Money and financial matters are not the only challenges; networking and making new friends can become difficult the older we become. Accessibility and technology are two significant factors isolating many from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and all those that identify within the sexuality or gender scale.
The content within this page aims to provide high-level descriptions of the main and relevant terms and concepts concerning many of the available financial products and social networking tools. At the same time, we will also look at the issues directly affecting older people from within the LGBTQIA+ community.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of financial products available worldwide. Though many are unique and offer specific and tailored benefits, they can often be categorised and grouped by the product’s aims.
Typically, you will hear two key terms within retirement planning: insurance and assurance. Insurance relates to products designed to protect you against what might happen. Events that are not guaranteed and may never occur during the period the policy covers. Insurance products will cover assets such as cars, homes and businesses. Life insurance often covers seemingly healthy people until a certain point. Products designed to offer financial protection for people and families should the worse happen.
The term assurance describes products that cover an event that will occur or happen at some point. Products such as retirement annuities pay a regular sum or whole of life policy, guaranteeing that a fixed amount is paid out, regardless of when you die. So, to summarise, insurance products provide protection against what might happen. In contrast, assurance products are designed to provide financial certainty for events occurring at some point.
The cost of many retirement products will depend on your age, gender, health and risk profile. We have created several tips and guides to help you with any retirement planning ideas.
Property is usually one of the largest assets, making up a considerable proportion of our estate. Many of us will have had loans and mortgages to purchase our properties. As we get closer to retirement, typically, there is little or no money owed to any lenders. Many options are available if you want to downsize or would prefer to live your remaining life in your home. The main ones to consider:
- Retirement apartments, condominiums and houses – many housing companies have developed retirement villages and complexes. The properties will usually be offered at a reduced rate for people over a certain age. Some facilities may permit people aged 50 and over, while others may require that you are 60 and over. The properties will provide you with independent living. The only difference to standard housing is that they will be clustered together with other properties and owners in a similar situation as you. Retirement properties are usually sold or available to rent to all those that qualify
- Downsizing or adapting accommodation – depending on the size of the property, some people may decide to downsize their property. Usually, selling a larger property and purchasing one that is smaller and more manageable. People with mobility issues, especially those who live in multi-storey buildings, may opt to buy or rent properties where the entire property is situated over a single floor or storey
- Equality release or reverse mortgages – for those wishing to remain in their property but are seeking to release some or all of the available equity in their home. Many may consider one of the many available equity release products. One such product is equality-release mortgages, which are similar to standard mortgages. The main difference between an equity release and a traditional mortgage is how it is repaid. Standard mortgages work on the principle that you borrow a large sum of money and repay it over many years with compounded interest. With equality release, you will borrow money based on your property’s value. Rather than repaying the mortgage monthly, the amount you borrow will grow with compounded interest. Upon your death, the total amount owed, which has been increasing over the years, is taken from the sale of your property. With most equity-release products, you can live in your home for the remainder of your life. Some providers permit the property to be rented out if you have to go into long-term care, providing a way of funding some of your care costs. Many equality release providers have established caps whereby the value will never exceed the property’s value. It is vital to confirm if this clause exists for any products you might be considering within your country; otherwise, your estate might be required to pay more than the value of your property
- Equity Release Reversions – unlike equality-release mortgages, a reversion involves selling part or all of your property. The equity release reversion provider will offer an amount that will depend on the property’s value and how much you want to sell to the provider. Suppose you want to release half of your property’s value. You can sell the desired percentage, with the rest remaining in trust for your estate, the money you want to leave to friends, family and charities when you die. With equity release reversions, you can remain living within your property until death. Upon death, the property is sold, and the provider will only receive the value linked to the percentage they own. For example, if the provider owned 50% of the property and say the property was sold for one hundred thousand dollars, they would only receive fifty thousand dollars. The reversion plan will typically offer clients some certainty around how much of their property is owned and how much is left for their estate
- Additional income – especially for those with larger properties who might seek to supplement their income by renting out rooms. Long-term lodgers offer short-term let arrangements such as exchange students or vacation rentals. It is not only rooms; however, those older people living close to cities may rent out car parking and storage spaces on a short-term basis. For those looking for company, this can be a means of meeting a wide range of people while simultaneously supplementing their income. Factors to consider, especially if a person is vulnerable or needs constant care, this route might not be advisable. With any additional income, it is worth assessing if it adversely impacts the amount of tax you pay on your income, which will include any pension payments you receive
Many of us will keep our money in trusted banks and financial institutions. However, the amount you hold within any given bank account or institution can be risky. Since the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007, many countries worldwide have increased the limits or put protection known as deposit insurance. The insurance means that should any financial institution fail, any amounts you hold with that institution would be protected up to a specific limit.
For example, in the United Kingdom, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects the amount held in a bank account up to eighty-five thousand British pounds and one hundred and seventy-five thousand British pounds for joint account holders. Suppose you had two hundred thousand British pounds in your bank account. In that case, only eighty-five thousand would be guaranteed. The remaining one hundred and fifteen thousand British pounds would be at risk and might never be recovered.
