MetLife on March 18 released a study on aging of a unique group of Baby Boomers: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population. The study, "Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers," shows LGBT Boomers will approach retirement differently than the general population and most will delay retirement until they are at least age 70.
The study, conducted with the American Society on Aging (ASA) and its constituent group, the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN), polled 1,200 LGBT individuals and 1,200 people from the general population, and shows stark differences and striking similarities between the two groups with regard to attitudes, demographics and aging. Largely single and living alone, LGBT Boomers will rely more on close friends than family for support as they age.
According to Robert Stein, president and CEO of ASA, there are recommendations from the study that ought to be implemented. Stein said in a news release, "We suggest that policy makers look at a number of items, including workplace and benefit changes to address the delayed age of retirement for many and a broader definition of caregivers than those now accepted by the aging industry."
The LGBT adult population accounted for $690 billion in consumer spending in 2007 and was expected to be $845 billion by 2011, according to a study by Witeck-Combs Communication and Packaged Facts. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Urban Institute found that at least two million LGBT individuals were approaching or have reached retirement age.
For advisors, understanding the struggles against discrimination that LGBT Boomers have gone through will aid in understanding how this group views their finances differently than the general population. The study, for instance, shows that 60% of LGBT Boomers fear being unable to care for themselves as they age, 35% fear becoming dependent on others and 10% fear discrimination as they age. Members of the LGBT group are more likely to say they will be at least 70 before they can retire--48% compared with 40% in the general population--mostly for economic reasons. Only a quarter or fewer in the LGBT group say they have saved what they need to live in retirement.
To read more about the study click please click here.
For one advisor's take on serving gays and lesbians, please click here for a Soapbox from the archives of InvestmentAdvisor.com.