Australians vote ‘yes’ to financial equality
7 November 2017
While the votes for marriage rights are still being tallied, it’s a yes vote for financial wellbeing, with 7 in 10 Aussies saying financial products are designed for traditional relationships.
Australia’s first report into the financial wellbeing of the LGBTQI community reveals nearly 7 in 10 (66%) are more worried about their financial future, on the whole they are less likely to own their own home and they fret about their ability to financially provide for themselves and their family.
The St.George LGBTQI Financial Wellbeing Report, the first of its kind for an Australian financial institution was undertaken to understand the financial needs of this community – including their household finances, overall wealth and financial outlook.
General Manager for St.George Bank Ross Miller says because St.George is by and large a family bank, it feels a strong responsibility to meet the financially diverse needs of Australian families.
“We have adapted many of our products and services to accommodate the diverse nature of Australian families, including seniors and multicultural Australians for example, but we simply did not know enough about the financial needs of the LGBTQI community.”
“Regardless of how the nation votes, change is still possible, and we can still press on to ensure a financially level playing field for the LGBTQI community.”
The report which also compared hetero counterparts found nearly 9 in 10 (85%) of LGBTQI Australians believe financial products are designed for couples in traditional heterosexual relationships and 7 in 10 hetero Australians also believe this.
Worryingly, LGBTQI Australians are not as positive as their hetero counterparts about their financial future, stating they are twice as likely to be single and less likely to share their expenses, assets and retirement savings.
Transgender Australians were a key group facing disadvantage with 9 in every 10 Transgender Australians feeling particularly vulnerable and worried about providing for themselves and their family. They were twice as likely to have experienced discrimination when dealing with a financial institution and the least of all LGBTQI Australians to expect a comfortable retirement.
Lesbian Australians noted they need to save three times more than other Australians to fund IVF or reproductive services.
“The research suggests more LGBTQI Australians are either living, or expecting to live a more frugal retirement than a hetero counterpart and even fewer are living, or expect to live even a ‘comfortable’ retirement.”
LGBTQI Australians are also at a disadvantage in the asset stakes, being 28% less likely to own the home they live in.
“This is perhaps due to the fact three quarters (74%) of LGBTQI Australians feel as though there are only some communities they would feel comfortable living in. And when they do own a home, the average mortgage carried by an LGBTQI owner-occupier is 41% higher compared to other Australians,” says Mr Miller.
Mr Miller says the views of this community are a real eye opener, because on the upside, taking into account age and location differences, LGBTQI Australians stated an annual household income that is 25% higher.
“While the results are concerning, St.George believes that properly tailored financial support could meet these challenges, for example, help LGBTQI Australians with their financial wellbeing earlier in life to relieve their financial concerns later, help save for family planning expenses, or even help a Transgender Australian save for medical expenses.”
“Just like any family with diverse needs and financial challenges, LGBTQI Australians are no different, they need products and services that relate to them as individuals and their circumstances.”
When it comes to celebrating diversity, 83% of Australians believe LGBTQI Australians should have the same rights as everyone else, and 64% of Australians think life is harder for LGBTQI Australians than for heterosexual Australians.
In comparison, 85% of LGBTQI Australians believe this.
On diversity and the rights of LGBTQI Australians
· 8 in 10 (83%) of Australians believe LGBTQI Australians should have the same rights as everyone else, with 5 in 10 (48%) strongly agreeing
· Two thirds (64%) of Australians believe life is harder for LGBTQI Australians than heterosexual Australians
· Nearly 6 in every 10 (58%) of Australians agree LGBTQI Australians make our nation richer and more diverse
· Three quarters (74%) of LGBTQI Australians feel as though there are only some communities they would live in.
On dealing with financial institutions:
· Nearly 9 in 10 (85%) LGBTQI Australians believe financial products are designed for couples in traditional heterosexual relationships
· 7 in 10 hetero Australians also believe this
· 3 in 10 (29%) of LGBTQI Australians have faced discrimination when dealing with a financial institution in Australia
· Transgender Australians are twice as likely (56%) to have faced discrimination from financial institutions in Australia
· 7 in 10 (69%) of LGBTQI Australians believe they require a unique approach to ensure a level playing field with other Australians.
On home ownership:
· LGBTQI Australians are 28% less likely to be home owner-occupiers than hetero Australians (42%; cf. hetero 59%).
· Instead, they are 31% more likely than their hetero counterparts to be renting (43%; cf. hetero 33%)
· The average property value for an LGBTQI Australian is 15% higher than a hetero Australian
· The average mortgage carried by an LGBTQI owner-occupier was 41% higher than for other Australians.
On family finances:
· The annual household income is 25% or $22,389 higher for an LGBTQI household
· One third (32%) of LGBTQI Australians agree they earn more money and are richer than other Australians due to fewer family responsibilities
· More than half (56%) of LGBTQI Australians would like to have children or more children at some stage in their life.
· The benefit of sharing with a partner and receiving help from kids in retirement is significantly more pronounced for hetero Australians than their LGBTQI counterparts (63% vs LGBTQI 39%)
· LGBTQI men are the least likely to benefit from sharing with partner and/or kids (36%; vs hetero men 64%, hetero women 63%, LGBTQI women 41%)
· 9 in every 10 Transgender Australians are worried about being able to financially provide for themselves and their family
· Transgender Australians are the most likely (58%) to expect to incur major out-of-pocket medical expenses, as well as the most likely to expect cosmetic surgery related expenses in the next 10 years (30%)
· Lesbian Australians are significantly more likely to incur expenses related to payments for IVF or reproduction related services (including fostering / adoption) than the average (30%; cf. 11%)