Shining a light on the unique financial challenges of LGBT community
December 07, 2015 — NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prudential (NYSE:PRU) today released its latest thought leadership in the LGBT space, a video highlighting the wide-range of financial implications for the LGBT community since the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, extended the rights of same-sex couples to marry in all fifty states.
“Financial and economic stability is a major focus of the work we’re doing at The Center,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and one of the luminaries featured in Prudential’s new video.
“We’ve been very proud to partner with Prudential over the years in supporting the LGBT community by providing the tools and resources people need to be financially secure, and this work reflects their steadfast commitment to our shared objective.”
LGBT Financial Experience
In 2012, Prudential launched the “LGBT Financial Experience,” part of Prudential’s signature research series that examines financial priorities and behaviors among America’s diverse communities. The next edition of the survey, which will measure how financial trends and attitudes in the LGBT community have evolved since 2012, is scheduled for release in 2016.
In July of this year, Prudential released “Financial Planning Considerations for LGBT Couples After U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges.” The white paper was an update to the January 2015 “Financial Planning Considerations for Same-Sex Couples After Windsor,” which the firm originally launched in March of 2014.
“The marriage equality decision earlier this year has already had a huge impact on the LGBT community,” James Mahaney, author of both papers and vice president, Strategic Initiatives at Prudential, said. “But now is the time for LGBT couples to start taking action. This new video showcases LGBT households across America and how the decisions may personally impact them and what they need to do now.”
Mahaney says a number of financial planning opportunities have emerged with these historic decisions, including in the areas of:
- Social Security
- Workplace benefits
- Retirement preparation
- Estate and gift planning
- Tax filing status
Want more information on the paper? Visit our Research & Perspectives web site to watch our latest video, download a copy of the paper, explore the infographic or download a copy of the post-Windsor and Obergefell checklist.
Excerpt: A Post-Windsor, Post-Obergefell Checklist
Here’s a quick checklist for same-sex married couples in the Obergefell v. Hodges rulings.
Workplace Benefits: Healthcare
• Spousal healthcare. Check to see whether you or your spouse can receive better or less expensive healthcare benefits by joining the other’s workplace plan.
• Tax-favored healthcare accounts. Consider using Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for qualified healthcare expenses of a same-sex spouse.
Workplace Benefits: Retirement Plans
• Defined benefit pension plans. If you participate in a defined benefit pension plan at work, review your beneficiary designation to ensure it reflects your current intention. If you have named a non-spouse beneficiary, your spouse must provide written consent, as non-spouse beneficiary designations done without consent will be deemed invalid.
• Defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k)s). Review your beneficiary designation to ensure it reflects your current intention. If you have named a non-spouse beneficiary, your spouse must provide written consent, as non-spouse beneficiary designations done without consent will be deemed invalid.
Workplace Benefits: Other
• Group life insurance. Consider enrolling your spouse for voluntary group life insurance if your employer makes it available.
• Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts. If you and your spouse both utilize these accounts, recognize that the maximum that can be deposited each year is reduced from $10,000 (for two single individuals) to $5,000 (for a married couple).
• Miscellaneous benefits. Review additional employee benefits such as retirement planning services, employee discounts, and the use of certain employer-provided athletic facilities, to see if your spouse can utilize them.
Financial Planning: Healthcare
• Individual healthcare. If applying for a policy through an exchange because your employer does not offer coverage, and your spouse’s employer does not offer coverage to workers’ spouses, calculate your eligibility for premium tax credits and subsidies based on your combined income.
• Medicare. If one spouse will not have the minimum of 40 quarters to qualify for coverage at age 65, recognize that Medicare coverage can become available based on the other spouse’s work history.
wake of the Supreme Court’s United States v. Windsor and
Workplace Benefits: Social Security
• Social Security filing status. If you are ready to file for spousal or survivor benefits, look for ways to optimize your benefits as a married couple.
Workplace Benefits: IRAs, Taxes and Life Insurance
• Regular IRAs. If you have a regular IRA, consider updating your beneficiary to your spouse, if you have not already done so. If you wish to contribute to a regular IRA, determine whether you can make deductible contributions based on the combined income and workplace retirement plan availability of both spouses.
• Roth IRAs. If you have a Roth IRA, consider updating your beneficiary to your spouse, if you have not already done so. If you wish to contribute to a Roth IRA, determine whether you can make contributions based on the combined income of both spouses.
• Spousal IRAs. If you file a joint tax return, consider contributing to a spousal IRA. If neither spouse has a retirement plan at work, contributions will be tax deductible.
• Estate and gift planning. When creating an estate plan, consider that same-sex married couples (and both spouses are U.S. citizens) can now use the unlimited estate tax marital deduction to pass assets to a surviving spouse without incurring federal estate taxes. When considering making gifts, recognize that gifts and property can be transferred to each other without paying federal income or gift taxes. Same-sex married couples will now also qualify for gift-splitting, meaning each spouse is treated as giving half the property gifted by the other.
• Tax planning. Same-sex married couples can/must now file federal tax returns using the “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” options.
• Life insurance. Same-sex married couples may wish to revisit their life insurance needs. While estate planning needs may now be deemphasized, life insurance can be used to mitigate the financial risk of lost earnings, fund a spouse’s retirement, or pay for the education of a child.
On November 17, Prudential for the 13th consecutive year, earned the highest score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for its programs and practices that support the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, consumers and investors.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of September 30, 2015, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit www.news.prudential.com.