Happy Pride! Given we’re firmly in the 21st century, it’s inevitable that our client base at Metis Ireland is well on its way to becoming just as diversified as our fund options.
Now, we’ve always maintained that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to financial planning. That’s true, there isn’t. And that’s especially true when it comes to our LGBTQIA+ clients. They experience certain areas of life in a very different way to their heterosexual (or ‘straight’) counterparts.
As an industry, we’ve historically been quite skewed towards ‘the norm’. We haven’t necessarily taken time to understand the unique needs and approaches that our LGBTQIA+ clients require.
So, what better time than Pride to explore the different areas that financial planners can (and should consider) when working with clients who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community. For this article I’ve been assisted and advised by a member of the team who identifies as ‘queer’.
Creating an inclusive environment
Financial planners have a responsibility to create a safe and inclusive space for every client who walks through their doors. That includes their LGBTQIA+ clients.
It’s very simple; treat all clients equally. Call them by the name they ask you to (and the pronouns they request, if relevant), refer to their loved ones as you would any other client, and remain respectful. You don’t have to personally understand the ins and outs of their identity or lifestyle, but you must respect them.
It also helps to be aware of current terminology. For example, older LGBTQIA+ clients may find the term ‘queer’ upsetting and offensive because it was widely used as a slur in their youth. Conversely, Millennial and Gen Z members of the community commonly use the word ‘queer’ as a way to self-describe. They also tend to use it interchangeably with the term LGBTQIA+. Pay attention to how your clients describe themselves and use the same language back to them. If in doubt, ask!
Discretion is always paramount in our industry, and many of LGBTQIA+ clients will especially value this. Some people aren’t ‘out’ publicly or are only ‘out’ to specific people in their lives. There are many reasons why this may be the case, but chief among them are personal safety and not wanting to jeopardise interpersonal relationships.
If this is the case, avoid ‘outing’ them to others where possible. In an ideal world everybody would be out and proud, but we’re not there yet. It’s important to prioritise your clients’ safety, especially since they’re placing so much trust in you. Again, this is on a case-by-case basis. You should ask if in doubt.
By cultivating an open and non-judgmental environment, financial planners can build trust and better understand the unique challenges and goals that clients in the LGBTQIA+ community may face.
Understanding their unique circumstances
It’s likely that your LGBTQIA+ clients will have slightly different life benchmarks and goals to your straight clients. Here are a few examples:
- As with many younger couples, many same-sex or LGBTQIA+ couples choose not to have children. Therefore, their goals will generally focus more on experiences together and with their friends and family.
- If they are intending to raise a family, that’ll incur significant costs which will need to be planned for. IVF, surrogacy, or preparing to adopt isn’t cheap!
- In some cases, your LGBTQIA+ clients may also place more emphasis on ‘chosen family’ than blood relatives. This tends to be the case if they’ve had the unfortunate experience of not being accepted by their family. They may prioritise their ‘chosen family’ in their estate planning. They might ask for help to specifically exclude some relatives.
- If your client is trans and decides to seek gender-affirming care, there’s significant cost involved with this too which will need to be included in their financial plan. Depending on the type of care they’re looking for, they may need to seek this abroad.
Having a working understanding of some of the most common life experiences that LGBTQIA+ people uniquely experience will help you to put your clients at ease and enable you to cover areas that are directly relevant to them.
Financial Planning for Same-Sex Couples
Same-sex marriage has only been legal in Ireland since 2015. This means that married LGBTQIA+ couples can now benefit from the same tax reliefs and benefits that heterosexual couples have long enjoyed. However, they may not know what they are or how to access them.
From joint accounts and estate planning to tax implications and retirement strategies, a good financial planner can guide all couples through the complexities of their financial lives and help them understand the different schemes and reliefs that they can benefit from.
As an industry, we’ve a way to go on the inclusivity and diversity front. But all it really boils down to is treating our fellow human beings with care and respect, and taking the time to understand the unique challenges that they face.
The world is currently still a largely scary place for the LGBTQIA+ community. There are many uncertainties involved and attitudes are changing very slowly in some places. We can do our small part by making all our clients feel welcome and at home in the present. And we can help their future selves by building a bespoke financial plan that prioritises the things that matter most to them in life.
If you’d like to find out more about building a financial plan and getting started on your planning journey, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01 908 1500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited and advised by Sarah Lawrence, Marketing Executive and certified Queer Person.
Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
All content provided in these blog posts is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. You should always engage the services of a fully qualified financial adviser before entering any financial contract. Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland will not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading these blog posts.