LGBTQ Retirement Savers Need Balance in Their Investment Allocations

Thirty-one percent of LGBTQ respondents to a MassMutual survey acknowledge that they may be taking more risk than they should compared to 22% of other retirees and pre-retirees.

Compared to other retirees and pre-retirees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) Americans are more inclined to see a need to preserve their retirement savings yet are more likely to take bigger risks when it comes to investing, according to a new study from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Retirees and pre-retirees who are LGBTQ are more likely to say they should become more conservative with their money as they approach retirement (42%) than to maintain a more aggressive investment strategy (28%), the MassMutual LGBTQ Retirement Risk Study finds. Yet, 65% of LGBTQ respondents describe their investment mix as growth- rather than preservation-oriented compared to 52% of the general population.

Thirty-one percent of LGBTQ respondents acknowledge that they may be taking more risk than they should compared to 22% of other retirees and pre-retirees. Meanwhile, 17% of both LGBTQ respondents overall and LGBTQ retirees say they want their retirement investments to significantly outperform the market compared to 13% of the general population overall and 9% of general population retirees.

“MassMutual’s study shows that many LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees may benefit from consulting a financial adviser about their retirement investment goals, something less than half currently do, and may benefit from help leading into retirement and securing their finances through retirement.,” says Catherine Cannon, head of Personal Markets at MassMutual. “Of those respondents in our study who do work with  a financial adviser, six in 10 say their adviser has encouraged them to change their investment mix and 87% of those folks were advised to become more conservative as they enter retirement.”

Overall, LGBTQ pre-retirees plan to retire later than the general population and are likely to expect that their retirement income will last at least as long as needed. While retirees and pre-retirees overall expect to live 24 years in retirement, the study finds, LGBTQ respondents say they expect to spend two fewer years retired.  Both the general population and LGBTQ respondents peg their retirement savings to last 25 years.

Despite being relatively confident in their financial prospects in retirement, stock market volatility and a major downturn in the stock market seem worrisome for the LGBTQ community as people approach or live in retirement. Nearly three-quarters of LGBTQ respondents (74%) expressed concern about volatility, with 27% saying they are “very concerned.” However, LGBTQ respondents indicate greater comfort in taking investment risk, with only 20% willing to accept “below average” or “low investment returns” in exchange for greater safety, according to the study.

“One strategy that may help some LGBTQ retirement savers balance investment goals such as growth and safety is the use of target date funds (TDFs) when available through their employer’s 401(k) or other retirement savings plan,” Cannon suggests.