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Survey: LGBT investors more confident in achieving retirement goals than national average

SAN FRANCISCO – Investors are faced with complex challenges when it comes to retirement, including how to save enough to feel comfortable, where to invest retirement savings, understanding and creating retirement income options, and when and where to retire. LGBT investors face these same challenges as well as several unique ones, including those stemming from a lack of federal marriage and inheritance rights.

Yet in a recent nationwide Wells Fargo retirement survey, LGBT non-retirees reported a higher level of confidence in their retirement savings, compared to the general population.

In the survey, 61% of LGBT non-retirees felt confident they would have enough saved by the time they retire to live the lifestyle they want throughout their retirement, significantly higher than 53% cited by the general population. Despite this confidence, over a third (36%) of LGBT non-retirees expect they will need to work during retirement in order to afford their lifestyle (only slightly lower than the 41% of the general population).

The Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA) program was created, through a partnership with the College for Financial Planning, to educate advisors about the unique needs and financial considerations of domestic partners. Financial advisors who earn this designation are well-equipped to work with domestic partners and LGBT clients to develop a thoughtful approach to meeting their financial goals. Wells Fargo was the first in the industry to create this program and today has more than 100 ADPA-certified financial advisors nationwide.

Approximately one in ten LGBT respondents have heard of ADPAs – financial advisors with training in financial and retirement planning specifically for LGBT domestic partners.

Upon hearing a description of ADPA advisor training and designation, most gay men (60%) and lesbians (72%) say these credentials are important to them when working with a financial adviser.

“Each investor has different priorities, needs, and life goals, and domestic partners and same-sex couples often have added concerns and questions about their unique financial situation,” said Kyle Young, financial adviser and vice president, investment officer for Wells Fargo Advisors. “It’s especially important for LGBT investors to find financial advisors who are acutely aware of the challenges, laws, and regulations that impact their investment planning needs. This additional knowledge affords clients encouragement in knowing that their needs will be heard, understood, and thoughtfully explored.”

The median amount LGBT non-retirees have saved for retirement is only 17% of what they believe they actually need. LGBT non-retirees believe they will need to save at least $900,000 in order to retire, and have saved on average about $150,000. And despite this need to save more for retirement, three out of five (62%) of non-retired LGBT’s surveyed have not increased their retirement savings allocation in the past year.

More than half (54%) of all LGBT respondents cite being recognized as equal citizens by society and the law as the most important reason for legalizing gay marriage. One in five (19%) say that having legal rights and medical decision-making on behalf of one’s partner is most important. Only 7% said legalizing gay marriage was not important to them.

LGBT respondents overwhelmingly reported they would find value in information and advice on investing and preparing for retirement. Additionally, only about a quarter of the LGBT respondents currently had a detailed written plan for their finances in retirement.

About the survey

On behalf of Wells Fargo Retirement, Richard Day Research conducted an online survey between Dec. 2 and Dec. 18, 2011 among adults ages 25-75 who identified themselves as LGBT. Comparisons were made to a similar national online sample.