Advice: Financial Fitness

Take pride in a healthy relationship with your money

Fact: Lesbian households earn 23 percent more than the average American household, according to a 2012-2013 Prudential Research study. LGBT households also have more discretionary income than the average American household because fewer of them have children.

So why do you always feel broke? Lesbian couples often fail to plan adequately for life’s expenses, such as retirement planning. Because a majority of states don’t allow same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples’ joint

With Pride upon us, take stock of your and your partners’ financial health. Think of it as honoring Pride 365 days a year. Here are a few tips.

Know your “type.” Are you a saver or a spender? In a relationship, two savers may appear a bit boring but are more likely to achieve their financial goals on time. A saver plus a spender? This is a common combination—opposites attract, after all. A saver/spender relationship can work with full disclosure and cooperation. Two spenders? A recipe for financial disaster.

Talk realistically about money before you move in together. It’s remarkable to me how many partners are in the dark about each other’s salaries and spending habits. Having this money talk may be easiest with a financial professional. He or she can help keep the information exchange on track.

Share expenses 50/50 whenever possible. Be mindful that inequality can breed resentment and control issues.

Do not share debt, other than a mortgage on a home you’re purchasing together. If you need a co-signer for a car or other credit, it means you are likely trying to buy something that is mathematically out of your league.

Maintain health insurance. Explore all options with your employers and associations first.  If you are self-employed or unemployed, at least purchase individual catastrophic coverage, where you pay for the little things up to a higher deductible, but you’ll have limited liability in the event of a large hospital bill. Uninsured medical expenses can cause debt and even bankruptcies. CBS News recently found that the average cost of an attack of appendicitis, for instance, is $28,000!

Have an “emergency fund.” Calculate six months of your bills and strive to keep this amount in an account you can access without penalty. This goes miles toward building wealth versus digging yourself a hole in the event of an unexpected expense.

Most people don’t plan to fail—they fail to plan. Take pride in your plan.

Financial services available to individuals and business owners through AXA Advisors, LLC include: strategies and products for financial protection and investments; asset allocation, college, retirement, business and estate planning strategies; life insurance, annuity and investment products, including mutual funds.  Securities products are offered through AXA Advisors, LLC, NY, NY, member FINRA, SIPC, 10104 (212) 314-4600. Insurance and annuity products are available through an affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries.

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