Skip to main content
x

5 Strategies for LGBTQ+ Couples to Meet Their Financial Goals

(NewsUSA) - Making sense of your personal finances can feel overwhelming for anyone, but for LGBTQ+ couples, financial planning can be particularly complex. A patchwork of state and federal policies can make it difficult for couples to understand all the benefits and challenges the law presents for them. Many LGBTQ+ couples also invest considerable time and resources toward  ensuring that their assets are secure, and their families are protected, should the political landscape change.     

Here are five strategies that LGBTQ+ couples can use to help manage their money and reach their financial goals:     

1. Reimagine your retirement plan. LGBTQ+ couples can work together to fund their retirement in ways you might not have considered. For example, for married couples, a spouse with eligible compensation could make an IRA contribution on behalf of their nonworking spouse. Couples should also make sure their spouse, partner or loved one is named as the beneficiary on their retirement plan.     

2. Make your partnership official. The legalization of same-sex marriage means LGBTQ+ couples might gain financial benefits from getting married, such as federal protection for certain asset types. If you decide not to get married, you may want to consider creating a domestic partnership agreement that incorporates financial planning strategies to protect your assets and your loved one.     

3. Plan for your future family. If you’re interested in having children, you may need to save more and budget for adoption agency fees or fertility treatments, as well as increased health coverage for your growing family.       

4. Create an estate plan. This is particularly important if you own significant assets, such as multiple retirement accounts or real estate. You may want to establish an irrevocable trust for some or all these assets to ensure seamless wealth transfer to your loved ones. Your financial planner will walk you through estate planning to ensure your loved ones are protected. In addition to living wills, LGBTQ+ couples should have documents such as health care proxies and medical powers of attorney in place to support end-of-life decision-making.     

5. Meet with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional. CFP® professionals have the education and experience to help LGBTQ+ couples navigate their unique and complex financial situations. Working with a CFP® professional can help you focus on your financial goals and priorities, whether you want to create a holistic financial plan or just want some financial guidance on a specific topic.     

For more financial planning resources and to find a CFP® professional near you, visit LetsMakeAPlan.org. Use the LGBTQ+ Individuals/Couples filter to narrow your search to CFP® professionals who are allies or members of the LGBTQ+ community.     

By exploring your financial situation together and mapping out a path to follow, you and your loved one will feel more confident about your financial choices.

Lawsuits Being Prepped for Military Camp LeJeune Contamination Victims

(NewsUSA) - Sometimes an egregious wrong gets righted.     

Such appears to be the case for military members and their families who’ve been seeking justice in the courts for exposure to contaminated water that sickened generations at the Camp Lejeune Marine base in North Carolina.     

Public outrage over their treatment heated up after victims’ lawsuits were dismissed in 2016 because of a state statute prohibiting plaintiffs from launching cases if more than 10 years have passed since the contaminating event. But last March the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 that essentially overrode that legal hurdle  -- “Thirty-four years of people were exposed to toxins in the drinking water,” one congressman raged -- and the Senate seems poised to follow suit.     

Now one of the nation’s most experienced tort law firms, Weitz & Luxenberg, has announced that it’s preparing to file lawsuits against the government in U.S. federal court on their behalf.     

“We believe they deserve compensation, especially because they and their families became sick while serving our country,” said Robin Greenwald, a partner at the firm and co-chair of its Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit. “They drank the water, they bathed in it, and they used it to cook their food.  And that water was contaminated with toxins at concentrations anywhere from 240 to 3,400 times the levels permitted by safety standards.”     

The 156,000-acre Camp Lejeune, with 11 miles of beach capable of supporting amphibious operations, is used for military training purposes primarily by the Marine Corps but also other branches of the armed forces.  Some of the most damning evidence comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s own Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): “It is ATSDR’s position that exposure from the 1950s through February 1985 to trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, vinyl chloride and other contaminants likely increased the risk of cancers, adverse birth outcomes, and other adverse health effects” for those on the base.   

