Prudential 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience: Obergefell decision yields financial confidence, but still a long road to true financial security

Click here to watch Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that brought marriage equality to America, discuss progress for the LGBT community amid remaining barriers to true financial security.

Kent Sluyter, CEO of Prudential Individual Life Insurance & Prudential Advisors, speaks at the Prudential 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience launch at The Center on Thursday, June 23, 2016, in New York. (Mark Von Holden/ AP Images for Prudential)

NEWARK, N.J.--()--In its first survey of LGBT Americans since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states must permit same-sex marriages, Prudential Financial, Inc., (NYSE: PRU), found people more worried that broad economic forces like market volatility or lingering low interest rates would hinder their ability to achieve lifetime financial security than LGBT-specific rights issues.

That LGBT Americans share the same concerns about saving for retirement as the general population is a shift from Prudential’s 2012 groundbreaking survey, when basic rights issues were top of mind. The 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience, explores changes following the U.S. Supreme Court’s year-ago landmark Obergefell decision and is the result of interviews with LGBT Americans in all 50 states during April and May.

“Having the fundamental right to marry has begun to simplify financial lives within the LGBT community,” said Kent Sluyter, CEO of Individual Life Insurance and Prudential Advisors. “Unfortunately, wage inequality, workplace insecurity and pension survivor benefits issues still cast a shadow on the ability to attain true financial security. This important study helps to understand the financial lives of LGBT Americans who are living in a new world that recognizes basic rights, giving the financial services industry insight to better serve this community.”

Changing Households

Those surveyed say the right to marry has given them the ability to file joint tax returns, pay for health benefits with pre-tax earnings, list same-sex partners on health insurance, and ensure that a loved one’s interests are protected in the event of death, but only a third say the Obergefell decision affected future financial plans. Among key findings:

  • The marriage rate has more than tripled since 2012, having increased to 30 percent from just 8 percent in 2012’s survey. Most relationships were already blooming—most said they married a longtime partner.
  • Half surveyed said being in a legally recognized same-sex partnership has simplified their finances, up from 13 percent four years ago.
  • Income disparities remain. Lesbian women earn less than heterosexual women, reporting an average annual salary of $45,606 vs. $51,461. Gay men reported earning an average of $56,936, with heterosexual men earning $83,469.
  • Concerns over legal and institutional barriers to achieving financial goals are strongest among same-sex partners.
  • Financial needs for the LGBT community are the same as for the general population, said 46 percent of those surveyed. Meanwhile, 45 percent said they need to follow a different path to meet those same needs.

“We’ve made substantial strides in terms of gaining legal rights—which certainly helps to fuel financial and economic stability within the LGBT community,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City. “But we must continue working to overcome the serious remaining barriers to leading happy, healthy lives that all of us deserve, and having professionals who know our community and can help us attain our dreams is vital to achieving that.”

Among specific comments from respondents, a gay transgender millennial agreed marriage equality provided a sense of inclusion in society. A woman who said she is a lesbian Baby Boomer put it this way:

“As an older person, I see a dramatic change in society. There is a comfort level and emotional security for LGBT that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I did not realize before how important the right to marry was,” she said. “It includes people in society, and allows them to participate as a family like everyone else.”

Prudential issued the report today during an event at the LGBT Center in New York, featuring Sluyter, Testone and Lauren Young, Thomson Reuters’ money editor, as panelists.

For more information about The 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience, please visit:

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of March 31, 2016, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit:


Prudential Financial, Inc.
Josh Stoffregen, 973-802-3996
Twitter: @stoffregenPruPr

Release Summary

The 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience explores changes following the U.S. Supreme Court’s year-ago landmark Obergefell decision.



Prudential Financial, Inc.
Josh Stoffregen, 973-802-3996
Twitter: @stoffregenPruPr