Gay Money is Big
I’m a size queen when it comes to money and even more so gay money.
In the U.S., the purchasing power of the queer community is estimated to be $917 billion! That’s more than the Asian, African American and Hispanic communities.
By population, gay money is massive. In fact, it was roughly 14 percent of all disposable income in the U.S. in 2016. On a global scale, our purchasing power jumps to $3.7 trillion.
Gay Money is Important
Why should we talk about gay money? Because size matters.
As gay money makes up nearly 14 percent of U.S. disposable income, it means the queer community heavily influences the way America spends. It means, as a community, we must use our money to influence the national dialogue and enact positive change for the queer community.
Our purchasing power is the reason we’ve seen an increase in marketing to the queer community. It was in 2015 when many companies whole-heartedly embraced the queer community with open arms. Companies like MassMutual, Campbell’s Soup, Kohl’s, Ikea and Chevrolet went digitally and visually to mass markets and said “We’ve opened our doors to gay money.”
As we learned in 2016, though, we still have concerns about equality at both state- and federal-levels. For example, there are still 28 states where a queer person can get fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Therefore, it’s vital that we stay alert and recognize the strength in our gay money.
Gay Money is Strength
Our strength lies in how we spend our gay money and our spending is incredibly different than our straight counterpart’s spending.
Gay and lesbian couples earn more than straight couples. The average lesbian couple earns $7,200 more and the average gay couple earns $8,000 more than our straight peers. The disparity in spending is even wider.
Nearly 80% of queer couples aren’t raising children. Per a 2013 USDA study, it currently costs about $245,000 to raise a child from birth to the age of 18, not including college costs. As queer couples, we skip a major expense that our straight counterparts don’t.
There is an amazing opportunity for the queer community to make our gay money more impactful. If used strategically, our dollars can enact positive change for years to come.
Gay Money Is Your Key. Are You Using It?
How you spend your money is up to you. I’d, however, like to present you with a few facts and opportunities for making your gay money more impactful on you and the queer community.
In 2012 the Prudential LGBT Financial Experience Survey, queer households had an average of only $6,000 more in savings than straight households, straight households with those $245,000 children.
Do you see the opportunity? A significant portion of what we could be save is being spent.
Where are we spending our money? Per the most recent 2016 Prudential LGBT Financial Experience Survey, we’re spending our gay money making ourselves feel good.
For years, John and I spent the same way. This is how we acquired $51,000 in credit card debt (you can read about that here). Over time, we learned that we were making up in our adulthood for feeling inferior and inadequate during our childhood. While this provided temporary enjoyment, it brought long-term unhappiness and served neither us nor our queer community.
What can you do to better serve yourself and the queer community? We have four suggestions on how to use your gay money:
- Save more of your income – Start with saving enough in your employer-sponsored retirement plan to get your employer match, otherwise you’re leaving money on the table.
- Avoid debt – Don’t get distracted with debt or the shiny things you can buy with debt and pay off any debt, including student loans, as fast as possible.
- When you spend, keep it in the family – If even just 10 percent of our $917 billion was spent within the queer community, we’d create and retain massive amounts of wealth to make us even stronger and more influential. Find a local Queer business by searching the NGLCC’s list of local Chambers of Commerce and connecting with Queer businesses in your community.
- Vote with your dollars – When you can’t spend within the queer community, spend on companies that support the queer community. Your local queer advocacy organization can help you.
I believe in a strong queer community. We need to build our community on a financially strong foundation. A financially strong foundation means avoiding the financial distractions of student loans, mortgages and consumer debt and saving and spending our gay money wisely.
This is, in part, why we wrote our book, 4: The Four Principles of a Debt Free Life. It tells our story of why and how we became more money conscious and paid off $51,000 in credit card debt. By being more money conscious with our gay money, by voting with our dollars, we’ll build that strong queer community.
Other articles for you:
- Gay Pride & Financial Prejudice
- Why Your Last Date Took Your Last Dollar & How to Get It Back
- Has the Fight for Queer Equality Gone into the Closet?