national rate of 7.9%, Prudential found.A combination of factors play into this, said Michele Meyer-Shipp, chief diversity officerat Prudential. To start, LGBT individuals are generally well-educated, with more thanhalf of respondents receiving at least a bachelor's degree, and tend to live in higher-income areas, she said."It flows down -- you have a higher level of education, access to higher paying jobs inareas where there are good salaries, and more disposable income to allocate to thingslike saving and retirement," Meyer-Shipp said.
Uncertainty about the future of gay rights likely also prompts many members of theLGBT
community to be especially prudent with their money, Meyer-Shipp said.Among their top financial concerns, respondents cited a lack of Social Security orpension survivor benefits, legislation that negatively affects LGBT finances and unfairtax treatment.Thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that defines marriage assolely between a man and a woman, same-sex couples are barred from getting manyof the same federal benefits that opposite-sex married couples receive, includingsurvivor benefits and certain tax exemptions.The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear a DOMA case for the firsttime, and if it strikes down the law, these benefits would become available to marriedsame-sex couples.
"The LGBT community has unique concerns, so when you're planning you've got to bemore cautious about where you're putting your money and how much you're saving,"Meyer-Shipp said.According to the survey, LGBT people build up significantly more equity in their homes-- a median of $77,000 compared to the national median of $62,000. And, amongLGBT pre-retirees ages 55 to 68, about 65% are currently saving for retirement inemployer-sponsored retirement accounts, compared to 53% of the overall population.Yet, a mere 14% say they are confident about their financial preparedness, versus29% of the general population.Other studies conducted by the Census Bureau and Experian have come to similarconclusions about the strength of LGBT Americans' finances, but a recent Gallup pollof more than 120,000 adults conducted this summer actually found that LGBTindividuals tend to have lower incomes and to be less educated than the generalpopulation.
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