LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to suffer poverty in retirement
In recent years, significant strides have been made towards LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. However, beneath the surface of these advancements lies a stark reality that needs urgent attention: financial security in retirement for the LGBTQ+ community. Startling new data from the UK reveals that 44% of LGBTQ+ individuals are at risk of not having enough money in retirement to cover basic necessities like food and heating. Factors such as estrangement from family, workplace discrimination, and mental health challenges have created a unique set of hurdles that affect their financial wellbeing. In this blog, we explore these issues and propose ways in which employers can play a pivotal role in shaping a better future for the LGBTQ+ community.
The Struggles Faced by LGBTQ+ Individuals
1. Estrangement from Family
Many LGBTQ+ individuals find themselves estranged from their families due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This often translates into a lack of familial support in times of financial need, including during retirement.
2. Frequent Job Changes
Discrimination and bias experienced by LGBTQ+ employees can lead to frequent job changes as individuals search for more inclusive work environments. These changes disrupt consistent employment and hinder the ability to build a stable financial future.
3. Mental Health Impact
Discrimination and societal pressures contribute to disproportionately high rates of poor mental health among LGBTQ+ individuals. This can lead to increased time off work, reducing the opportunity to contribute to retirement savings.
4. The Financial Anxiety
A staggering 68% of LGBTQ+ individuals worry about running out of money during retirement, surpassing the national average of 57%. This heightened anxiety can be attributed to the unique challenges they face throughout their lives (according to Scottish Widows’ latest retirement report).
How can employers support LGBTQ+ Individuals to achieve a Better Retirement?
1. Creating Inclusive Workplace Policies
Employers have a crucial role to play in addressing these challenges. Implementing and enforcing inclusive workplace policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity can create a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ employees.
2. Promote good Mental Health and wellbeing
By creating an environment where employees feel comfortable raising their mental health issues and seeking help, employers can reduce the negative impact on work attendance and overall productivity.
3. Equal Opportunities for Career Growth
Promote equal opportunities for career growth and advancement within the company. Creating a meritocratic workplace ensures that LGBTQ+ employees are not hindered by bias and can secure stable, well-paying positions that allow for consistent retirement savings.
4. Encourage Financial Education and Planning
Employers can provide resources for financial education and retirement planning tailored to the unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. This includes information about alternative family planning, investment strategies, and navigating the intricacies of retirement savings.
5. Address societal bias and actively drive change
Employers can offer diversity and inclusion training for all employees to create inclusive workplace and to drive change on a larger scale. By actively participating in efforts to address societal biases, discrimination and push for legal reforms, employers can contribute to a more equitable future.
The plight of LGBTQ+ individuals facing financial insecurity in retirement requires a collective effort from employers, communities, and policymakers. By fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment, and by offering workforce training, employers can educate all of their workforce and empower LGBTQ+ employees to secure a better financial future. As we work towards a world of true equality, it’s imperative that we leave no one behind in the journey towards a dignified and safe retirement.