Gay and lesbian investors still not working with financial advisers

New polls find these clients crave advice most around retirement planning

By Trevor Hunnicutt

Nov 19, 2013 @ 1:03 pm (Updated 3:44 pm) EST

Despite the growing recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States and the considerable wealth these individuals hold, most gay and lesbian investors still are not working with financial advisers, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The Insured Retirement Institute survey found that nearly two-thirds of gay and lesbian individuals don't currently have an adviser. The poll revealed that many choose to manage their own money and do not see the need for an adviser, despite having sufficient assets.

Four in 10 of the gay and lesbian individuals surveyed have saved $250,000 or more for retirement, IRI said.

Nearly half of unmarried same-sex couples plan to marry in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling this year eliminating a federal ban on same-sex marriage. The high court's June 26 decision in United States vs. Windsor was followed by a series of other favorable rulings for same-sex couples, including legal interpretations by the Internal Revenue Service and the Labor Department that expanded tax and retirement benefits across state lines.

The financial services advocacy group said Tuesday that retirement planning ranks ahead of investing, tax planning, estate planning and general financial management as the top area in which couples require financial assistance. Seven in 10 of the poll respondents told IRI that they are not confident they have enough money to live comfortably when they retire.

Another recent survey, conducted by UBS Wealth Management Americas, found that being able to afford care and support in old age, particularly finding tolerant long-term-care facilities, was the primary concern for LGBT people overall.

Other top concerns for gay men and lesbians include the effect of marriage laws on their finances, having the ability to make health care decisions for a spouse, making sure assets can be transferred to a partner, finding someone to care for them in old age and saving enough money for retirement, according to the UBS survey.

UBS surveyed 507 wealthy LGBT people between Sept. 24 and Oct. 14 for its report. IRI researchers polled 504 people between Sept. 19 and 24 in same-sex relationships who lived in the 13 states and District of Columbia that recognized same-sex marriages. (New Jersey started recognizing same-sex marriage last month, after the survey was conducted, and Hawaii will start doing so next month.) The surveys had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.4%.