In the United States of America, any financial institution members of the scheme provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation offer protection. Participating members can guarantee up to two hundred and fifty thousand US dollars per depositor which would be protected. Those countries that have deposit insurance will likely offer different levels of protection. You must establish the levels of protection within your country, if any exist. You should also establish the process you would follow if any bank or financial institution you use should fail.
You can protect your savings in many ways. The first is to establish the levels of protection offered by a specific bank or financial institution. Suppose the amount you hold in your savings is greater than any protection available. In that case, you could open one or more accounts with different banks and financial institutions. For example, say you had savings of five hundred thousand US dollars in Bank A in the USA. You could keep two-hundred and fifty thousand with Bank A, create a new account with Bank B and transfer the remaining two-hundred and fifty thousand to the new account. If one or both banks failed, you would receive the full two hundred- and fifty-thousand-dollar protection on both accounts.
This approach would mean that all of your money would be protected. As the rules and restrictions will differ in each country and may change over time, it is advisable to speak to a financial advisor on the best ways and means to protect your money.
Other ways could be tax-free products, such as savings plans and bonds. Government-backed bonds and tax-free savings plans usually offer greater protection than standard products. However, some may require you to hold your money within the product for a certain period. Investments, equity, cryptocurrencies, and shares are viable options; however, you may have to keep your money within the investment for a certain period, like with bonds. Like with all financial products, there are often risks associated. Risks such as the value of the investment increasing or decreasing over time and any tax implications. It is crucial that before you move your money or invest in a product or service, you are sure you are dealing with a recognised and financially regulated organisation. In addition, you understand all of the risks associated with your chosen investment or strategy.
With all investments, shares and stocks you might hold, you must keep associated documentation in a specific location, such as a safe. It would help if you informed your executor of the location of the documentation. The executor will handle your estate when you die. They must be made aware and have access to all documentation and share certificates. Suppose the executor is unaware of specific investments or savings. In that case, there is a risk that they could be overlooked, and they may never form part of your overall estate and, in some cases, even take years to resolve.
If you are unsure, confused about any financial matters or believe you are being coerced into a specific approach or scheme. Please contact a financial advisor or the police within your area immediately if you feel a crime is or could be committed against you.
For older LGBTQIA+ members, especially ones where they might not have children or a next of kin, products such as equity release can offer a way of releasing money tied up in their property, as well as allowing them to live in their home for the remainder of their lives. Though many of these products offer a way of unlocking cash, you must shop around. Take your time to compare what is being offered to you against what is available from other providers. You can use comparison services or ask the financial advisor to provide various offers. Suppose a financial adviser works exclusively with one or a few providers. In that case, it is vital to establish that upfront, ensuring that you are getting the best amount for your property. It is essential you understand any terms and conditions for many property solutions, including equity release.
It is important to understand your chosen solution’s conditions, such as any restrictions when living in a retirement village or what happens to the property when you die. If you cannot find these clauses or conditions, do not be afraid to ask the financial adviser or agent. Typically, these will be stated clearly in your contracts or related financial schedules. If any of them are not clear, ask for a more straightforward explanation from a representative linked to the product or service.
Many of the points raised relating to deposit insurance should be considered when it comes to savings. Your legal relationship status and recognition are also significant considerations. If inheritance tax exists within your country, typically, if you are married or in a civil partnership, any money or assets transferred to your spouse or partner upon death would be tax-free. However, if you are unmarried, you would likely be subject to tax. Any tax due may even result in the sale of the property you share.
Access to personal finances is another important consideration. If you are married and a will is in place, your spouse or legally recognised partner would be able to contact the various financial intuitions to access any funds. You may have a number of accounts with funds, even shared funds, that might be held in your name only. If you are unmarried and do not have a joint account with your partner, it would be much more difficult for them to access your or any money you share. Depending on your relationship status, you should consider what might happen to your partner if you die.
If unmarried, you might consider opening a joint account where some of your money is held. Suppose you want to leave your money and property to your partner upon your death. In that case, you should consider creating a will and, if the property is shared, ensuring it is in both your names, if appropriate. A specialist financial adviser experienced in LGBTQIA+-related matters will likely be able to provide more tailored advice to your situation and circumstances.
Insurers offer products designed to protect against specific situations and circumstances. The insurer will conduct a risk assessment to establish the likelihood of you making a claim now or at any point in the future. The greater the risk of you making a claim, the higher the insurance cost or premium, as it is known, will likely be if the cover is provided at all. The assessment process is known as underwriting. An underwriter is a person who will carry out the assessment, evaluating and assessing the risks associated with an application and will determine the overall risk level. The underwriter and underwriting process are critical in any decision-making relating to an application. If an application is approved, you will be issued a policy that includes the schedule.
The schedule states what is and what is not covered within your policy. The term liability describes what you or the insurer are legally responsible for concerning the policy. The policy is the term used to describe the legal agreement between you and the insurer. Anyone who buys insurance is known as the insured or policyholder.
