June is always a great month – welcoming in summer, longer sun-filled days, and tons of rainbows everywhere. Rainbow flags, that is. Along with the summer solstice and all things vitamin D, June is Gay Pride Month, where everyone has that uncle/cousin/sister, enjoys joyful, colorful parades in many cities, and can boast allegiance with the LGBTQIA+ community by hanging their pride flag from the balcony. While it’s great to celebrate all things gay in 30 days, the LGBTQ+ community is living gay pride the other 11 months of the year, too. As a unique community with unique needs, finding a wealth advisor that truly understands the nuances of LGBTQ+ financial and estate management can be challenging.
Even after the legalization of marriage, normalization of family planning, and changes in the federal protection laws, the LGBTQ+ community has specific needs that often go beyond what a heteronormative individual could anticipate. There are some historic state laws that haven’t fully aligned with current federal laws, and there are cultural shifts that haven’t happened in certain pockets of the US. For example, there are areas of this country where a same-sex partner or spouse doesn’t have health care power of attorney. Investments or contracts that may seem straightforward can have hidden, unintentional (or intentional) adverse ramifications for same sex couples that wouldn’t necessarily apply to non-LGBTQ+ folks.
Now, in a time when many financial services providers are trying to break into niche markets, it can be difficult to discern the well-marketed generalists from the true specialists. We believe advisors need to fully understand how major life transitions such as marriage, buying a home, retirement, entering into long-term care, and death of a partner or spouse affect LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. The following is a sampling of discovery questions to help determine if the investment advisor has a comprehensive understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and its unique needs:
- How are you aligned with the LGBTQ+ community?
- How many LGBTQ+ community members have you served as clients?
- What professional resources can you bring to help with holistic LGBTQ+ financial lens?
- What experiences have you had in the LGBTQ+ community?
- How do you align estate and financial planning to fit the needs of LGBTQ+ clients?
We believe working with vetted industry leaders serving the LGBTQ+ community is the best way to serve LGBTQ+ clients. Clients deserve to work with companies that truly walk the walk of inclusion and think proactively about what is best for their specific current and future needs. Having courageous conversations about lifestyle, family, wealth, health, future and ultimately, death can often foster trust, support, and an intimate knowledge of what clients’ needs will be as their portfolio and estate are managed. We hope that all LGBTQ+ investors find their people – those that can faithfully represent them, with the experience, institutional knowledge, and preemptive protections in place to help each individual thrive.
At Coldstream, we have partnered with companies where the mindset is always thinking about all the exceptions that could impact financial health, legal rights, and overall wellbeing. We understand the importance of putting every one of our clients at the center of everything – so that their investment advisor, estate planner, lawyer, insurance agent, CPAs, are all working with an aligned strategy, understanding the laws, challenges, and benefits of the LGBTQ+ high net worth client. We believe having familiarity and personal connections to the community helps our advisors provide better, personalized service, creating a proactive, holistic experience for our clients. Because we are also part of the community, we stay educated on cutting edge issues that face LGBTQ+ clients. We can say with pride that we walk the walk all twelve months of the year.