'MO MONEY

SURVEY: The Gays Earn More Money, Have Less Debt Than Average Americans

A Prudential survey of 1,000 LGBT Americans found that we tend to make more money, have less debt and are better prepared for retirement than the so-called average (read: straight) American.

CNN reports:

Respondents not only reported significantly higher annual incomes — $61,500 compared with the national median of $50,054 — but they also carried about $4,000 less in debt than the average American and had $6,000 more in household savings. They were even slightly more likely to have jobs in the first place, with an unemployment rate of 7% versus the national rate of 7.9%, Prudential found.

…LGBT people build up significantly more equity in their homes — a median of $77,000 compared to the national median of $62,000. And, among LGBT pre-retirees ages 55 to 68, about 65% are currently saving for retirement in employer-sponsored retirement accounts, compared to 53% of the overall population. Yet, a mere 14% say they are confident about their financial preparedness, versus 29% of the general population.

According to Prudential’s Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Meyer-Shipp, LGBT people are generally well-educated, with over half of the respondents possessing a bachelor’s degree.

“It flows down — you have a higher level of education, access to higher paying jobs in areas where there are good salaries, and more disposable income to allocate to things like saving and retirement,” Meyer-Shipp said.

She also noted that the LGBT community faces unique challenges — particularly the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits otherwise afforded to heterosexual couples —  that would prompt a more prudent approach to saving.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is still dragging its judicial robe on whether to rule on DOMA.

Other studies by the Census Bureau and Experian mirrored Prudential’s findings, though a recent poll by Gallup  suggested the opposite: that LGBT Americans are actually less educated and have less money than straight Americans.