So, insurance products offer financial protection for a specific purpose or activity. It is done so based on the risk profile and level of protection. Now we have explored the main terms, let us now look at some of the main types of insurance available:
- Life Insurance – a product ultimately designed to protect you and your family against any financial exposure that you may have. Life insurance is typically linked to a term (a duration). Should the insured person die at any point during the period covered by the insurance, the insurer will pay out an agreed amount. Life insurance is typically used when someone borrows a large sum of money for a loan or mortgage, especially when a person has individuals dependent on them financially. The duration and amount covered will determine the cost of any cover provided. Available within life insurance is the critical illness cover, a feature that should you be diagnosed with a serious illness, one with a low chance of survival, the insurer will pay out ahead of your death, giving you financial peace of mind
- Vehicle or Car Insurance – a product designed to protect your vehicle or car from theft or damage. The insurance policy will cover the vehicle’s value. The policy will typically pay out if your vehicle is stolen, enabling you to buy a new car. Suppose you are involved in an accident, whether the accident is your fault or not. In that case, insurance will likely cover parts or all the costs to repair any vehicle involved in the accident. Excess describes the amount you will have to pay for any claim. For example, if you had a fifty-dollar excess, it would mean that you would be required to pay the first fifty dollars for any claims made. It is important to note that car insurance is mandatory and a legal requirement for anyone driving on public streets in most countries
- Medical or Health Insurance – a product designed to protect you against any medical assistance you might need. In countries with no national health service, health insurance will likely be required and is often provided as part of a benefits package offered through an employer. When you have medical insurance, should you need urgent medical care, specific treatments or an operation, the insurance would cover part or all medical bills. The term pre-existing and uninsured conditions refer to any conditions you have or had at the point in which you applied for the insurance cover. Typically, pre-existing conditions, unless agreed upon, will not be covered by the insurer. Any exceptions relating to cover will commonly be stated and approved by you when the policy is taken out. It is crucial that if you have a pre-existing condition and change providers, you will likely not be covered for that condition under the terms of your new policy. Before cancelling or moving from your existing medical insurer, it is worth speaking to your current or new insurer. Before cancelling or transferring, make sure that you establish that sufficient protection will be in place before making any changes
- Travel Insurance – a product designed to protect you against potential loss whenever you travel. Whether it is from the travel company going bust or your luggage being lost, travel insurance offers a wide range of protection. Travel cover normally protects part or all of the amounts you paid for the vacation. The insurance will typically include specific values for certain situations, such as the loss of possessions or being stranded due to cancellations. Excesses will likely be stated within the policy; an excess is the agreed amount you would be required to contribute each time a claim is made. Travel insurance coverage and costs will usually be based on a person’s age, health and the type of activity or vacation you plan to undertake. If you are planning to take a cruise, have specific medical conditions or plan to increase the value of your holiday, you would likely need to amend or seek out specialist insurance coverage
- Home or Property Insurance – a product designed to protect you and your home against loss, theft or damage. The insurance is usually split into two areas, the building and the contents. The building element relates to the cost of repairing and rebuilding the property if it is destroyed. The contents element relates to all of the belongings within the property. The belongings or contents would typically include all the items you will own, such as televisions, jewellery and home fixtures. When taking out home insurance, it is important to find out how much it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of a fire or damage. Establishing any rebuild costs enables you to ensure that you have sufficient protection in place. Suppose you have high-valued items. Taking photographs of the items and having them stated and included within your content’s insurance is worthwhile. If the items are stolen, having photographic evidence helps with the police officers handling the crime as well as proof of ownership for the insurer
- Disability, Illness or Income Protection Insurance – products designed to protect people working and those who likely have limited or no long-term sickness benefits. The rules regarding long-term sickness will vary within each country; however, there is often a limit to the amount you can claim and for how long. People will take out this type of cover to ensure that they are financially covered for a more extended period, to ensure that they have sufficient financial support in place should they not be able to work
- Pre-funded Long Term Care Insurance – a product designed to help people protect against any possible or future long-term care costs. The insurance will typically be taken out whilst a person is still relatively healthy and has no immediate need to fund care. The person insured will usually pay a regular fee for the protection, knowing that if they need to fund fare costs in the future, the policy will pay out. Though not all people will need long-term care, for those who never claim, some insurers offer lump-sum payments left to you or your estate
- Immediate Long Term Care Assurance – a product that is more of an assurance than an insurance product. Long-term care costs can often be expensive. They can purchase an immediate long-term care annuity to protect those who need care. The care home resident will buy the annuity with a lump sum payment. The insurer will then typically pay a regular amount to the care provider for a specific period or the remainder of the person’s life. Annuities can be fixed or linked to indices. By linking in this way, the regular amount received from the insurer will likely increase in line with inflation, covering any potential care home price increases. For many people, Long Term Care Annuities can help with estate planning by paying a sum upfront. Paying a single upfront amount means that you and your family will not have to worry about funding care costs now or in the future. There are many long-term care annuities available with many options and features. It is always advisable to speak to a financial advisor who specialises in long-term care, as they will be able to establish the best approach for you based on your circumstances
Though many insurance products cover a wide range of scenarios and, in some cases, can be expensive, they provide the person insured with peace of mind. The knowledge that should the worst-case scenario occur, they will not have to find large sums of money to cover their financial exposure. Insurance should always be purchased based on your specific needs and circumstances. The insurance coverage should be accurate and reflective of your circumstances and situation. Suppose you insured your vehicle for twelve thousand dollars, but your car is only worth eight thousand dollars. In that case, it is most likely that the insurer would only pay out for the value of the vehicle and no more.
