5 Financial Conversations LGBTQ Couples Should Have

Some of my fondest memories include sitting around the kitchen table playing “The Game of Life” with our children. Reminiscing about those afternoons, I realize Milton Bradley’s board game provided a handy roadmap to the types of financial conversations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) couples should have right now.

The Game of Life

The Game of Life imitates real life by mapping a person’s travels from college to retirement, including career, marriage and possibly children along the way. The spin of a wheel advances the player along the board—and our kids would have ongoing commentary on life’s milestones.

“Oh, no! My husband and I are going to live in a house! That’s expensive.”

“Cool! My wife and I are going to rent apartments around the world!”

“We’re going to work really hard for a while, live simply, retire early and then volunteer for a charity that saves animals.”

These innocent and sometimes humorous remarks also represented a narrative on key milestones that many of us take for granted as we plan our futures, especially with partners and spouses. That’s particularly true for LGBTQ couples who, as research shows, typically face income gaps and have less confidence in their financial knowledge than other couples.1 And if those challenges are exacerbated by different saving and spending styles or life expectations, the results can wreak havoc on the couple’s relationship and financial future.

Whether you’re getting ready to tie the knot, purchase property, move in together or take some other important life step with your partner, it’s generally a good time for an open and honest discussion about money. Of course, broaching the topics of spending, saving and investing with the love of your life isn’t always comfortable, yet understanding your financial styles now can prevent serious conflict and disagreement later. You should never let your financial wellness be determined by a spin of the wheel.

Here are five financial conversations LGBTQ couples should have now.

  1. How will we make decisions about saving and spending?
    Perhaps you put away every financial gift you’ve ever received, but your partner likes to spend money and make luxurious splurges. It’s important to find a middle ground so that you can build a nest egg for your future but also enjoy the occasional indulgence. Consider creating a budget that meets the needs of both partners and discuss how you’ll make decisions about bigger purchases.
  2. What are our lifestyle goals?
    This is a great opportunity to daydream together. How do you picture your future? Where will you live? Do you plan to have a big house and an expensive car, or live more modestly? You may find that each of you has expectations that the other didn’t realize. If you have different income levels, how will you divide responsibility for paying mortgages, loans and bills? Define your vision for your future together, then address the realities of how you’ll make your dreams come true.
  3. What causes are important to each of us?
    For some people, philanthropy and supporting various causes is a way of life. For others, giving back is nice to do but not crucial. If this part of your life is important to you, but your partner wants to use the money for other purposes, you may need to resolve that difference in expectations and find a solution that can work for both of you.
  4. Is there anything we haven’t disclosed to each other about our financial histories?
    Past financial mistakes or issues can be hard to talk about. But if you or your partner has poor credit, enormous debt or a problematic shopping habit, both of you may be affected. Credit and debt ratios can have an impact on everything from your ability to secure a mortgage to whether you get the best rate on your insurance policy. Your credit history may even affect your job prospects. Sharing your financial secrets with each other now—difficult and possibly embarrassing as it might be at times—can help you determine viable solutions rather than being blindsided later by the unexpected.
  5. What are our investment styles and risk tolerance?
    Some investors lose sleep when the stock market dips, while others want to go for growth, regardless of exposure to downside risk. Perhaps you want to invest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) stocks to align your investments with your values, while your partner is more focused on growth, regardless of where it comes from. Discuss what’s important to you about your investing strategies, and work on creating a plan that works for both of you.

Just as The Game of Life can be full of surprises, discussing each other’s “rules” and expectations can help you avoid some of the pitfalls and help you arrive at a winning outcome.

We can help with the financial conversations

If you’re concerned about discussing your financial future with your partner, contact your Corient Wealth Advisor for suggestions on how to start these tricky conversations.


1 http://corporate.prudential.com/media/managed/PrudentialLGBT2016-2017.pdf


Lisa Neira, CFP

Lisa Neira, CFP

Wealth Advisor

Lisa is a Wealth Advisor in our Morristown, NJ, office. Lisa joined legacy firm RegentAtlantic in 2021, bringing over 15 years of experience in wealth management and providing financial advice to high-net-worth individuals and families. She advises clients on financial planning, tax planning and investment management to help them achieve their financial goals leading up to and through retirement. Lisa specializes in working with LQBTQIA+ clients and their families, and understands the unique financial challenges this community generally faces. She also serves as a LGBTQIA+ planning resource to other advisors across the firm. She is a featured speaker and has been quoted in financial news media, including Asset TV, Barron’s Advisor and InvestmentNews. Lisa holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. She graduated from Richard Stockton School of New Jersey, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Studies with a concentration in finance and economics. Prior to joining RegentAtlantic, Lisa was a VP, Wealth Planner at Fidelity Investments. Lisa resides in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, with her wife, Mindy Neira and their daughter Jackson. She enjoys traveling, cooking for her family, running around with her puppy, Avery, and watching her favorite sports teams. She is an avid fan of the Nets, Jets and Yankees.

Barbara Bilello

Barbara Bilello

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Barbara is a Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Morristown, NJ, office. Since 1996, she has provided tailored services and customized advice that help high net worth clients and their families to build and protect their wealth across generations. Barbara joined legacy firm RegentAtlantic in 2017, was named Co-Chair of the firm’s Wall Street Women Forum in 2021, was named as Partner in 2021 and launched the firm’s LGBTQ+ practice. Her previous experience includes positions with U.S. Trust and Goldman Sachs & Co. Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College in Rhode Island. A sought-after speaker on wealth management and an active volunteer, Barbara has helped to provide early learning experiences for young children, raise funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), mentor women and ensure the LGBTQ+ community gets the representation, advice and strategies it needs to succeed. She and her family split their time between Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Asbury Park, NJ.


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