Life Money Money Planning How to Choose an LGBTQ-Inclusive Financial Professional For those of us in the LGBTQ community, here's how we can protect ourselves when choosing an accountant, financial planner, estate lawyer, and more. By Allison Hope Allison Hope Instagram Twitter Website Allison Hope is a writer and native New Yorker who favors humor over sadness, travel over television, and coffee over sleep. She has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Slate, Buzzfeed, NBC, Cosmo, ELLE, InStyle, and many others. Real Simple's Editorial Guidelines Updated on January 26, 2023 Fact checked by Isaac Winter Fact checked by Isaac Winter Isaac Winter is a fact-checker and writer for Real Simple, ensuring the accuracy of content published by rigorously researching content before publication and periodically when content needs to be updated. Highlights: Helped establish a food pantry in West Garfield Park as an AmeriCorps employee at Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center. Interviewed Heartland Alliance employees for oral history project conducted by the Lake Forest College History Department. Editorial Head of Lake Forest College's literary magazine, Tusitala, for two years. Our Fact-Checking Process Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Know Your Needs Look for the Signs Do Your Homework You've worked hard to save money, forgoing that beach getaway or those extra nights out—and now you're ready to talk to a professional about using your precious dollars for a more financially secure future. Maybe you're expanding your family, getting married (or choosing not to), having children, or buying a home. Perhaps you're further down the road on your life journey and are thinking about estate planning to protect your family for the long term, or need advice on how to thoughtfully invest for retirement. These scenarios point to the need for a financial advisor, personal accountant, financial planner, and/or estate lawyer. Finding a trustworthy advisor to work with requires a certain level of research and fact-finding. For LGBTQ folks like me, that work is complicated by the unique legal and financial circumstances we sometimes face, as well as the pool of professionals we can choose from. For us, it's important to find a financial planner who is LGBTQ-supportive, so we feel safe sharing our personal and sensitive information. An informed LGBTQ-affirming professional is more likely to understand the nuances of our situation and be better equipped to help us make sound decisions about our finances and future. So, how do you go about finding an LGBTQ-friendly financial professional? Read on for some helpful tips. How to Be More LGBTQ+-Inclusive at Work Know Your Needs To identify the right financial advisor, first assess your specific needs. In the LGBTQ community, we often have unique circumstances distinct from the majority. For instance, according to Statista, two-female-headed households are (on average) less likely to pull as much income as different-sex households or two-male-headed households. Moreover, the National Center for Transgender Equality reported that transgenders are three times more likely than the general population to have a household income of less than $10,000 a year. Given these stats, we may need to start planning our financial future earlier, or we may not be in a position to think about retirement planning until later than most. When it comes to marriage and children, LGBTQ families face a whole new level of patchwork legal and financial complexities that require particular expertise, so the need for financial and legal professionals trained in the nuances these families face is more significant. "Raising children is a life changer regardless of sexual orientation," says David Rae, a gay financial planner in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, and president of DRM Wealth Management, an LGBTQ-owned firm. "Many in the LGBTQ community have children later in life and have to go through a more complicated process to have a family," Rae explains. "Whether adoption or surrogacy, the upfront cost to start a family can be staggering." For LGBTQ Americans looking to start a family, Rae recommends being more aggressive earlier with saving for retirement "to help free up cash later to start and raise your family." Getty Images Look for the Signs Contemplating your goals for the future and working with a financial planner to achieve them takes on a different dimension when you are LGBTQ, and finding the right advisor can help. The best way to identify which financial or legal advisors are LGBTQ-friendly is to look for the signs—literally. "Most financial advisors and planners who specialize in working with the LGBTQ community clearly display this information on their website and other online profiles," says Stephanie Sammons, a Dallas-based certified financial planner. Sammons recommends websites such as XYPlanningNetwork.com, NAPFA.org, and FeeOnlyNetwork.com as good places to start finding LGBTQ-affirming financial advisors. LGBTQ-specific organizations like the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association also offer legal resources, with databases of professionals countrywide. "You can also search the Certified Financial Planner site at letsmakeaplan.com. If you [click 'LGBTQ Individuals/Couples' under the 'Client Focus' search option], you will see a listing of the advisors who are at least LGBTQ-friendly," adds Rae. Do Your Homework While it's not necessary to seek out an LGBTQ-identified or -affirming professional, the risks may outweigh the rewards. "I don't think I will shock anyone reading this, but homophobia is still rampant in this country," says Rae. "There is also a large gap financially by gender. Dealing with life and finances is stressful enough. There is no reason that the financial planning process should be any more painful than it has to be,"—especially for the already vulnerable LGBTQ community. Part of your vetting process—beyond doing online research and asking friends or trusted groups for leads on a financial or legal advisor—is that gut check when you meet them. Do you feel comfortable? Do they seem nervous? Do they skirt overt acknowledgment of you or your family dynamic? Chances are, if your gut tells you this isn't the right fit, you are probably right. It's OK to ask that direct question, "Have you worked with LGBTQ people or families before?" Their response should guide your decision on whether to move forward. In addition to knowing that your private information and life savings are in trusted hands, working with someone who is LGBTQ-supportive is just going to be a better experience for you. "Working with someone who truly understands your interest, goals, and needs can help make financial planning a lot more fun," Rae adds. And who doesn't want to put a little fun into money management? Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Real Simple is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J, et al. National Center for Transgender Equality. Injustice at Every Turn. Accessed Jan. 26, 2023.