How to find an LGBTQ + friendly financial planner
If you are part of the LGBTQ + community, finding an LGBTQ + friendly financial advisor can be both important and difficult.
Overall, financial advisers are not a diverse group of people. The average age of a financial advisor is 55, and 20% of financial advisers are 65 or older, according to a 2019 JD Power study. Of the 80,000 Certified Financial Planner (CFPÂ®) professionals, less than 3.5% are Black or Latinx. And the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) only announced in 2021 the option of choosing a non-binary gender for current planners and future applicants.
How can you get the best financial advice from an industry that doesn’t seem to have a very diverse pool of people to choose from? As a Certified Financial Planner â¢, I understand. Money is personal. What works for one person may not work for you. But here’s the thing: Financial planning should be accessible to every person.
You deserve the best financial advice, and finding a financial advisor who meets your unique financial needs as an LGBTQ + person can make all the difference.
Key points to remember
- An Experian survey found that 62% of LGBTQ + respondents said their gender identity or sexual orientation caused them to experience financial problems.
- Having an LGBTQ + compatible financial planner can help uncover the potential financial barriers that many members of the LGBTQ + community face.
- Searching for LGBTQ + suitable financial advisors online is one way to find an advisor, but when you meet a potential advisor, you should be prepared to ask them questions about their experience working with LGBTQ + clients.
Why sexual orientation and gender identity are important in financial planning
The pool of financial planners favors older, more conservative people, which can make it difficult to know if your advisor can provide advice tailored to the planning and investment needs of LGBTQ + people. The financial services industry has not known how it serves these communities and their families. As a nation, we have made great strides towards equal legal and civil rights. But a 2018 Experian poll found that 62% of LGBTQ + respondents said their gender identity or sexual orientation caused them to experience financial problems.
If you are part of the LGBTQ + community, you might face a number of unique challenges in planning your financial future. Some decisions can have a substantial impact on your bottom line, both positive and negative.
For example, protect your domestic partner if you choose not to get married; navigate workplace discrimination and how it affects your achievement of your financial goals, including retirement; and other issues are potential financial hardships that LGBTQ + people need to consider. Having a financial planner compatible with LGTBQ + can uncover these obstacles and help create a sustainable and prosperous financial future.
How to find an LGBTQ + friendly financial planner
So, how do you find an LGBTQ + compatible financial advisor? When you meet with a potential financial advisor, start by asking them questions that will give you a feel for their personal style, professional background, and mastery of the content. Here are some ideas on what to ask:
- Have you ever worked with LGBTQ + clients? How much?
- Have you ever worked with same sex couples?
- Can you explain to me the specific financial challenges that LGBTQ + people face?
- Can you tell me about the laws in this state that may impact productive financial planning for LGBTQ + people?
Ideally, a financial advisor will have experience working with LGBTQ + clients and can provide you with examples of challenges and strategies that can benefit your overall finances. Notice the counselor’s body language, facial expressions and tone of voice as you answer these questions. If they recognize the importance of these issues, they will be a perfect fit for your selection of a financial advisor.
When it comes to finding real advisors, try searching online using websites like Avantax (formerly GuideVine), where you can filter results for LGBT services, or try searching for LGBTQ + focused businesses. If you find an advisor or business that you think will be right for you, but they are too far away geographically, it’s worth asking if they meet clients virtually, as many financial advisors do.
Important considerations when choosing a financial advisor
In addition to finding an advisor who is equipped to meet your unique financial needs, there are other considerations to take into account when finding a financial advisor.
One thing to ask: is the advisor a trustee? CFPÂ® professionals must act as trustees, but other advisers cannot operate under these restrictions. Everything a trustee does should be in the best interests of their clients. And that’s ideal: a financial advisor who gives you the right advice for your dreams and goals.
Consider what kind of financial advice you need
There is no single financial planner. Advisors can specialize in different areas:
- Financial planning: Focuses on all aspects of your financial life, including savings goals, insurance and tax planning.
- Investment services: Take care of your investments and manage decisions about which investments to hold and which investment accounts best suit your goals.
- Retirement planning: Coordinates all the elements that make up your retirement finances, such as social security, taxes, investments, pensions, etc.
Consider the type of client the advisor typically serves. For example, some may accept clients from across the country, while others limit their practice locally.
Check diplomas and certifications
Many levels of qualification exist for finance professionals. A âfinancial coachâ does not require any formal training or certification. Some organizations issue easily obtainable credentials that look more impressive than they are. But not all credentials are created the same.
A CFPÂ® is a certified financial plannerâ¢ and requires the successful completion of a rigorous examination to obtain the designation. CFPÂ® certification is synonymous with confidence and competence. A chartered financial analyst (CFA) must also complete extensive education and pass an exam. Both titles have ethical and experience requirements. Look for these credentials when choosing a reputable advisor.
Use a financial advisor search engine
It’s a good idea to ask your family and friends to recommend a counselor. But you also need to do your homework and make sure the planner is legitimate and has a good service record before you hire them.
Here are some other recommended places to look for a financial advisor:
- Let’s make a plan: The CFP Board has a tool that allows you to easily find a CFPÂ® professional. Enter your location and the services you are looking for, or search for a specific planner by name.
- Boomer: An online network that directs you to a financial advisor specializing in helping the elderly, it has the option of finding an advisor in your area. You can also search by last name if you know the name of the advisor you are looking for.
- NAPFA: The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) has an online search feature to find a financial planner near you.
Using a financial advisor search engine can help you find advisor reviews and check their references.
The bottom line
Successful financial advisors are passionate about financial planning. They are naturally curious, which is an important trait as laws, standards, and financial and investment products are constantly changing.
The best advisors are professional, put your interests first, and communicate your financial plan in a way you understand. With these tips, I am confident that you will find a financial advisor who openly supports the LGBTQ + community and understands the unique facets of your finances.