One important note relates to transparency and ensuring you have all relevant facts and information to hand when applying for insurance. Especially when it concerns medical matters, you must answer all questions honestly. Listing your medical history accurately and not forgetting to include anything that might be relevant. A policy is a legal contract, so misinforming or withholding information to obtain insurance would be considered fraud. Though you might be insured, if you or your family claim in the future, non-disclosure would result in the insurer not paying out or returning any of the premiums you have paid. The cancelling and annulling of policies due to misinformation is known as non-disclosure. Misinforming the insurer ultimately leaves the person in the same position as if they were never insured in the first place.
Many financial advisors, especially those who tailor their services towards the LGBTQIA+ community, will be aware of the insurers and available products offering suitable coverage. The most important takeaway is to ensure that everything is disclosed, even things you might be embarrassed or worried about discussing. For example, if a person believed they were exposed to a serious STD and decided not to get tested. If they then applied and successfully obtained medical insurance. In that situation, they had likely failed to disclose their potential risk of exposure.
Even though they had not received a diagnosis, they were aware of their exposure and risk of infection. Most would eventually be exposed as, in many cases, the period the person was infected could be established. Even in the worst-case situations, insurance cover is available. However, it will likely not be standard or affordable, and you will need to decide whether you need it or not.
Different pension schemes are available, and many have different approaches and benefits. It is essential that you understand how your pension is invested and the level of risk associated with any investments. Typically, the higher the risk of any given investment, the bigger the reward or loss.
Let us look at some of the main types of pension terms and schemes:
- Defined Contributions (DC) – a pension scheme in which the income you will ultimately receive at retirement depends on how much you and your employer contribute to your pension. The more you invest in your pension fund, the more you will receive in retirement
- Defined Benefits (DB) – a pension scheme in which the amount you receive at retirement is based on how many years you have worked and the salary you held whilst employed. DB pensions have slowly been converted to DC schemes over the years, and fewer are now in existence. If you are within a DB scheme, please speak to a Financial Advisor before making or agreeing to any changes
- Personal Pensions – a pension scheme that you will have personally set up. In some cases (for smaller firms and organisations), your employer may also contribute to your pension fund. Personal pensions will typically be DC schemes and are traditionally used by those individuals who are self-employed or where no corporate plan is available
- State Pensions – many countries worldwide allow citizens to contribute to the state pension. A state pension usually provides a fixed monthly, nationwide amount to pensioners once they reach the official retirement age. To quality, typically, participants have to pay into the scheme over a minimum period or have contributed a minimum amount
Once you have reached retirement age, your pension pot will be ready to mature. It will go from an investment fund to some form of payment mechanism that will pay you a regular amount for the remainder of your life. You will likely receive a monthly, quarterly, or even annual payment directly from the scheme for employer and state pension schemes. For private pensions and some defined contribution schemes, you will likely have to convert the pension fund or pot into some form of payment plan.
There are many mechanisms; however, one of the most common is called an annuity. Annuities are an assurance product whereby you take your pension pot or a proportion of your pension. The fund is given to the financial intuition, typically an insurance company, who, in return, will provide you with a regular amount, usually each month, until the day you die.
Same-sex marriages and civil partnerships formed in countries with legal recognition mean that you would have the same rights and benefits as those within heterosexual marriages. If you live in a country where your union is legally recognised, your spouse or partner would be entitled to your pension. Suppose you are married or have formed a partnership in another country that recognises same-sex marriages or civil partnerships, and the country you reside within does not. In that case, you will need to investigate further.
You will most likely be treated as unmarried in those circumstances, and any spousal benefits you might expect would probably not apply. It is advisable not to have money or assets in countries that do not recognise same-sex relationships. You should consult a lawyer to understand your rights and what you can do to protect your estate when you die.
Suppose you are living with health conditions that affect how long you likely might live. In that case, you should investigate enhanced or impaired life assurance products. Many financial providers offer greater benefits or discounts to those with serious medical conditions, as it will likely affect the duration or length of the plan would pay out.
POAs are not only exclusively used by the elderly or those with degenerative diseases. It is not unusual for someone to grant their lawyer or legal representative power of attorney for overseas properties. The completed POA, in turn, gives the overseas lawyer the approval to sign all legal documentation. Ultimately the power and authority to act on your behalf to complete the purchase.
There are several different types of power of attorneys available; however, POAs typically fall into two categories:
- Ordinary – will typically be self-initiated and usually for a limited time. An ordinary POA might be created to provide an individual with the power to act on your behalf when purchasing an overseas property or to manage your affairs whilst you are unable to do so, such as whilst in hospital, overseas for an extended period or if you have mobility issues or a physical illness
- Lasting or Enduring – a lasting or enduring POA is usually put in place when you can no longer handle your financial affairs, typically due to a loss of mental capacity resulting from illnesses such as dementia. When a lasting or enduring POA is put in place, the appointed person will usually act on your behalf, typically over a long period. With the lasting or enduring power of attorneys, they can be court awarded or self-instigated; however, the person who is assigned POA may have limited or complete control over your finances and any decision making
Appointing a power of attorney gives someone complete control of your money and finances. When you consider the appointment, you must identify someone you can trust and consider limiting their control over any of the powers granted. For example, suppose you need someone to pay your bills and manage your bank account while incapacitated. You might not want them to have the ability and authority to sell your property. In that case, you could state what they can do within the POA. In addition, it is also worth considering adding a timeframe within the POA.