The Marine Corps first discovered volatile organic compounds in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water in 1982. However, it was already too late for people like now-retired Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, whose 9-year-old daughter Janey died in 1985 after having been diagnosed with leukemia two years earlier.         

“The entire first trimester of (her mother’s) pregnancy was there on the base,” Ensminger told theHill.com on the eve of the bill’s passage. “We’ve got more documented evidence of what happened at Camp Lejeune than they have for Agent Orange.”   

Assuming the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is ultimately signed into law by the president, who would be eligible to file lawsuits?     

Those who lived, worked, or were exposed to drinking water at the base for at least 30 days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, and subsequently suffered water toxicity-related diseases.  Among the conditions associated with exposure to the chemicals found in the drinking water:       

• Breast, lung, liver, kidney and esophageal cancers     
• Leukemia     
• Cardiac defect     
• Female infertility     
• Miscarriage     
• Parkinson’s disease     
• Non-Hodgkins lymphoma     
• Fatty liver disease   
 • Myelodysplastic syndromes     
• Multiple myeloma     
• Renal toxicity     
• Neurobehavioral effects     
• Scleroderma     

Weitz & Luxenberg encourages those who believe they fit the criteria and have been diagnosed with one or more of those conditions to schedule a free consultation.     

The firm has a stellar track record in handling toxic contamination lawsuits. It won a landmark $423-million settlement against some of nation’s biggest oil companies, for example, in a suit involving the contamination of 153 public water systems with the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether. And Greenwald was co-lead counsel for an $11 billion settlement in 2020 against Monsanto Company on behalf of nearly 100,000 Americans suffering from Non-Hodgkins lymphoma from their exposure to the weed killer Roundup.       

As for Camp Lejeune, the ATSDR has said as many as 1 million military and civilian staff and their families might have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water. The victims who initially stepped forward only to have their cases dismissed in 2016 because of the North Carolina statute -- and they were only a tiny fraction of that number -- had reportedly filed claims totaling nearly $4 billion.

How to Protect Your Aging Parents From Financial Fraud

(NewsUSA) - Today, many adults have elderly parents who live independently. As the number of digital scammers preying on the elderly increases, however, your aging parents are at higher risk of financial fraud.     

“You must be ready to safeguard your parents against the growing threat of digital scammers and become their trusted advocate,” says Laura J. LaTourette, CFP.® Not long ago, LaTourette had to come to the aid of her own mother, who had been targeted by scammers pretending to help upgrade her computer.     

Here are several tips LaTourette offers for protecting your parents’ finances as they age:     

• Talk it over. Sometimes talking about money is tricky, even with close family members. Older adults need to understand that they are at risk for fraud if they don’t have someone to help manage their money as they age. Ask about spending, saving and philanthropic habits, and know who has access to your parents’ account information.     

• Form a team. Enlist other family members if needed, and identify other trusted contacts with whom your parents feel comfortable discussing money matters. If your parents work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, set up a meeting to talk about fraud protection and create an elder care plan for your parents.     

• Make safety simple. Set up online account information, and show your parents how they and you can monitor account activity. Set up automatic withdrawals for monthly bills. If your parents still like to review and balance their checking accounts each month, use that as an opportunity to identify anything that looks out of the ordinary.     

• Establish power of attorney. As parents age, they may need someone else to communicate with financial institutions or health care providers. Make sure your parents have an updated power of attorney that lists you and/or any other trusted contacts. The same goes for a medical power of attorney.     

• Shred what you can. Many older adults have financial documents that don’t need to be kept, but because of sensitive information cannot simply be thrown out or recycled. Once you identify old financial documents, either shred them yourself at home or gather boxes of material to take to a community shredding event, which occur periodically in most communities.     

• Check their credit. Be sure to monitor your parents’ credit reports at least once a year; this helps ensure that no one is opening any false accounts using their identities.     

Visit LetsMakeAPlan.org for more information on how to assist your parents in safeguarding their finances as they age.

Reissue: June 15, 2022

Subscribe to Money & Finance