Financial Planning for Same-Sex Married Couples

< Return to News & Updates

Finances can always bring difficult decisions, and that is no different with same-sex couples. It can be tricky, and you want to make sure that you've paved the right path to retirement and sound financial health for your future.  

There is plenty of room for education about the legal implications of marriage, and topics such as taxes, health insurance, retirement benefits, inheritance, and more. Marriage brings federal legal rights, and as you might guess, many of those impact the couple's financial situation.

Tax strategies are one crucial area where a new marriage can affect your finances. Does one spouse earn significantly more than the other? If that is the case, your combined tax bill might be less. Both high earners? You may pay more after you take your vows due to the loss of deductions.

One of the essential federal legal rights gained after marriage is access to one another's Social Security benefits. Check out theSocial Security Administration's online tools to estimate how much these benefits might be worth to you and your spouse.

Healthcare costs are on everyone's minds these days — gay or straight. Most health plans limit spousal coverage precisely as the name states: you're only covered if you are the participant's legal spouse. With the ability to legally marry, same-sex couples can now take advantage of the ability to cover their partners on their health insurance policies and to choose which employer offers the best value for families.

Retirement plans are another area where spousal status matters. Some private employer plans and federal government retirement plans have already changed their provisions to recognize same-sex marriages due to earlier regulations and decisions. If you're in a same-sex marriage and aren't sure whether your retirement plan legally recognizes your spouse, talk to your human resources representative and ensure that your rights are recognized.

All couples (gay or straight) deserve to have financial security. Same-sex couples do face unique challenges in this area and, as noted, deal with a higher level of economic insecurity than that in the general population. Fortunately, with education and a game plan, it is possible to increase your confidence in the steps you've taken toward financial security.

Show your partner how much you love him or her by scheduling a "business date." Have a nice dinner and talk through areas in your financial lives that could use some attention.

Here are some other useful sources or articles that may help you.