Directed by Kelly Teacher for The Advocate and Merrill.
LGBTQ+ people know something about blazing trails, cultivating personal identities, and building a unique culture. With all of that comes a specific set of challenges and benchmarks for leading happy and successful lives. This is especially true as the percentage of the population who identify as LGBTQ+ grows. Only 69 percent of Gen Z-ers now identify as “exclusively heterosexual” as compared to 92 percent of Baby Boomers, according to the Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the LGBTQ+ Community study of affluent LGBTQ+ individuals, recently released by Merrill. Not only that, but members of the community are becoming increasingly affluent. Merrill's research furthers the brand's commitment to understanding the diverse experiences and financial paths of the communities in which we live and work. And, the research explores how our culture, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression influence our perspectives on wealth, money, and success.
Merrill’s research shows that the affluent LGBTQ+ community — those with an annual household income of more than $125,000 — has grown by 76 percent compared to five years ago, versus 53 percent for the same segment of the general population. Perhaps more than ever, it’s become crucial for queer individuals to have access to (and understand the importance of) financial planning to be able to achieve all their goals. In its study, Merrill learned that while members of the LGBTQ+ community might share similar financial milestones with the general population — goals like getting a first job, buying a home, marriage, and starting a family — they tend to achieve these milestones later in life and are also more optimistic about their ability to achieve them.
The Advocate’s new Milestones video series, produced in partnership with Merrill, highlights leaders in the LGBTQ+ community who fight for our rights and well-being every day — and who have achieved important goals in their lives. In the series, Dr. C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (and who was recently named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune and a Champion of Pride by The Advocate), provides her insights on home buying and job protections for LGBTQ+ identified people. Nikki Weiss-Goldstein and Jill Goldstein share how they’ve protected their family both legally and financially since getting married and having children. Don Quaintance, Men’s Circle founder and a 2021 Advocate Champion of Pride, discusses his history of advocacy and the importance of giving back to the community. Finally, Trans Housing Coalition founder and director Feroza Syed discusses access to housing and healthcare as important drivers of financial freedom.
By sharing the personal experiences of LGBTQ+ leaders who have achieved key milestones in their lives, The Advocate and Merrill hope to ignite a conversation that drives change and inspires all people within the LGBTQ+ community to chart their own path to financial freedom.
To learn more about Merrill’s study “Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the LGBTQ+ Community” visit ML.com/Diversity.