Financial Advice for the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community

Happy Pride Month! 

This is an important time for us to reflect on how we can be more inclusive and understanding of the 2SLGBTQIA+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community—both individually and as an organization.

We have a responsibility at connectFirst to better recognize and understand the ways the 2SLGBTQIA+ community has been historically underserved by financial institutions.

2SLGBTQIA+ people have faced many obstacles in receiving equitable access to banking, so we’re here to offer some advice to help them get ahead.

Here’s why we are talking about financial advice specifically for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community:
  • We recognize that 2SLGBTQIA+ people may have faced discrimination in their financial journeys
  • We can help provide the financial education that queer people may have not received elsewhere
  • We understand that 2SLGBTQIA+ folks may be struggling financially due to leaving home early or experiencing homelessness
  • 2SLGBTQIA+ have unique needs such as family planning and accessing gender affirming care that require a different approach to financial planning.

First, let's dispell some myths.

2SLGBTQIA+ people have disposable incomes because they don’t have kids.

FALSE. 2SLGBTQIA+ people are more likely to be in poverty than their heterosexual counter parts. And a lot of 2SLGBTQIA+ folks do want kids and must pay more to do so due to cost of fertility and surrogacy. More on this later.

It’s 2024. 2SLGBTQIA+ people don’t face barriers related to their gender or sexual identity or orientation.

FALSE. Discrimination is still a factor in almost every 2SLGBTQIA+ person’s day-to-day lives. This can range from someone refusing to use a person’s proper pronouns, calling a spouse a “friend,” or letting unconscious bias and misinformation guide decision making when it comes to approving products and services.

Not all 2SLGBTQIA+ people are at a financial disadvantage–it is true that many live similarly to their heterosexual counterparts in terms of access to financial education, family support, and equitable job security. However, many also face several factors that can impact their financial security early on. These can include:

  • Leaving home early due to being kicked out or not accepted by caregivers
  • Experiencing homelessness at a young age
  • A difficult time getting or maintaining employment due to discrimination
  • Discrimination in banking settings due to their sexuality or gender expression
  • Discrimination with getting financing for housing or being approved to rent

Because of these factors, members of this community are at a disadvantage early on, and will spend more years playing catch up.

Financial Challenges 2SLGBTQIA+ may face

Family Planning

Many 2SLGBTQIA+ people’s goals include starting their own family by having a child with a partner, or being a single parent by choice. 

Let’s break down rough costs of starting a family for 2SLGBTQIA+ families:

  • IVF (in-vitro fertilization) is $15k - $18k at the baseline for one try – often takes multiple tries
  • IUI (intra-uterine fertilization) is roughly $2k at the base, not including cost of sperm – per try is $1k - $2k
  • Surrogacy costs roughly $80k, which is the only option besides adoption for gay, cisgender men
  • Cost of adoption ranges from $10k-$25k in Canada, and an international adoption can be $25k-$50k or more
  • None of these numbers include travel costs. 

Let’s have a conversation about how couples and individuals can start saving for family planning:

  • Start as soon as you can. It can feel so overwhelming to feel behind, but know that as much as you put in your piggy bank is enough for now. 
  • Open a savings account just for these costs and set up monthly contributions.
  • Invest your money. Open a term deposit to have your money earn some money. Term deposits are extremely low risk and allow you flexibility in how long you invest for and how much you invest. If starting early (many years before you intend to try for a family), consider investing in mutual funds or other investments to grow your money even further. 

If you plan to start your family soon, but haven’t met your financial goals in terms of saving, book an appointment with us today to talk about other options, such as opening a line of credit or taking out a personal loan.

Gender affirming care

For those who are transitioning (i.e. are non-binary, or male-to-female, female-to-male) gender-affirming care is a big part of the process. This can include hormone treatment therapy, surgery, and garments such as binders.

While much of gender-affirming care and surgeries are covered by either government insurance or workplace insurance, trans people still face hurdles—both financial and otherwise—when looking to access this kind of care. 

For hormone treatment, costs can range from $130-$160 without insurance. So if the person receiving care doesn’t have workplace insurance, this could be an extra cost that may or may not be manageable. 

There are other costs to consider as well, such as the cost of changing a legal name. Changing legal documents can help with scenarios such as receiving equitable service in banking or health care environments. If someone goes into a branch with legal documentation that still represents their dead name (the name they were given at birth), then they may face discrimination or have difficulty accessing the services they need. 

Name changes can cost $120 plus the cost of the documents themselves, such as passports and driver's licenses.

How can those impacted help their finances?
Everyone's financial situation is different. Some will have started a savings account and may need to look into a long term or short term investment to help them get ahead. Some won't have any savings and can look into a loan or line of credit.

Before making an appointment to chat with a financial advisor, sit down and take a look at your financial situation. Review what you do have in savings, any debts that might impede on affordability, and breakdown the costs of your future. Having a broad picture of your financial situation is the first step before finding a solution.

A financial advisor will assist in looking over finances and help supplement anything missing IE savings account, credit facilities, RRSPs, etc. A financial advisor can also help you set up a plan for getting your finances in order, whether this is simply putting money away to get savings built up, set up regular contributions for an RRSP, or designing a plan to repay debt.

We're here to help
No matter what your financial needs or goals are, we’re here to support you. Reach out to us at anytime to help build a plan. 

Happy Pride!
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