Post-Windsor: Retirement Planning for Same-Sex Couples

IRI Research: Same-Sex Couples Require Financial Planning Assistance

New Study Provides First Look at Same-Sex Couples’ Retirement Planning Attitudes Post-DOMA, Many Motivated to Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today released new research results providing a first look at same-sex couples’ retirement planning attitudes and behaviors in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As a result of the decision, which will lead to sweeping changes in retirement, estate and tax planning for same-sex couples, IRI found that four in 10 same-sex couples are motivated to make financial plans, but 86 percent acknowledge that they require assistance with some aspect of financial planning.  

“Marriage is one of those life changes that require a complete holistic review of financial plans and decisions,” said Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO. “As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, many same-sex couples are now considered married under federal law. This change, essentially overnight, altered the retirement planning landscape for these couples. For those who are not yet married, many now plan to do so. These events will lead numerous couples to seek the assistance of a financial professional to help navigate both changes to personal circumstances and the application of federal law.” 

Key findings from the report:

  • Retirement planning is the top area that same-sex couples require financial assistance. About half of survey respondents indicated they need help in this area. Investing, tax planning, estate planning and general financial management are other areas that same-sex couples require financial assistance. 
  • Nearly nine in 10 have money saved for retirement, and 78 percent have added to their retirement savings during the past year. Overall, the median amount of retirement savings is $183,700. Yet, seven in 10 lack full confidence in having sufficient savings to live comfortably in retirement.
  • About a quarter of same-sex couples are uncertain as to when they will retire, and 40 percent have not determined how much they will need to save to live comfortably in retirement.
  • Four in 10 say they are not knowledgeable about investing in securities, and another 46 percent are only somewhat knowledgeable. 
  • As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, 46 percent of unmarried same-sex couples plan to marry, and six in 10 same-sex couples in civil partnerships plan to marry. 
  • Respondents overwhelmingly said that the financial services industry can best serve them by treating them like anyone else. 
The IRI research report is based on a survey of 504 lesbian and gay adults who are either married, not-married/living together, civil partners, engaged or separated. Respondents reside in jurisdictions that allow same-sex marriages. 

The full report is available HERE.