How to find an LGBTQ ally financial advisor or advisor

Personal finances can be particularly daunting for members of the LGBTQ + community, who have faced exclusion and discrimination from their families and from financial and governmental institutions.

According to an analysis by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, gay men earn about 69 cents per dollar to their straight peers and lesbians earn about 89 cents per dollar to their straight peers. And these wage and wealth gaps are greater for queer and trans people of color.

However, financial advisors and planners can help LGBTQ + people overcome the difficult financial issues they face.

Look for a consultant who takes your needs seriously

For Marci Bair, a certified financial planner based in San Diego, financial planning begins with “creating a safe space where each individual customer can tell you their life story.”

Bair wants to hear from customers what it was like to grow up, how a customer’s family talked about money, who the customer loves and who they support financially. These details are especially important for LGBTQ + people who may be strangers or unrecognized by their family of origin.

“If you don’t have your financial and legal home in order, your family’s wishes can come in and make decisions that exclude the people you love and leave behind” in the event of an emergency, illness or death, says CFP Cait Howerton.

Finding a counselor who is culturally and financially competent can help you identify and realize your financial and life goals, whether it’s paying off your student loan credit and debt or financing your transition.

Related: Regardless of income bracket, LGBTQ investors are less confident about retirement than their non-LGBTQ peers

Know that there is financial advice for every income level

It is a common misconception that you have to be rich to need a financial planner. Indeed, counseling and financial planning can be a tool to support LGBTQ + families and communities to achieve their goals, protect them amidst challenges to trans and queer personality and family security, and (potentially) reduce wealth gaps. .

Although there are far more LGBTQ + people than LGBTQ + financial planners, financial advisors and community-allied planners are immersing themselves in the cultures and demographics they seek to serve. They can help you start small with paying off debt, financing a medical procedure, and investing for retirement.

Financial advisors help with everything from learning about money management and creating financial goals to help you access tax credits, public welfare agencies, and debt management. This is particularly important given that members of the LGBTQ + community are more likely to live in poverty, live homeless and suffer discrimination and violence, including from their families of origin.

In the long run, a certified financial planner can help create a comprehensive financial plan. CFPs hold rigorous financial certifications and are fiduciary, which means they are legally required to act in the best interest of their clients.

Laws: California bans state-funded travel to Florida, 4 other states due to anti-LGBTQ laws

Identify an LGBTQ + financial ally

To find a financial advisor or financial planner near you, you can start looking at your local chamber of commerce or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to see if there is a financial advisor near you.

However, if you haven’t gone out yet or aren’t comfortable using a planner you might encounter at the grocery store, online or remote financial planning can help you connect with a member of the LGBTQ + community or an ally.

You can use the Find a Consultant tool on the XY Planning Network website to search for LGBTQIA. Or you can search Find a CFP Professional by specialty such as “LGBTQIA Individuals / Couples”.

Finding a financial planner who understands specific financial needs and situations can greatly improve your financial outlook, according to Dasarte Yarnway, co-founder of Onyx Network, a platform that supports underrepresented financial advisors.

“Economically, alone you can go fast, together you can go far,” says Yarnway of the partnership with a financial advisor.

See also: Is the housing market in recession? Here’s what the economists say

Make sure your wishes are honored

Once you find a financial advisor or planner, the following financial, health and legal tools can help you ensure your wishes are fulfilled in the event of an emergency or death.

  • Advance directives designate someone to act on your behalf in medical decisions if you are no longer able to communicate, such as during end-of-life care.

  • A power of attorney allows someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so on matters ranging from health care and money management to placing operations on behalf of a business.

  • A will details issues such as child protection, funeral arrangements, and property distribution.

  • A trust ensures that your assets go to the designated persons (with tax benefits).

These are especially important for LGBTQ + people and families who aren’t legally married, says Chicago-based CFP candidate Kiersten Peshek.

“If clients are not interested in getting married, which is perfectly acceptable in relationships, we need to think about estate planning: that they inherit the home, have the ability to make health care decisions, and make sure the law and family members don’t get in the way. ”Says Peshek.

Legally formalizing your financial, health and other wishes is especially important for children of LGBTQ + people who may not be biologically related to their parents.

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Alieza Durana writes for NerdWallet. Email: adurana@nerdwallet.com.

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