Same-Sex Couples Plan Differently for Retirement

By Lang, Susan S. | Human Ecology, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Same-Sex Couples Plan Differently for Retirement


Lang, Susan S., Human Ecology


COMPARED WITH THEIR husbands, women tend to put less effort into planning for retirement, studies show. But lesbians tend to plan even less than other women, according to one of the first studies to look at the retirement plans of gay and lesbian couples. A significant factor influencing same-sex couples' retirement planning is, put simply, satisfaction with their relationship, according to Cornell University experts on gender issues.

"Although the quality of a marriage tends to influence how much a couple plans for retirement, the link between relationship satisfaction and retirement planning is much stronger for same-sex couples. Gay and lesbian adults who are happier with their relationships plan more for retirement," reports Steven E. Mock, a doctoral student in human development at Cornell. Mock and his two Cornell colleagues, Catherine J. Taylor, a human development doctoral student, and Ritch Savin-Williams, professor and chair of the Department of Human Development, analyzed data from interviews with 39 women and seven men in same-sex relationships. The couples were among 1,900 in a larger Cornell Ecology of Careers study.

Mock notes that when lesbians make financial plans for retirement, they do it with their partners, unlike gay men who tend to plan individually. "In in-depth interviews, a significant number of the study's participants mentioned that when they went from being single to partnered, they began to think more about the future.

He presented his findings at the research and policy forum Sustainable Careers: New Options for a New Workforce in New York City in February. His study also will be published in the book Research and Clinical Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Aging, due out in 2005. The findings imply, Mock says, that lesbians in general and gay men who are not in relationships appear to be in particular need of planning and should consult with a financial planner or explore their savings options through their workplace. …

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