If you know you will be overseas for a year, limit the POA so that it automatically ends upon your return. You can also have more than one Power of Attorney. You could appoint various individuals to act on your behalf for specific tasks, limiting any given person’s overall control.
Power of Attorneys can be can cancelled at any time. Suppose the appointed person is not acting in your best interests. In that case, you must revoke the POA as quickly as possible. Court-appointed POAs can also be cancelled; however, you usually need to file papers with the courts via a legal representative. The courts must be aware of why the approved person failed in their duties.
In all situations, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a trained professional. POAs can be a valuable tool for the elderly, having someone help with paying bills and managing complicated financial matters. However, they can also be problematic if control is handed over to the wrong person. Most appointed persons will often have a specific and specified level of authority to act on your behalf. Suppose there is evidence of wrongdoing, misuse of funds or any other misconduct. In that case, you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible.
Matters relating to end of life refer to any decisions others make regarding our care and what happens to us during an emergency. Think of an emergency where you are unconscious, and the medical professionals need decisions to be made; who will they ask? Usually, medical professionals will contact family members and any next of kin.
Whether your partner, siblings, parents, or even children, they might be asked whether to operate and for them to communicate any wishes you may have previously expressed. Typically, factors include whether or not to resuscitate in certain circumstances and if you should be removed from life support. When thinking about end-of-life matters, you must consider who you might want to make those types of decisions. Not only who to represent you, but also whether they will be recognised and acknowledged in their capacity by medical professionals.
For example, suppose you are married and would prefer your children to decide on your behalf. In that case, the medical professional would likely look to your spouse in the first instance unless you put something in place.
If you believe you need a POA and have people around you that you trust, a POA might be an acceptable route. Before filling out a POA application, consider speaking to a legally trained professional. A legal professional will be able to advise you on your personal situation and how you can protect yourself in the long term. Some of your relationships with any appointees might be strong now. However, you have to plan for what happens if that is not the case in the future.
End-of-life matters are a significant concern for many LGBTQIA+ individuals, especially those who will make decisions on their behalf. Suppose you are in a long-term relationship but are not married or within a union. In that case, you may have to investigate what might happen in a medical emergency and whether your partner would be able to make decisions on your behalf.
The same goes for access, many hospitals restrict access to family members only, and without legal recognition, it could cause problems. It will often depend on the country; however, many hospitals will likely be sympathetic to your situation. Understanding your relationship status would usually mean they would grant access to your partner and allow them to make important decisions. A legally recognised relationship status often guarantees access and decision-making, so establishing how it would work within your area and country is worthwhile.
Access and who makes decisions on your behalf are important factors, especially for older LGBTQIA+ members. Typically, situations where they might be estranged from their families or where family members have been hostile in the past. Suppose a person does not have any appointed or legally recognised representatives. In that case, estranged family members could be asked to make decisions concerning their care.
A will is a legally recognised document that outlines what you want to happen to your money when you die. Though wills are recognised in most countries, many do not follow a uniform approach, convention or standard. That means that a will you produce within one country might not be recognised in another. So, if you have property or money in many countries, you might need a will in each country or domain.
Twenty-one out of two-hundred and thirty-three or 9% of all countries adopted the Washington Convention, also known as the United Wills Convention. Any country signed up to the convention legally recognises a will produced in other countries following the convention. Subject to the will being created using the recommended guidelines. The countries which follow the convention include Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Vatican City, Italy, Libya, Niger, Portugal, Sierra Leone and the USA.
In addition, countries such as France, Iran, Laos, Russia and the UK have signed up to the convention; however, they have not yet enforced it as national law. Suppose you have assets, money or anything of value in one or more countries. In that case, speaking to legally trained professionals is always advisable to understand the rules within a given country. For example, legally recognised children will automatically inherit their parents’ estate in some countries.
Another frequently used term concerning will planning is the estate. The estate is a blanket term typically used to describe everything you own, from any properties to money you have within the bank, effectively anything of value. Once a person passes away, a legal process known as probate starts. Probate is a legal process in which a person’s will is assessed to ensure that it is legitimate and meets the minimum legal standard. If no will exists, people with some connection to you, typically family, can file a claim to part or all of your estate. If there are no claims from family or a will is not in place, usually, the government or state will take the value held within the estate.
During probate, the estate is assessed and valued. Once probate completes, a tax known as Inheritance Tax (IHT) is calculated and, if applicable, taken from the estate’s value and paid to the government. IHT thresholds usually exist in most countries, so no money would be owed if your estate is below the minimum threshold. Those liable to pay IHT can use one of the available financial products to cover part or all IHT costs. Using these products helps protect the estate’s beneficiaries from any taxes due.
