Financial Advisors: Attracting and Working With LGBTQ Couples

Financial Advisors: Attracting and Working With LGBTQ Couples

Financial Advisors: Attracting and Working With LGBTQ Couples. As a Financial Advisor Coach working with advisors since 2004, I have noticed more and more advisors who want to work with and attract LGBTQ clients and couples.

Nowadays, the LGBTQ community has more support from the international community than ever before; however, despite the many advances in equality and anti-discrimination practices, members of the LGBTQ community still face many challenges unique to their situation.

If you’re looking to work with LGBTQ couples and help them with their unique financial situations, you’re going to need to market yourself as a financial advisor who makes members of the LGBTQ community feel safe. What’s more, you’re going to need to adjust how you work to better serve this demographic.

To learn more about how you can attract and work with LGBTQ couples, read on below.

What Struggles Do LGBTQ Couples Face?

In recent years, around one in three LGBTQ Americans report to have faced discrimination in their work and personal lives.

It’s interesting to note that the discrimination LGBTQ individuals face harms not only their psychological well-being but also their economic well-being. LGBTQ individuals report that their economic security is at risk due to how discrimination adversely affects their ability to be hired, to retain employment, and to be promoted.

How Can You Market Yourself to LGBTQ Couples?


We’ve established that LGBTQ couples are negatively affected by discrimination and a lack of inclusivity practices. With that said, the way you market and advertise your services should keep the struggles of LGBTQ individuals in mind. Below are a few tips.

1.Know the Terminology

You may have hesitated up until this point to establish personal connections when interacting with potential LGBTQ clients out of fear of using the wrong terms or saying the wrong things. This fear is understandable.

Luckily, there are many resources online that can help you understand the terminology LGBTQ individuals use to identify themselves. What’s more, there’s no harm in asking your clients directly which pronouns they prefer. Taking time to ask for these pronouns shows your willingness to understand and respect their gender identity.

Before creating marketing materials tailored to the LGBTQ community or before reaching out to LGBTQ couples, be sure you’re up-to-date with the latest terms and significant events relevant to the LGBTQ community.

2.Practice Inclusive Marketing

Think about how you present your brand through your website. Ponder on the following questions:

  • Who do prospects see when they view your website?
  • Do prospects see people on your website that look like them?
  • Is the language on your website inclusive of the LGBTQ community?
  • Can the LGBTQ community identify with examples on your website?

The best way to make sure LGBTQ clients know that you have an inclusive financial advisory firm is to show them. Even small actions like adding your pronouns to the end of your name on a Zoom meeting and on your LinkedIn profile, or asking for pronouns in a questionnaire can go a long way.

What Financial Issues Do Most LGBTQ Couples Face?

The fact remains that there’s a pay gap and those who identify as LGBTQ fall on the wrong side of it.

1.Earning Their Worth

As of 2017, a survey found that gay men, on average, earn over $26,000 less than heterosexual men annually. Likewise, lesbian women earn nearly $6,000 less than heterosexual women.

The issue of the pay gap is worsened by the high costs of living in areas that tend to be more welcoming to LGBTQ individuals, such as San Francisco and New York.


Recent surveys show that – in comparison to the general population – LGBTQ individuals have more trouble saving money and claim to have bad financial habits they wish to break.

2.Saving More

The survey speculates that the LGBTQ population may have a bit more trouble with consumerism because they’ve spent many years feeling devalued themselves. It is said that they may compensate by showing people that they have nice things or live a nice life.

It’s also important to note that LGBTQ couples who don’t have children are able to save more than traditional couples.

3.Dealing With Housing and Credit Discrimination

Either consciously or unconsciously, potential landlords or creditors who pull the credit reports of LGBTQ individuals and see that they formerly went by a different name or recently transitioned from a different gender might deny their request for an apartment or a mortgage.

