What’s not financial wellness?
When many of us think of financial wellness, images of The Kardashian’s or Real Housewifes of Atlanta come to mind: shopping till we drop, dining out anywhere and Sunday Funday with the gurlz from 10 to 10 every Sunday. That’s not financial wellness; that’s TV.
This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Prudential. All opinions expressed in this post are based on our personal views.
Need a financial wellness reality TV check?
As with physical wellness, financial wellness isn’t one size fits all. However, just as eating and drinking whatever we want without exercise isn’t physical wellness, ignoring how or where we spend our money isn’t financial wellness. Financial wellness is unique for each of us, but we should know our definition of financial wellness and work toward that goal if we’re not already there.
You better believe that Kris Jenner has her eye on every penny that family’s making and spending. Thus the reason they’re a billion-dollar empire.
What is financial wellness?
Here’s a truth bomb for you, and it may sound a little new-agey, but your financial wellness affects you physically and mentally. Think about how you felt the last time you couldn’t pay a bill or had a $500 emergency. (Why must tires always need replacing when you don’t have the money?)
Research shows that our physical, financial and mental conditions affect each other, and here’s the good news: optimizing one can improve them all.
That’s why we’re partnering with Prudential to start a conversation about financial wellness.
Why should you care?
Want to earn more? Stop worrying about bills? Have that rainy-day fund?
These money concerns cause you stress, which keeps you from earning more money. That causes you to put more money on your credit cards. That causes you to be short with your partner and then you can’t sleep at night.
See where we’re going with this?
Is the queer community special when it comes to financial wellness?
We don’t like to focus on the negative, but we all know that life just feels a little more challenging being LGBTQ and the challenges are different depending on our individual LGBTQ status. Well, now we have evidence that our feelings might be true.
Prudential’s 2018 Financial Wellness Census, a comprehensive survey on the financial wellness of the U.S., showed that one-third of Americans have misperceptions about their own financial health. It showed that more than 50% are doing worse than average based on their levels of income, savings and other assets, and debts.
That’s not really a surprise. So, how are queer people doing?
Well, LGBTQ respondents to Prudential’s census reported having lower incomes than the general population. That probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, either. However, LGBTQ women are more likely than other demographics to take out loans for major purchases, like buying a home and paying for college. While those can be smart purchases, too much debt of any kind harms our financial wellness.”However, LGBTQ women are often more confident than LGBTQ men, that they would meet their financial goals, and LGBTQ men are less concerned than everyone else with achieving financial goals, a sort of financial apathy.
Come on, boyz!
What can the queer community do to get on the right path?
Here are three steps to keep in mind:
1. Get banked
Prudential confirmed that we’re not using financial tools like other demographics are.Only half of us claimed to have even the most basic banking products, like a checking or savings account. It’s hard to get ahead when we’re not using the tools that are designed to help us.Click To Tweet
Now, we know that many in our community don’t trust financial services because we don’t think they know how to help LGBTQ people, or they don’t want to help LGBTQ people. But we must get over that for the sake of our own financial wellness. It’s like, as David says, trying to build a house with scissors rather than a hammer. No amount of motivation from Tim Gunn will “make that work.”
2. Use retirement products
Finally, a stunning – queue your best Blanche Devereaux – stunning 55% of queer respondents are saving nothing for retirement, “compared with 42% of non-LGBTQ respondents.”
Nothing! Zero. Zilch!
Once again, if we’re not planning for a better future, how will we have one? All of us need to take advantage of our company-sponsored retirement plans. It’s free money! Start contributing to your plan today, even if you’re contributing just 1% of your income.
3. Avoid debt
You know that we’ll preach about this one until we’re blue in the face. Financial wellness cannot happen if we continue to dig ourselves further and further into a hole with debt.
We get it, it’s hard. We had to do it ourselves. Sometimes we need to take a step back (forgo some wants) to take two steps forward (getting ahead financially) to have the future of our dreams. If you need assistance with this, you can find help here.
With the unique risks and concerns of our community, like the fact that older LGBTQ people are more likely to be single, live alone and be childless and that, lacking certain legal protections, many of us return to the closet when we’re older and need care, inadequate retirement savings worsens our financial health.
This is why we’re partnering with Prudential to spread financial wellness in the queer community. We want to change these trends.
Who’s responsible for your financial wellness?
It’s anecdotal, for sure, but a recent poll in our Queer Money™ Facebook Group showed that a leading reason for why our community (and, specifically, those who’ve joined the Queer Money™ Facebook Group) is struggling with financial wellness is “lack of knowledge.”
Talking about money is difficult for everyone, typically because personal finances are just that: personal. Families aren’t talking about money with their queer or straight children. There are so many taboos around money and too many people feel like they are dealing with these issues alone. We want to change this.
Schools, for the most part, aren’t providing financial education and, if they do, it’s clearly not enough. Queer people, also, have an uphill battle in up to 30 states where it’s legal to discriminate against us that our straight peers don’t have to contend with. Those facts might not go away for a long time if ever. So, that leaves one person responsible for your financial wellness.
The reality is your financial wellness is your responsibility. When’s the time to act? Now! If knowing is half the battle – thanks, GI Jane – then, now that you know how your financial condition is affecting your physical and mental health, now’s the time to act.
So, over the next few months, look out for more posts, videos, Queer Money™ podcast episodes and tools to help you and the rest of the queer community improve our financial wellness. Doing so will make you better and stronger and make our community better and stronger.
In the meantime, click here to go to Prudential’s interactive State of Financial Wellness page and see how you compare to the rest of America.