Gay money is big money
I’m a size queen when it comes to money and even more so with gay money. Here’s why gay money’s important and how we can all get more.
The gay Benjamins
In the U.S., the purchasing power of gay money is estimated at nearly $1 trillion! 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 wholeheartedly 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 the state- and federal levels. For example, there are still 30 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 of our gay money.
Gay money is strength, though
Our strength, though, 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, according to Experian, 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, says the Williams Institute. 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 many of our straight counterparts don’t.
There’s 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.
Are you using your gay money wisely?
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 could be saved is being spent.
Where are we spending our money? Per the 2016 Prudential LGBT Financial Experience Survey, we’re spending our gay money making ourselves feel good.
For years, John and I spent this way. This is how we acquired $51,000 in credit card debt. Over time, we learned that we were making up in our adulthood for low self-esteems during our childhood. While this provided temporary enjoyment, it brought long-term unhappiness and served neither us nor our queer community.
The gay money challenge
Despite our strength, we still face challenges. Such as:
- LGBTQ couples with at least 1 child under 18 average 15% more credit card debt than their straight peers
- Queer households, 80% of which don’t have children, have an average of only $6,000 more in savings than straight households
- 57% of LGBTQ claim our current financial condition harms are mental health
- LGBTQ graduates assume 16% more student loan debt than their straight peers
- 58% of LGBTQ stress weekly about money
- Job candidates who appear or sound LGBTQ are less likely to be hired or promoted
- 50% of LGBTQ people don’t have a checking or savings account
The opportunity with our gay money
What can you do to better serve yourself and the queer community? We have five suggestions on how to use your gay money:
- Save more of your income – Save enough in your employer-sponsored retirement plan to get your employer match, otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.
- Make more money – Increase your streams of income by starting your own gay blog.
- Avoid debt – Stay or become and stay debt free. Get on the list to pay off your credit card debt fast.
- Spend within the family – If even just 10% 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.
- Vote with your dollars – When you can’t spend within the queer community, spend with companies that support the queer community.
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.