1 trillion of new debt every year, there's one group that's reportedly handling their finances more favorably. According to a survey by Prudential, members of the gay community manage their money better than the average American.
Prudential's poll results show that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people earn significantly more in income, owe less in debt, have more in household savings, and are more efficiently prepared for retirement than their heterosexual counterparts.
Michele Meyer-Shipp, chief diversity officer at Prudential, cites a number of factors, one being that many members of the LGBT community tend to feel uncertain about the future of gay rights, thus they become more prudent with their paychecks.
Susan Stryker, professor of gender & women's studies at the University of Arizona, agrees. "LGBT people are often excluded from family support both emotionally and financially," she said. "So they sometimes have to develop the capacity to fend for themselves and be very self-reliant. Because they've historically been less likely to have a marriage, there has been less likelihood of getting survivors benefits or pensions in old age, and less likelihood of having children, and thus the need to plan to take care of oneself."
Still, Stryker is wary of who Prudential counted as participants because, to her knowledge, "trans[gender] people suffer far higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than other Americans, and lesbian women make less money than men."
Equally unsure of Prudential's findings is Marianne LaFrance, professor of psychology, and of women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University.