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October 16, 2014

Political Notes: Retirement costs worry LGBT seniors, says report

The Bay Area Reporter
By Matthew S. Bajko
A new report has detailed that LGBT seniors are worried they will be unable to afford their retirement years.

The report, "Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults, Ages 45-75," found that 42 percent of LGBT older people are "very or extremely concerned" that they will outlive the money they have saved for retirement. Among heterosexuals, only 25 percent share such a concern, noted the report.

The study also found that 44 percent of LGBT older people are "very or extremely concerned" that they will have to work well beyond retirement age in order to have enough money to live on, as compared to the 26 percent of non-LGBT people who hold a similar concern.

Released October 6 by Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, or SAGE for short, the report's findings are based on a national survey of 1,857 LGBT people and 519 non-LGBT people, conducted in March by the Harris Poll on behalf of SAGE.

While most LGBT people age 60 and older report being retired (70 percent), many of those who are not retired anticipate working, on average, until age 69, found the survey. Moreover, the report found that half of all single LGBT older people believe that they will have to work well beyond retirement age.

And 33 percent of LGBT older people are "very or extremely concerned" that they will have to depend on others for money, compared to 18 percent of non-LGBT older people who share that concern.

"This study should compel health care and aging providers, as well as leaders in the public and private sectors, to create services, policies, products and institutions that are responsive to a growing, underserved demographic," stated SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams in a release announcing the survey findings.

Among the LGBT participants, 1,133 were between the ages of 45 and 59, with 724 aged 60 to 75 years old. The majority, 1,185, were men, with 669 female and 137 transgender.

More LGBT women said they were concerned about having enough money to live on compared to LGBT men (57 percent versus 49 percent), according to the survey.

As for the ethnic breakdown, 1,549 were white or other, 147 were African American, and 161 were Hispanic.

A majority of the LGBT participants said they are living off of less than $75,000 a year, with 856 reporting incomes of less than $50,000 and 362 making between $50,000 to $74,999.

In the $75,000 to $99,999 income range were 250 of the LGBT people and 330 reported making $100,000 or more a year.

LGBT older people were more likely than their straight counterparts (21 percent versus 13 percent) to rely on government tools when planning for retirement, according to the report, while non-LGBT older people are more likely than LGBT older people  (37 percent versus 28 percent) to use the services of a financial advisor.

Among the LGBT people in the 45-59 age group, 37 percent expect to retire at the age of 65, while 26 percent said they do not know when they will be able to retire. Ten percent said they either thought they would never be able to retire or didn't know at what age they would be able to.

One area where both the LGBT and straight participants shared similar concerns was in regard to funding for federal programs such as Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Majorities in both groups – 83 percent of LGBTs and 86 percent of straights – said Social Security is the resource they are most depending on to fund their retirement years.

Thus, 58 percent of LGBTs and 56 percent of straight older people in the survey expressed "high levels of concern" over the impact governmental funding cuts will have on their future financial security and the aforementioned federal programs.

"The concerns that LGBT older people express regarding their abilities to retire offer opportunities for financial professionals, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to better invest in financial planning services that target LGBT people age 45 and older, especially in ways that speak to their unique lives and legal realities," concluded the report.

To download the full report, visit http://sageusa.org/resources/outandvisible.cfm.

Read the original article online here.

Media Inquiries

Christina DaCosta
Assistant Director of Communications
917-553-3328
cdacosta@sageusa.org

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