The will can also be used to express to loved ones our instructions and desires as to what we want to happen to our bodies once we die. Most people will express their wishes regarding the organs they wish to donate to their final resting place. However, funerals are often expensive, with an average cost of over five thousand US dollars. Even cremated, prices are still relatively high, with an average cost of around four thousand US dollars. One way to plan for funeral costs is via a funeral plan. Typically, you will choose the level of cover (a specified amount) and either pay the plan in regular instalments over many months or as a lump sum. Upon your death, the plan pay-outs to cover some or all of your funeral costs.
Most LGBTQIA+ individuals typically amass wealth throughout their lives. Many have likely worked hard to create financial security, from their homes to their savings. Even if an LGBTQIA+ individual has no family or next of kin, it is still advisable to make a will.
Without one, it could result in all or part of their estate going to the government or estranged family members. Wills are relatively easy to create, and using a legal professional should not be too expensive. Some law firms offer their services at a fixed rate or will provide an estimated cost based on the time it will likely take them to produce the will.
Whether you prefer to leave your money to friends, charities, or even to fund a scholarship is entirely up to you. It is your money to do as you wish. You should never feel threatened or intimated to hand over your money or estate against your will. If you are being intimidated or threatened in any way, contact the police immediately. If the police are unable to assist, contact any local LGBTQIA+ organisations for assistance.
Suppose you plan to spend most of your money during the remainder of your life. In that case, products such as equality release could help you unlock cash tied up in your property. See the savings and property section for more information.
Financial advisors will typically be specialists within specific areas and sectors. Providing their clients with specialist advice and guidance concerning their affairs. The main specialisms include:
- General Financial Planning – general financial advisors, will advise on a wide range of areas and services. Some advisors may work with specialist advisors or refer clients to specialists whenever required
- Mortgage Advisors – financial advisors that specialise in mortgages. Advisors assess their client’s needs and financial situation to find suitable mortgages from the available lenders. Many financial advisors within this sector will carry out pre-assessments to ensure that the individual meets the lender’s criteria before applying
- Investment Advisors – financial advisors that specialise in all things relating to investments. Whether it is stocks and shares on stock exchanges or investment funds, investment advisors will offer client’s recommendations and, in some cases, manage the client’s portfolio
- Long Term Care Advisors – financial advisors that specialise in long-term care needs. Advisors will be able to assess a client’s needs, find them suitable care facilities within their price range and even recommend financial products to reduce their client’s financial exposure
- Equality Release Advisors – similar to mortgage advisors, equality release advisors are trained in working with more vulnerable individuals. The advisor will be able to assess the client’s needs, provide them with recommendations and advice based on their circumstances and ultimately ensure that the client is aware of all of the benefits and risks of any equity release mortgages or reversions they might be considering
- Retirement Advisors – financial advisors with specialist knowledge of pensions, retirement income products, and the underlying investment funds any pension will invest within. Retirement advisors will typically advise clients on the best available products, how to manage them and how much they could invest within their pension. At retirement, advisors will be able to help to arrange for the client to draw an income from the pension fund and make them aware of all laws and regulations concerning retirement financial matters
Some people have been put off using a financial advisor because they believe their finances or estate might be too small or that a financial advisor would be too expensive. Financial advisors can advise even on relatively small estates, providing advice that could save you a lot of money. The cost of a financial advisor can range from affordable to high-end for high-net-worth individuals; however, most typically work in one of three ways:
- Fixed fee – a financial advisor may assess your needs and agree to help you manage your finances for a fixed fee. The fee will be linked to specific tasks and activities, and anything outside of the agreed scope would likely incur further costs
- Commission-based – a financial advisor may receive a commission for any recommended products. The commission would be paid by the financial institution or organisation and might be a one-off payment or a series of payments, even over years
- Hybrid approach – a financial advisor may charge you a lower fixed fee and receive a commission for any products they recommend, paid by the financial institution or organisation
When engaging a financial advisor, it is essential to establish their specialist areas and whether they cover your specific needs, pricing structure, and overall approach. Many countries have created standards that provide greater transparency, showing you what the financial advisor will likely earn from your assessment. Often, fees will be stated within official documentation, such as knowing your customer and client assessment.
Many customer-facing documents will typically outline the advisor’s fee structure and any money they might earn from financial institutions or organisations. Requirements relating to financial advice and advisors will be different in each country. You must carry out independent research in your own country. You must only work with trained and experienced financial advisors and professionals.
Suppose you prefer not to talk to a financial advisor and have specific questions or concerns. In that case, some other organisations and charities will be able to assist. Information is available online and in discussion groups where you can contact people in similar situations. Alternatively, you could speak to charities in your country or area that specialise in representing the elder community.
Though a financial advisor may not identify as a tailored LGBTQIA+ service, it does not mean that they are not gay-friendly or understand a person’s needs from the community. When engaging with a financial advisor, it is worthwhile mentioning upfront, even before arranging a meeting, that you identify as LGBTQIA+ and ask whether they are experienced in the needs of community members. Typically, if an advisor feels they have limited knowledge regarding specific products and services tailored towards the community, they might recommend another financial advisor who is more specialist.