Unfortunately, bias and discrimination are rampant, as a 2018 study found that same-sex couples applying for mortgages were over 70% more likely to be denied when compared to heterosexual couples with similar financial backgrounds. Sadly, many states in the US lack sufficient legal protections for this kind of discrimination.

What Tips Can You Apply When Working With LGBTQ Couples?


It’s crucial that you create a safe space for all of your clients. Creating a safe space will let your clients communicate their life stories to you.

1.Take Your Clients’ Needs Seriously

It’s important that you allow LGBTQ couples to talk about what it was like growing up, how their families talked about money, and whom they financially support – if they choose to disclose these details and if these details are relevant to your services.

The LGBTQ community may assign great importance to these details, especially if they are estranged from their biological family.


Members of the LGBTQ community get reminded and have to deal with the fact that they are different on a daily basis. So, instead of approaching your clients’ relationship as if they were no different from your straight couple clients, be sure to appreciate the uniqueness of their situation and highlight how their financial planning is different and tailor-made.

2.Plan With Appreciation

You’re going to want to create a safe space for your clients to be their authentic selves. Here are a few ways you may choose to do this:

  • Acknowledge the obstacles that your LGBTQ clients face that lead to job insecurity and help them make decisions about staying in unwelcoming companies or careers.
  • Consider whether to build investment portfolios with your client that reflect their values by including LGBTQ-friendly mutual funds and ETFs such as Vanguard’s Social Index Fund (VFTAX).
  • When it comes to LGBTQ couples with children, there are many methods of creating a family. Your clients may choose adoption, fostering, or surrogacy. Each of these methods comes with costs that vary widely. Fostering may cost next to nothing while surrogacy may cost upwards of $100,000.

3.Understand the Nuances of Planning to Have a Family

It’s important that you take time to understand all the associated costs involved with building a family for LGBTQ couples. This way, you can help your clients make effective plans and sound decisions more easily.


Many LGBTQ people live in high-cost urban areas. In addition to this – as mentioned earlier – many LGBTQ individuals consider themselves spenders when compared to their heterosexual counterparts.

4.Don’t Ignore the Significance of a Spending Plan

Since many LGBTQ individuals tend to spend a lot, you’re going to need to be prepared to spend more time with your clients discussing their cash flow and taking note of what’s coming in and what’s going out.

You may consider creating spending plans that will help your LGBTQ clients plan for what they want and need now, in addition to what they want and need in the future. Note that LGBTQ clients may have big-ticket expenses that heterosexual clients may not need, such as gender confirmation surgery.


Even if same-sex marriage may be allowed wherever your clients live, many LGBTQ couples may choose not to marry. Some couples like the way things are, while others are actively opposed to marriage as they believe getting married conforms to societal norms that they do not wish to follow.

5.Don’t Assume They Want to Marry

If you wish, you may highlight the many financial benefits that come with marriage; however, after sufficiently educating your clients on the pros and cons, it’s important that you respect and support whatever decision your clients arrive at.

If your LGBTQ clients choose not to marry, you’ll need to understand – and help your clients understand – how to navigate the financial world of non-married couples who share bank accounts and split expenses, especially when there is a big difference in income; also, you’ll need to be prepared to handle multiple tax returns and estate and insurance planning.


Finally, don’t make any assumptions about your LGBTQ clients simply because you know they are LGBTQ. Although there are many experiences that are common to each member of the LGBTQ community, each person is different and one client may be vastly different from another.

6.Don’t Assume You Know the Person’s Experiences

When in doubt, it’s better to ask your clients for clarification on anything you don’t understand instead of making assumptions.


As we’ve mentioned, members of the LGBTQ community face many challenges – including financial ones. While recent changes, such as the Supreme Court’s ruling that grants non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ individuals, have greatly benefited the LGBTQ community, there is still a long way to go.

