Money arguments are among the most common disagreements for couples. Nearly seven in 10 married or cohabitating Americans have had a disagreement with their partner about finances in the past year, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Today’s uncertain financial environment may be heightening arguments about money for all couples, but LGBTQ+ couples often face additional challenges.
“The current economy is putting a strain on everyone’s finances, but for many members of the LGBTQ community who are already dealing with less pay – as LGBTQ employees in the United States tend to earn 10 cents less per dollar – less savings and greater amounts of student loan and credit card debt, the need to implement a financial plan is vital to helping them secure their future,” says Jill Popovich, senior managing director of client relationships at TIAA.
For such couples, there are many approaches they can take to managing their finances. One potential upside: They don’t have to contend in the same way with gender-based stereotypes around finances. Here’s a look at how three LGBTQ couples divide and manage their money:
Annaleise Kildow (left) and Samantha Hernandez on vacation in Europe(Courtesy of Annaleise Kildow and Samantha Hernandez)
Samantha Hernandez, 27, and Annaleise Kildow, 23
Hernandez and Kildow just bought a house in Savannah, Georgia, where they live with their dogs, Ollie, Peach and Finn, and their cat, Leo. Hernandez is a self-employed money coach specializing in queer clients and Kildow is a social media content creator.
Money conversations: At least every week.
Money approach: The couple maintains monthly individual budgets as well as a shared budget for groceries, pet food, home goods and other joint expenses, such as the mortgage and other bills.
Short-term financial goals: Hernandez and Kildow want to rent out a room in their new two-bedroom home and renovate a shed on the property into a studio.
Long-term financial goals: Eventually, the couple wants to buy and rent out a second property in Savannah. Then, they’ll move to Europe and live off the income from those rental properties.
Biggest money challenge: Savings. Hernandez is an entrepreneur with a fluctuating income and Kildow is a new grad who doesn’t earn much money yet.
Best money advice for other couples: Have open dialogues around money, and don’t approach the subject with a negative or judgmental attitude.
Peter Molnar (left) and Kevin Polite at the Atlanta High Museum(Courtesy of Peter Molnar and Kevin Polite)
Kevin Polite, 60, and Peter Molnar, 55
Polite and Molnar have been together for 18 years and married for the past eight. Polite is a real estate investor and developer and Molnar is a data scientist with a large tech company. They live in Decatur, Georgia.
Money conversations: Whenever it comes up – and it comes up often.
Money approach: The couple has shared bank accounts and share all their assets. They talk about big purchases before making them.
Short-term financial goals: To pay off the mortgage on their home before Polite turns 62.
Long-term financial goals: The couple wants to make sure they have a comfortable retirement, living off both their retirement savings and the income from their rental properties.
Biggest money challenge: Keeping their spending on track.
Best money advice for other couples: Don’t be scared to talk about money. It’s important to understand the financial goals of your partner, and the earlier you have those conversations the better.
Daniella (left) and Alexandra Flores posing in front of Puget Sound(Courtesy of Daniella and Alexandra Flores)
Daniella, 32, and Alexandra, 46, Flores
The Floreses have been married for six years and together for eight. They both work in IT and live in a house they own (with a mortgage) in Washington State with their two dogs, Jojo and Penny, and five cats, Little Badness, Tux, Mew, Victor and Little Girl.
Money conversations: Everyday.
Money approach: The Floreses combine their assets in a single bank account and use a shared spreadsheet to keep track of their bills and adjust their budget if they’re spending more than they’d like in each month.
Short-term financial goals: Max out their 401(k)s and start investing through a brokerage account. They also want to build up their emergency fund.
Long-term financial goals: The couple wants to move to a property with more land for their animals, and while they may not retire, would like to save enough money so that work is optional.
Biggest money challenge: Health care costs. Daniella has a side gig managing a financial literacy website that they would like to turn into their full-time job, but they are worried about the cost of insurance if they were to become self-employed. While they could get insurance through Alexandra’s employer, it would cost about three times as much.
Best money advice for other couples: Start talking about money with each other often, especially about your money insecurities and their origins. Then talk about how you can help each other get past those insecurities and money mindset blocks as you work toward your goals.