App created to help LGBTQ+ reduce debt and increase savings

Photo: StatePoint

StatePoint Media - While many Americans have financial concerns about the future, these anxieties are far more prominent among the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ adults 60 and older earn less money and have more trouble paying their rent, mortgage, and other expenses than their non-LGBTQ+ peers, according to research from the Leading Age LTSS Center @UMass Boston and the National Council on Aging. SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ elders, reports that 51% of LGBTQ+ elders are very or extremely concerned about simply having enough money to live on, compared to 36% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers.

Economic experts say that this financial security gap is a direct legacy of past governmental policies that put LGBTQ+ adults at a financial disadvantage, as well as ongoing discrimination that makes it harder for members of this community to secure employment, inclusive healthcare, family support and other fundamentals many take for granted throughout their lives and as they age.

Recent efforts are helping improve outcomes for the most vulnerable members of the community. For example, SAGECents is a digital financial wellness tool created specifically for the estimated 3 million LGBTQ+ Americans currently over 50, to help increase financial stability and reduce economic stress.

Launched in 2020, SAGECents is a collaboration between SAGE and LifeCents, a financial wellness technology and consulting firm, with the tool fully funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.

This groundbreaking program is putting financial wellness into the palm of people’s hands. By creating a free account, SAGECents assesses each participant’s financial health, giving them much needed insights into their financial lives and a starting point to help them make financial decisions that improve their financial wellbeing. This includes information such as what benefits are available through Medicare, how to create a health proxy and a living will, and tips for increasing credit scores.

The app can also pair users with certified, LGBTQ-proficient financial counselors. Nearly 50% of SAGECents participants report saving an average of $571, more than 38% have reduced their debt an average of $591, and 39% have raised their credit score an average of 26 points. To learn more, visit sageusa.org.

“This is the generation that fought at Stonewall, and beyond, for the rights that so many of us enjoy. But sadly, this also is a generation that faced years of discrimination and underemployment and they are struggling financially in their later years,” says Christina DaCosta, SAGE chief experience officer. “Through the comprehensive resources and tools offered by SAGECents, we aim to empower and support these elders to achieve financial prosperity.”

In addition to widening access to financial tools for individuals, the Wells Fargo Foundation also supports SAGE’s efforts to break down the barriers responsible for this financial security gap, such as advocating against housing discrimination.

“At the root of the financial security gap is systemic discrimination. Tackling those issues is at the heart of our company’s efforts to create a stable financial future for members of the LGBTQ+ community,” says Ben-James Brown, Financial Health Philanthropy, Wells Fargo Foundation.


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