NEW METLIFE STUDY OF LGBT BOOMERS: ONE-THIRD LIVE ALONE; ONLY HALF LIVE WITH A PARTNER/SPOUSE; MOST LOOK TO FAMILIES OF CHOICE FOR SUPPORT AS THEY PREPARE FOR LATER LIFE
Westport, CT – March 18, 2010 – LGBT Baby Boomers have withstood many years of discrimination and say their approach to retirement and aging has been shaped by these experiences. “Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers,” conducted with the American Society on Aging (ASA) and its constituent group, the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN), shows LGBT Boomers will approach retirement differently than the general population and most will delay retirement until they are 70. Largely single and living alone, they will rely more on close friends than family for support as they age.
“Boomers in the LGBT population, born between 1946 and 1964, advanced the gay rights movement,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “Born into a generation known for social activism, they were activists on a personal mission, forced to fight discrimination in school, in the workplace, in government, in society and among their own families. The result is a cohort of strong individuals who will continue to blaze trails as older Americans.”
According to Robert Stein, president and CEO of ASA, there are recommendations from the study that ought to be implemented. “We suggest that policy makers look at a number of items, including workplace and benefit changes to address the delayed age of retirement for many and a broader definition of caregivers than those now accepted by the aging industry. We also need to take a look at a greater public role in caregiving for those who say they have ‘no one’ to rely on in an emergency. Finally, there are lessons to be learned by the resilience and self-advocacy skills of the LGBT group that should be shared.”
The study, which polled 1,200 LGBT individuals and 1,200 people from the general population, shows stark differences and striking similarities between the two groups with regard to attitudes, demographics and aging:
- 60% of LGBT Boomers fear being unable to care for themselves as they age; 35% fear becoming dependent on others; and 10% fear discrimination as they age.
- Of the LGBT sample surveyed, Lesbians (76%), Gay men (74%), Bisexuals (16%) and Transgender individuals (39%) say they are “completely” or “mostly” out. 61% of Lesbians and 57% of Gay men say their families are “completely” or “very” accepting, while that is true for 24% of Bisexuals and 42% of Transgender individuals.
- Members of the LGBT group are more likely to say they will be at least 70 before they can retire, 48% compared with 40% in the general population, mostly for economic reasons. Only a quarter or fewer in the LGBT group say they have saved what they need to live in retirement.
- While LGBT Boomers continue to fear discrimination, 55% of the LGBT sample say they have total or near total confidence that they will be treated with dignity and respect, compared with 39% of the comparison group.
- A higher percentage of LGBT Boomers have completed living wills, health care proxies, rights of visitation and partnership agreements, in comparison to the general population.
- Though both populations are likely to discuss end-of-life issues with their partners/spouses, LGBT Boomers have many more of those discussions with siblings, parents and other relatives.
- In the LGBT group, men and women are equally likely to be caring for a parent or partner.
- Members of the general population are more likely to be in a relationship than those in the LGBT sample, 77% vs. 61%. More than a quarter (26%) of LGBT partners have gotten married, even though only five states grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Many (63%) say they would marry if there was a federal law allowing gay marriage.
- Nearly two thirds of LGBT Boomers say they have a “chosen family,” a group of people they consider family, even though they are not legally or biologically related.
In conjunction with the study, the MetLife Mature Market Institute and SAGE, the world’s oldest and largest non-profit agency dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults, has produced “Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples,” a consumer checklist to ensure that people have the necessary documents for financial, retirement, estate issues.
To conduct the MetLife study, “Still Out, Still Aging,” Harris Interactive collected survey responses from 1201 individuals aged 45-64 who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) and 1206 individuals of the same age from a “general population” pool. Surveys were conducted online between December 10-21, 2009.
American Society on Aging
ASA is an association of diverse individuals bound by a common goal: to support the commitment and enhance the knowledge and skills of those who seek to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families. The membership of ASA is a multidisciplinary array of professionals who are concerned with the physical, emotional, social, economic and spiritual aspects of aging. They range from practitioners, educators, administrators, policymakers, business people, researchers, students, and more. The LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) works to raise awareness about the concerns of LGBT elders and about the unique barriers they encounter in gaining access to housing, healthcare, long-term care and other services.
Since its inception, SAGE has pioneered programs and services for older people in the LGBT community, provided technical assistance and training to expand opportunities for LGBT elders across the country, and provided a national voice on LGBT issues. In 2005 SAGE became the first official LGBT delegate at a White House Conference on Aging. SAGE is the first LGBT member of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. In 2008, SAGE celebrated its 30th Anniversary with its 4th National Conference on LGBT Aging, sponsored by AARP. For more information, please see www.sageusa.org.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute®
Established in 1997, the Mature Market Institute (MMI) is MetLife's research organization and a recognized thought leader on the multi-dimensional and multi-generational issues of aging and longevity. MMI's groundbreaking research, gerontology expertise, national partnerships, and educational materials work to expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching, or caring for those in the mature market.
MMI supports MetLife's long-standing commitment to identifying emerging issues and innovative solutions for the challenges of life. MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin American, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.
For more information about the MMI, please visit: www.maturemarketinstitute.com.
“Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers” and “Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples,” can be downloaded from www.maturemarketinstitute.com; on the home page, see “New from the MMI.” They can also be ordered by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to: MetLife Mature Market Institute, 57 Greens Farms Road, Westport, CT 06880.