It would help if you were transparent when discussing your financial needs, including any products. For example, with many insurance products, if you fail to disclose all conditions, even minor ones, your insurance policy could become void and will not pay out. Some people may not feel comfortable discussing certain medical conditions or situations with a general advisor. In those circumstances, you might want to consider engaging the services of an LGBTQIA+ specialist financial advisor.
Many fantastic resources relate to elder financial matters, including those specific to the LGBTQIA+ community. Though many websites and tools are informative, it is important to remember that any information provided is general and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances and situation. A qualified advisor or professional will be able to review your case and provide tailored guidance and advice. Do not be afraid to be upfront about your requirements. Lastly, ensure you feel comfortable with any advisors and professionals you employ
EXCEPTIONAL AND DIVERSE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY
The internet, social media and smartphone apps have revolutionised how we interact and connect; however, many apps and services are tailored toward younger audiences. Technology constantly evolves, and with few people available to assist in training older individuals, they are often unable to understand how the various mediums can help. Many of them will often be unaware of others in a similar situation. People who are out there, waiting to meet and connect with them. Many of the available tools could help combat loneliness and isolation if many older LGBTQIA+ individuals had dedicated services available to them and could access these services.
The older we become, the harder it can be to connect and network with people, especially those who are similarly aged and may share similar interests. The many available online services and apps are often tailored toward younger audiences. Many are used for the sole purpose of hooking up or for sexual fetishes and fantasies. With no way of knowing how to connect with these types of people, it can make some feel isolated. In addition, it can often feel isolating and lonely for people living in rural communities or those in hostile countries toward the LGBTQIA+ community.
There are two considerations with networking: the people around you, those within your local area and community, and the wider global LGBTQIA+ community. Though very different, both can offer similar yet different benefits; let us explore each in more detail:
- Local area and community – often, when we speak about the community from an LGBTQIA+ perspective, we refer to the wider community of people with non-traditional gender and sexual identities. However, there are people all around you from all backgrounds, diversities, gender and sexual identities in your local community. Our local areas enable us to connect physically in person with those closest to us. People who may not be similar to us, even those who may not identify the same as us, however, accept us for who we are and want to be friends. Networking amongst the local community is more about making meaningful, often platonic relationships. People who share similar interests to you and who you enjoy spending time with
- The global community – there are billions of people all across the world. The reality is that the world is comprised of people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and different beliefs and attitudes. Even when we live in closed-off or isolated communities, it does not mean we cannot connect and talk with like-minded people from other areas and countries. With the internet becoming much more affordable and devices making video chats and even group conferencing simple, it can be much easier to connect with people worldwide
All sounds great, but when you are older, how can you connect with and finds ways of meeting people looking for friendships or more:
- Local area and community – people fail to investigate by looking into what is available in their local area. Suppose the local community has a newspaper, social media group or even a noticeboard within a community centre. In that case, you will often find a range of activities going on around you. Likely, many activities will not be suitable; however, there might be something you find interesting. From support groups to organised days out, there is often a wide range of events to suit most people. The local government or council usually has dedicated LGBTQIA+ resources for larger cities and more open-minded communities. Online resources and dedicated spaces outline all available social groups, sporting activities and networking opportunities. A few correctly worded phrases in a search engine will usually produce results. Using key phrases such as your town, city or area name followed by LGBT activities will likely flag up some interesting results
- The global community – the international and online community, is usually easier to connect with when looking for like-minded people. Access and availability are quick and easy, given that many smartphone apps and services are available. There are also many other places you can talk, share and connect with other people, often with similar interests. Social media services such as Reddit and even our Gayther Affinity have forums and groups where you can find relevant themes. Subjects and articles relating to areas you that might be of interest. You can also quickly create a group if an area or issue is not currently available or covered. Services such as meetups provide a way to search for online events, where you can search for anything from people looking for group video events about specific subjects to weekly quiz competitions
If none of what you can find online and through various search appeals, you might want to create what you want to see. If you are interested, it is likely others will also be. Online events can widen who can attend, meaning you can attract a more significant and broader audience. If you want to learn more about ways to create events, refer to the activities section
In reality, people like you are looking for the same or similar things. The issue is not about people having no interest in friendships but the method and way you find and meet these types of people. Using hook-up sites will often not achieve your end goal. Even if you have lived in your community your entire life, you might be surprised but what is available.
Even relatively small towns and cities are constantly evolving. Many local people will be creating resources and events that you might not be aware of and have not seen. All you need to do is spend a little time investigating.
Though it can be daunting, do not be afraid to put yourself out there. The more time you spend looking to make meaningful connections, the easier you will find it to make new friends.
Most of the friends and relationships we make are formed whenever we regularly interact with people. Thru our schools, work and activities, the larger the group we come into contact with, the more meaningful connections we tend to form. The older you become, the less opportunity many will have to make meaningful connections. With the loss of friends our age and retirement from our jobs, the opportunities become less and less. Ever decreasing friendship circles results in some becoming isolated and disconnected from society.
