A study has found LGBT people in the US more likely to go into their overdraft than the general population.
The study, undertaken by OverdraftApps.com, questioned just over 1,000 people across the US. Around 11% of respondents identified as LGBT.
The study asked people how often they found themselves dipping into their overdraft over the past year: Never; once or twice; three to nine times; or 10+ times.
Key findings include:
• Fifty-four percent of non-LGBTQ people said they ‘never’ went into overdraft. This compares to only 47% of LGBTQ people.
• Eighteen per cent of the LGBTQ population overdrafted three to nine times in the last year. This is against 12% of the non-LGBTQ community.
• When it comes to earnings, a similar number of LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ people earn between $25,000-$50,000 (around 35%). However, differences appear when looking at low and high earners. Around 25% of LGBTQ said they earned less than $25,000 compared to 14% of the general population.
• Of those earning more than $50,000, LGBTQ people were again in the minority. Thirty-two per cent of the general population said they earned $50,000-$75,000, but only 25% of LGBTQ respondents earned this much. This continued in the $75,000-$100,000 bracket (16% of non-LGBTQ against 12% of LGBTQ).
• Ninety per cent of the LGBTQ population doesn’t trust the current administration to help lower bank fees, compared to 76% of those outside the community.
• Ninety-four per cent of the LGBTQ respondents do not believe President Trump specifically will help decrease bank fees. This compares to 83% of those not in the LGBTQ community.
Banks will charge ‘whenever and wherever they can’
The survey found that many people across the population had a lack of knowledge about overdrafts, associated banking fees and options such as overdraft protection. It found LGBTQ people were also slightly less likely to complain to their bank about overdraft fees.
‘Everyone is now aware that fees are a multibillion dollar business for banks. They are going to charge whenever and wherever they can, so it’s really up to people to track their finances, finding alternative ways to borrow money,’ said Paul Golden, spokesperson finance NGO Nefe, the National Endowment for Financial Education, in the report.
Spending in the LGBTI community
Much has been written about the power of LGBTI spending. Many of those who point to wealth in the LGBTQ community highlight the fact that same-sex couples are less likely to have kids.
While it’s true that couples with no kids are likely to have more disposable income, this does not compensate for the fact that LGBTQ people often face barriers to career advancement or have had to overcome challenges in life linked to their sexuality or gender identity.
A spokesperson for Overdraft Apps told Gay Star News: ‘We think that the prejudices that the LGBTQ community suffered in the past and are still going through today are great factors when it comes to their lower income and the amount they overdraft compared to the general population.
‘It just makes sense: When your mind is busy with existential questions, you have less time to focus on your financial well-being.’
Distrust in political leadership
Bob Witeck is the founder of Witeck Communications. The marketing agency produces an annual report on the spending power of the LGBTQ community.
He told GSN he was, ‘not especially surprised’ by the findings. However, as a caveat, he says part of the findings may be down to those identifying as LGBTQ being younger: baby boomers ‘tend to be more closeted based on their lives’ experiences.’
However, he said the study, ‘seems to confirm data I’ve seen over the years that suggests LGBTQ consumers tend to be slightly less savvy about financial services, and tend to distrust or to be wary of financial institutions slightly more than others.
‘There is no surprise at all that LGBTQ respondents express their distrust in our current political leadership too, given the climate fostered by the Trump Administration.’
Male couples discriminated against on mortgage applications
A 2013 study by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found though ‘poverty rates for nearly all populations increased during the recession, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Americans remained more likely to be poor than heterosexual people.’
Spending power is also complicated by many other factors. Some studies have found that lesbians, on average, tend to earn more over their lifetime than heterosexual women of similar educational standing. However, this is largely due to them being less likely to take career breaks to raise children.
Another recent analysis, by the University of Chicago Law Review, found that gay male couples were more likely to encounter discrimination when applying for a mortgage.
It found white male couples 2.5% less likely to be approved a mortgage than a white, opposite-sex couple. Faring worse were black male couples. They were 7.5% less likely than a white, straight couples to be approved for a similar mortgage.