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Directed by Kelly Teacher for The Advocate and Merrill.
Nikki Weiss-Goldstein and Jill Goldstein first met as kids at summer camp, but it wasn't until decades later that they reunited, fell in love, and started their family. The two are also successful in their careers as entrepreneurs, so they have both a personal and practical understanding of why it's essential to protect your rights and assets for the future.
"Financial freedom is not a windfall. It is definitely not winning a lottery. I think for us, our financial freedom has been our hard work and our planning and our commitment to savings," explains Nikki. "I always tell my children that it's like you pay your bills first and you pay yourself second, and we've been really strategic in how we plan for our future."
That's a story that many in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to. According to Merrill's Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the LGBTQ+ Community study of affluent LGBTQ+ individuals, 23 percent of unmarried affluent LGBTQ+ individuals plan to get married, compared to 10 percent of the unmarried general population.
Starting a family is a major financial commitment for all people, especially those within the LGBTQ+ community. "For us, savings is really important," Nikki says. "We have had events in our lives that maybe a normal couple would not have had. Planning for children was a big financial expenditure for us. Something that insurance didn't cover, funnily enough, because we needed a doctor to help us get pregnant."
Not only is the cost of starting a family on the minds of affluent LGBTQ+ individuals, but so is being able to take care of their dependents after they've passed on. According to the study, 20-to-34-year-olds also stated that an important financial goal is to leave an inheritance to their family.
All of these are reasons why Nikki and Jill advise being proactive about protecting your financial security and family. "I would say to any LGBTQ+ couple, when you are starting to save, talk to each other. Plan together. Save together. Spend together. And enjoy your finances, but also protect them together," says Nikki.
To learn more about Merrill's study "Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the LGBTQ+ Community" visit ML.com/Diversity.