Final Thoughts

You’ve already made the first step toward a more inclusive and caring society by choosing to actively work with and learn about the LGBTQ community. There are still key areas of life that LGBTQ couples may struggle with, such as credit, housing, and employment. With the information you’ve learned today, you’re now able to ease the financial burden that LGBTQ couples face on a daily basis.

To learn more about how you can grow your financial advisory firm and hone your skills as a successful financial advisor, check out the other articles on my website or contact me today.

When Should a Financial Advisor Hire a Junior Advisor?

Why hire a junior advisor?

When Should a Financial Advisor Hire a Junior Advisor? I’ve been working with financial advisors on practice management and business development since 2004! I’ve seen every type of advisor, business model, and financial advisor brand that you could imagine. In the evolution of your practice, every financial advisor gets to a point in their career when they need to develop a junior advisor to help them manage their client load and/or transition their practice to younger advisors in consideration of succession planning.

The owner-advisor should focus on prospecting the top 20% of clients

If you have more than 100 clients, hiring a junior financial advisor becomes critical. What happens is that the advisor cannot work efficiently on prospecting AND also focus on the top 20% of clients if they don’t have someone to help them service and retain the remaining 80% of clients.

There are many considerations in focusing on your best clients and becoming more productive. You must have time for marketing, prospecting, branding, and client service. You will need to plan out your client appreciation events for the year. How else can you show clients that you really care about them?

You will need time to perfect your branding and value proposition so that the firm does not appear to be ONLY YOU. You must give the appearance of a real company with employees, processes and procedures in order to grow the business and attract new clients.

Succession Planning and Continuity Planning with a junior advisor

As the financial advisor ages and approaches retirement, selling the practice and maintaining the going concern becomes more critical. You’ll need a junior advisor to do this.

This is one of the reasons that I recommend NOT naming your business after yourself. A practice without the advisor’s name in the business name, is far easier to transition than one that is named after he or she.

It is very surprising to me that only 5% of the advisors who come to me for business development coaching actually have a succession plan. I am working with a client right now who is in his early 60’s and has previously had health issues. It is crucial for my client to ensure his own clients are taken care of and to ensure his wife and family will have a business to sell should he get hit by a bus or suffer another health issue!

Don’t risk losing good clients by lacking a Succession Plan

Not having a plan can bite advisors squarely in the rear end! I’ve had several clients who could not demonstrate that they had a business continuity plan and they lost potential new clients because of this lack of planning. Without a plan, it’s very difficult for advisors to get the true value of their hard work.

When is the right time to hire a junior advisor?

Don’t wait until it becomes a critical situation before hiring a junior advisor. When you reach 80% of capacity, this is the time to think about and plan to hire your junior advisor. The right time is NOT when you are overloaded and unable to go home on time. When you are not able to prospect for new clients because you’re too busy handling service issues for your client base, this can be a challenging time.

When you notice during your annual planning meeting (and you have one, yes?), that you have reached a plateau and you’re ready to get to the next horizon, this is the right time to hire! It is just in time if you are thinking of retiring in the next 2-3 years.

What personality traits should you look for in a junior advisor?

There are personality traits and business traits to look for in your candidate as not everyone is suited to do the work you do. Running a financial planning or investment management business is the same as running any business, you must have good business sense! Use this as a checklist for determining who would be a good candidate. Top producing junior advisors are rare and not easy to find. The best indicator of success is past performance, so if the candidate has been successful in the past, they will more than likely be successful in your firm.

Here are 11 good traits to seek:

  1. Entrepreneurial spirit / desire to eventually run or own their own business
  2. Intelligence / ability to understand complex subjects
  3. Outgoing and personable / comfortable having conversations with a variety of people including high net worth clients and prospective clients
  4. Motivation / I’ve always said that one of the keys to success is a good attitude and motivation to do better
  5. Prior finance experience / training someone from scratch is more than most advisors are willing to take on
  6. Financial planning experience / a CFP® or other credential holder is highly encouraged but not required
  7. Investment experience / this goes along with prior finance experience
  8. Licenses / what licenses would be helpful with your business model?
  9. Client service experience / a candidate who is aware of the finer details regarding servicing accounts can be very helpful
  10. Time in the industry / 5 plus years is the time frame most likely to success.
  11. Sales experience / this is a highly sought-after skill that is very useful

How can you be sure they can do the job?

