The “Gay Dollar” Myth

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Since the early 90’s, marketers have coveted “the gay dollar”–the loyal purchasing power of gay men and lesbians with higher disposable incomes. Often without the additional financial expenses that comes with a family, individuals and couples were often able to afford more expensive or more frequent vacations, designer labels, homes and cars on the higher end, and the ability to donate more to non-profits and political candidates. Higher median household incomes resulted in a highly targeted market for corporate America.

A recent study released by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce projects that LGBT-owned businesses contribute $1.7 trillion to the US economy. In 2015, the estimated LGBT buying power was $917 billion, up from $790 billion in 2012.

In July 2017, MassMutual released results of a study that paints a different picture of the affluent gay dollar. With 47% describing themselves as not too or not at all financially secure, LGBTQ workers say they are now more likely to say they struggle to make ends meet. Debt and lower income top the list of financial concerns. 

Even with the HRC Corporate Equity Index full of banks and financial service companies that are generally known for LGBT advocacy, only 41% of LGBT feel that financial companies want to help them, and 46% say it’s difficult to find financial services companies that know how to help LGBT households. Employer-offered financial planning services tops the interest level at 69%.

The MassMutual study interviewed 500 self-identified LGBT individuals. 

Russ White