Online services and smartphone apps have changed the way we interact with one another. Even though technology adoption with older LGBTQIA+ individuals is an issue, embracing new communication methods can help combat loneliness. One such process of expanding social circles is through shared interests and activities. Whether it is the love of a sport or a hobby, meeting like-minded people in person or online can be a great way to make new friends. Any shared interests mean you already have something in common, enabling you to connect with them on a more meaningful level over time.
Let us now explore some of the ways you can use interests, hobbies and activities to widen your social circles:
- Sporting participation – in many rural and coastal towns, it is common to find older people playing bowls, croquet, darts, table tennis and pool. Many are often inexpensive and require only a moderate amount of effort. Golf, tennis, swimming and aerobics are often enjoyed by many older people, where there can have fun and exercise simultaneously. Many sports and leisure centres will have off-peak periods that offer tailored activities for older people. Typically, sporting groups and leagues will be advertised in local newspapers and on social media sites, stating the location and frequency of any meetings, games or matches
- Sporting Spectator – if you prefer to watch, many individuals and groups arrange for a few or many to attend matches or games. Many may offer one-time or special events or arrange regular and frequent trips for specific sports, from transportation to tickets. You can find many groups through local community centres, newspapers, and social media sites. Before handing over any money, try to find out if anyone you might know has used them before or look for recommendations online
- Quizzes and games – many people like to challenge themselves by participating in quizzes and games. Getting out can be difficult for those who are bedbound or have mobility issues. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many groups and social organisers to move more online. There are many online events and activities, with participants from a few to hundreds, where you can join in on quizzes and games. Either for free or for a low fee, you can connect via any device that has an internet connection and join in the fun
- Social Groups and talking forums – whether in person or online, many social groups and talking forums are now available. Events where you can meet up, connect with people in a similar situation, or understand how you might feel. The groups are typically free, and many are supportive platforms where you can speak to like-minded people and make meaningful connections at the same time
- Hobbies and Interests – typically will be made up of people of all ages. Others will likely have similar interests if you have a specific hobby or interest. Meeting up in person or online to talk, perform or carry out any shared interests or hobbies. The types of areas covered can be varied, from the love of comic books to the fans of a particular artist
CREATE WHAT YOU WANT AND NEED
There are many ways to meet and connect with people, either online or in-person; however, what happens when you cannot find anything in your local area? You have to ask yourself, are you willing to arrange something yourself. Suppose you attend a local church or have community facilities available in your local area. In that case, they often offer a means for communicating with people of a similar age. In addition to connecting people, many of these organisations and groups will provide areas and spaces for your social groups to meet for free or at a low fee. Arranging these events need not be complicated, nor do you need to create a media sensation to be successful. Here are a few simple steps to follow:
- Step 1 – Where do many of the older people in your area visit regularly? Community centres, libraries, supermarkets and even doctors’ surgeries often have noticeboards that could be used to communicate
- Step 2 – Find a venue, are there community facilities in your area? Churches, community centres, libraries, and even a reserved space in a pub can all be viable locations. If there is a charge for the venue, you first need to work out the likely total cost and any interest before spending any money. Online tools such as zoom and skype provide the option of arranging free group sessions; however, there will be limitations concerning the number of people that would be able to connect at the same time
- Step 3 – Establish any costs and how much would it cost to arrange your event. Printing leaflets, costs for renting a space (if any) and the cost for any special materials you might need. Once you have added up all the potential costs, what would be the cost per person? Is that cost per week or occasion? Work the costs based on a model; if you want at least ten people to attend, divide the cost by ten. If more than ten people sign up, you either adjust the cost or use any additional money to fund future events
- Step 4 – Create leaflets and ask local community resources if they are happy to display your flyer. Keep it short but catchy. Something like ‘Over 60 and looking to play badminton?’ Do not print more than you need, and often libraries offer printing facilities for a small fee. If nothing has been arranged, add a statement like ‘looking to establish if people are interested.’ Also, display any potential costs by including something like ‘typically costs will likely be $1 to $2 per game.’
- Step 5 – Wait for the response. If no one is interested, then can the event be held online? Please do not lose hope, as you might have to give it a few weeks up to a month for people to view the leaflet and respond. If you receive a positive response, you could work with those interested, delegating some of the tasks and activities associated with arranging the event
The key is that if you cannot find what you are looking for, you might want to create it yourself. Others like you will likely appreciate that you are reaching out.
Years of persecution and fear have resulted in many LGBTQIA+ people becoming adept at hiding who they are from the world. More open and tolerant societies result in many becoming less afraid and looking to meet and make connections with like-minded individuals. Whether you create friends from within the community or those that identify as straight, socialising and joining groups and activities can be a great way of connecting and networking.
Technological advancements and the affordability of devices mean that even bedbound people can talk to people outside their rooms or home. Whether in-person or via video conferencing, they can make friends, discuss how they feel, and talk about current events. For people living in rural, hostile and isolated environments, technology can be a lifeline. A lifeline allows them to speak to and connect to people from other towns and countries via the internet.
If there are very few LGBTQIA+ activities in your area, find out if others would be interested in a particular event if organised. Often, you will be surprised to find out that people in or close to your local area share similar interests and feel the same way you do. Ultimately, if you are feeling lonely and isolated, reach out. Join in and remember that no matter how old you are, someone is out there waiting to connect.
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