Share LGBTQ + Effective Financial Planning Tips

We sat down with three influential people to draw behind the scenes on some of the unique aspects of LGBTQ + financial planning and what those plans, savings and investments actually look like.

Christopher Rhodes

What financial goals are you currently working on? Or, are you proud to achieve any financial goals?

Saving for top surgery was probably the biggest financial goal I have ever achieved in my life. Top surgery is a huge part of many trans masculine people’s lives, and that surgery was incredibly sure to change me and life. My insurance method didn’t cover so I kept the full amount to cover on my own, which can be pretty awful.

What goals and habits have helped you reach those goals?

I’m self-employed and so saving money can be difficult, but the company I run helps transfolders carry out gender-confirmation surgery. When I was saving money for Top Surgery I partnered with five people before me to help them reach their financial goals. My brand helped raise about half the funds I needed for my surgery, and moreover I helped raise funds using my skills – I worked on social media for custom art, tattoo design and money. I was much more aware of what I kept for savings at that time and what I kept for.

Nowadays, my biggest goal is to save for the future: I hope to save for buying a house, and I do it by setting a specific goal and timeline for the amount of savings I have in my account. It pays a certain amount of money as opposed to expenses, especially payments or savings.

What would you say to your little self about money?

Money stress, and a little complicated. I don’t think anyone realizes when they are younger how expensive it is to be an adult. But I think I’ll tell myself that you can do what you love and still be able to make a living – you just have to decide how it will work for you and where and how and why you have to be responsible and smart. Spend money.

Has your identity affected your relationship with money in any way? Why or why not?

I think that in some ways my relationship with money is definitely different than if I weren’t trans.

The cost of the change is added to doctor’s visits, blood work, weekly testosterone injections, surgery, the legal cost of changing my name and gender identification, not to mention the cost of family planning, etc.

I had to save for things that seemed very “adult” when I started in my 20s.

Start saving for your goal

ZOE stoller

What financial goals are you currently working on, or which ones have you already achieved and are really proud of?

I’m officially going to graduate school! I quit my 9 to 5 marketing jobs, and am working more fully as a content creator. I’m saving for graduate school and it works a lot, but I’m confident that I’ll achieve my financial goals. Before I decided to enroll, I knew my full-time job wasn’t as fulfilling as I had hoped, and I recently started earning enough money to leave as a content creator. So all the stars lined up, where I was able to quit my job, create content full time, and go back to school for my bachelor’s degree.

What habits or tools are helping you reach that goal?

I’ve been into spreadsheets lately – although I’m not sure about numbers or money. It has changed over the years for me to figure out exactly how to keep track of my income, my big expenses, and my savings. I’m trying to be really active financially.

What would you say to your little self about money?

I was very ignorant about money, but now I have a lot more knowledge.

Growing up, I didn’t understand savings, investing or general money management. I would tell my younger sister that it’s okay not to know these things, but to learn and grow in life and go on different trips. Just because I was small didn’t mean I was very financially conscious, that doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

And now, I feel a lot more knowledgeable about money – I’m still learning a lot, but I’m much more confident.

Has your identity affected your relationship with money? Why or why not?

Since I discovered my lesbian and non-binary identity, I must be wondering how money will play a role in my future. There are many more costs involved with having a family or getting pregnant if you have LGBTQ. I want a family, but I probably need fertility treatment or maybe adoption. There are many additional hurdles when you can’t conceive with a partner that require money, so I’m thinking about how to best prepare for it in my future. I want to be able to carry it, I will decide it in my future.

Anything else you want to share with us?

No matter where you are on your money and identity journey, I have full confidence that you will be able to achieve it and achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Genevieve Jaff

What financial goals are you currently working on? Or, are you proud to achieve any financial goals?

My wife and I look forward to building our dream home next year, in 2022. When we bought our first home, we kept only 10% and had to get a PMI. We don’t want to do that this time, so right now it’s a big financial goal.

What goals and habits have helped you reach those goals?

We have two different investment accounts that we use for house funds. One is very safe – not risky at all, because if we want something to happen we want to be safe. I have a medium offensive portfolio that I don’t manage myself. When Kovid hit, it took a recession, so it’s important for us to invest in a half-safe type. In allocating my money, whenever money comes from my business, I put something away in these accounts. My wife and I also have a 529 plan that we keep money for our kids at the end of each year.

In addition, my wife keeps an account of our expenses and our books. Almost every day he goes to check the balance in all our accounts, check the invoices and check our credit cards, student loans etc.

What would you say to your little self about money?

I grew up with working class parents. They trade money for hours on end, and it’s not a bad thing, but it’s not what I wanted to live my life. So I actually got a job as a corporate lawyer and was a dude, but really had a great salary. I’ve always learned that until you retire and turn off your 401, and I was there until I met my wife, who was an entrepreneur, I realized I didn’t have to live my life that way.

So I’ve done a lot of mental work with money, and got rid of that old school belief that money doesn’t grow on trees. I try to have a really good relationship with money and remember that money is also an exchange of energy.

I just wanted to share that in 2015, I almost had to file for bankruptcy. I was not smart at all with my money. I was a corporate lawyer who was doing pretty nice, stable pay-checks, and when I quit my job, the business I started actually worked very well. But I didn’t have a consistent enough salary, and I didn’t change my habits or my lifestyle. Therefore, I had to learn really fast to be aware of the money I had and not rely on the money I could earn. I didn’t have to go bankrupt, thank you. But, that fear is something that still lives in me – and now it’s really about being aware of our money and the money we’re spending.

Has your identity affected your relationship with money in any way? Why or why not?

We spent $ 50K + for our children. I am not saying this to confuse anyone but it will help you prepare for the potential cost that you can raise your family as LGTBQ + person / couple / throughpal etc.

When we started raising our family we had no idea how much money we were going to leave. Our path to pregnancy was not very easy – we completed 3 intrauterine pregnancies (IUI), two egg recovery and three embryo transfer. Insurance was not in vitro fertilization (IVF), stimulation meds (about $ 5K), egg recovery ($ 11K), or transfer ($ 3K). We also had to buy sperm (about $ 1,000 per vial), go through a ton of tests, and each of us had to have surgery.

Financial planning for a family is something that I emphasize that people should start early. Seriously, ask people to contribute to a baby fund for your engagement and marriage. Trust me, no one needs fancy dishes. Everyone loves kids and an incredible way to make everyone feel part of your journey!

Start your financial journey

If you are interested in joining our team, check out the Betterment Careers page! We are always looking for passionate candidates to join our company.

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