Study shows aging GLBT population faces financial, care issues

A new survey of GLBT baby boomers has some bleak predictions for their long-term prospects in terms of self-care and financial security, but also says that their financial decisions have been formed by years of discrimination.

MetLife conducted the study, “Still Out, Still Aging,” in December 2009. It polled 2,400 adults ages 45 to 64, half of them straight, and found that only 61 percent of the GLBT community who participated said they were in a relationship, compared to 77 percent of the heterosexual survey sample. In addition, the GLBT respondents said they were more likely to work until they were 70, and not be likely to have more than $50,000 in investments and disposable assets.  They also voiced concern about outliving their income, dying alone and dying in pain.

On the flip side, this group did outscore their straight counterparts for end-of-life preparedness, including having long-term care insurance, durable power of attorney, existing funeral arrangements and living wills.

A major issue for GLBT respondents was the lack of a support system, especially for an emergency. However, more than two-thirds of these respondents said they have a “chosen family” of friends to support them.

Given that the older portion of this group was around during the gay-rights movement, look for them to be more proactive on these and related financial and healthcare issues as they age, said officials from MetLife’s Mature Market Institute.

Some of the study’s findings:

  • 60 percent of GLBT Boomers fear being unable to care for themselves as they age; 35 percent fear becoming dependent on others.
  • Nearly two-thirds of GLBT Boomers say they have a "chosen family," a group of people they consider family, even though they are not legally or biologically related.
  • Nearly half of the GLBT Boomers and four in 10 Boomers from the general population say they don't expect to retire until age 70 or older.
  • Men in both the GLBT and general population are nearly as likely as women to be giving care to another adult.


To download the complete study, click here.

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