There are several pre-employment assessments that my clients use to determine the suitability of the candidate versus the job requirements. This is where a good Job Description comes in handy. Why leave anything to chance? Candidates are trying to sell themselves, and your job is to weed out the unlikely junior advisors.

How much should you pay a junior advisor?

It’s never easy deciding on what you should pay a junior advisor. If they’re really good, they can go almost anywhere and write their own ticket. You could put a lot of time and effort into training them, and they could go elsewhere. That’s why it’s important to have a confidentiality agreement and a non-compete so that they don’t spend all their time learning your business and then take your clients to their next home.

Base salary plus commission or incentive is often the best compensation. I remember a client I worked with more than 10 years ago who was insistent that they pay only salary and not any incentive. What happened? The junior advisor was not motivated to learn and grow nor to bring any business to the firm. It was not a good match and the candidate moved on leaving my client frustrated and starting again from scratch.

Do your own due diligence and keep in mind that a salary between $40,000 to $50,000 plus incentives is the typical starting place. If you’re fee only and your junior advisor is coming from a wirehouse or broker-dealer, your incentive may need to make up for their commission compensation.

How to find your junior advisor

1.Ask your broker-dealer

Financial advisors with a hybrid business model can often find a candidate by asking their broker-dealer about other advisors in their geographic area.

2.LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become a wonderful source of information about possible candidates. Look for someone who’s been in the field 5+ years who has had some success, but has still not found their stride.

3.Referrals

Referrals from colleagues and centers of influence (COI’s) can also yield results. Your network is full of people who know advisors looking for the right home. They can help you find the right candidate.

4. Job websites

Post the job description on online job websites like Monster and Indeed. You’ll receive many resumes from all types of people that you’ll have to sort through and a few good leads.

5.Use search engines

Google “financial advisor + name of your city and state” or “Registered Investment Advisors name of your city and state.” You can sort through advisors at other firms to find suitable candidates who may not be happy where they are at the moment.

6.Financial Planning Association

Attend your local FPA meetings and network to find your junior advisor. You may find wirehouse advisors who don’t care for their firm’s business model or fee structure. You may find advisors looking for a more suitable home that fits them better.

What happens next?

From the available pool of candidates, schedule phone interviews in order to weed out those who would not be suitable.
Then, bring in the remaining candidates for an in person interview.
Use industry questions as well as behavioral questions in the interviews using a checklist where you rate each candidate.
Develop a scoring system based on your requirements.

Make a decision

Which candidate scores the highest according to your needs? Who is the most personable and trainable advisor? Use your intuition to assess the best candidate.

Training and mentoring a junior advisor

Why do good junior advisors leave? Without a training and mentoring program, the junior advisor may feel lost or direction-less. If your candidate has the personality traits and skills to do the job, but no training or mentoring, the relationship is 90% likely to not work out. It’s better to put in the time and effort in training the candidate to ensure success.

Protect yourself!

Have your attorney draw up a confidentiality agreement and a non-compete! Think about a buy-sell. If you’ve worked with business owners, you know the importance of having a buy-sell agreement or an agreement worked out with your broker-dealer to transition to another advisor. If you already have your junior advisor on board, the buy-sell becomes even more important for the smooth transition.

Final thoughts

When you have reached a point in your practice where hiring a junior advisor is necessary for the continued growth of the firm, this is the time to work on your business as a whole. Decide who you are and where you’re going. This is a crucial time to seek business development coaching and move your practice forward. I hope this information is helpful and valuable to your practice. Contact me for a consultation!

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