- Tune in to NextAdvisor on Thursday, June 24 for a live interview with Suze Orman in celebration of Pride Month. The personal finance icon will open up about her experiences as a gay woman who broke into the misogynistic financial industry of the 1980s, answering her questions about saving, investing, cryptocurrency, and more.
The financial industry doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being diverse or inclusive. Historically, the province of wealthy white men, it was never known as a place for LGBTQ+ people to freely express who they were.
That was also the case in the personal finance space, where the people providing financial advice have generally been white, male, and straight for as long as the industry has existed.
But that is changing.
Acceptance and awareness of the LGBTQ+ community are at the core of Pride Month each June, but that celebration can’t hide that there’s still work to be done in the personal finance space. More than 60% of people who identify as LGBTQ+ say they have experienced financial challenges due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a 2018 Experian study.
However, the growth of social media has made it easier to find people who are financial educators and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and we’ve spoken to five of them as part of our efforts to mark Pride Month.
These experts are working to make personal finance more inclusive and reflective of what the world is really like. With their growing online communities, they are educating their audiences about saving, investing, growing wealth, and raising awareness of the systemic inequalities that the LGBTQ+ community has yet to overcome.
Spice up your social feeds and follow them.
Suze Orman, host of the “Women and Money” podcast and NextAdvisor contributor, is one of the most powerful and influential voices in finance. She has written 10 consecutive New York Times bestsellers on personal finance, won two Emmy Awards and eight Gracie Awards during her career.
She’s also gay, but she doesn’t tailor her financial advice for gay audiences. Whether you’re gay or not, she believes the mechanics of personal finance are the same.
“I never wanted to be known as the lesbian money woman. She wanted to be known as the money lady who was also a lesbian,” Orman tells NextAdvisor. “Big difference.” Orman won her position in finance after becoming one of the first female stockbrokers in the Oakland office of wealth management firm Merrill Lynch, a dramatic change for both Orman, who was previously a waitress at a local bakery .
She then started her own advisory firm, Suze Orman Financial Group. Her work as a financial advisor garnered a huge following with The Suze Orman Show, which ran on CNBC from 2002 to 2015. Orman, 70, now lives on a private island in the Bahamas with his wife and partner of two decades, Kathleen “KT ” Travis, but he hasn’t slowed down yet.
In her next conversation with NextAdvisor on June 24, Orman will speak openly about her uncompromising fight to preserve her identity as a gay woman while achieving unprecedented success in an industry not known for diversity or inclusion.
gay husbands on fire
G and J are the married couple, who prefer to remain anonymous, behind Gay Husbands on FIRE, an acronym that refers to “financial independence, early retirement”.
Both are in their early 30s, living in New York City, and planning a life of financial independence by 2031. J is a PR consultant from Colorado and G is a lawyer from Colombia. They met in Philadelphia in 2013 and got married in 2017. Since getting married, they’ve combined all of their finances and paid off $100,000 in student loans.
They strive to save at least 50% of their income every month and now have a combined net worth of over $600,000. They’re documenting their FIRE journey on Instagram to share updates, personal finance tips and thoughts on their goals, hopes and fears related to money.
Carmen Pérez is the creator of Make Real Cents, a personal finance platform dedicated to helping people achieve financial independence and avoid the financial mistakes you made in the beginning.
Prior to 2016, Carmen had terrible credit, hadn’t saved any money, and was sued for defaulting on her student loan. That was the year she decided to turn things around and begin her journey to becoming debt free. She paid off approximately $57,000 of debt in almost three years. While she paid off her debt, Carmen and her now-wife Elise also managed to pay off their 120-person wedding in New York City in 2018 in cash.
After getting out of debt, paying for a wedding, and buying a house, Carmen began saving as much as she could, with a plan to quit her job in finance and learn to code; she now she works in technology. She is currently a member of Business Insider’s Money Council.
Daniella Flores is a queer and non-binary financial expert and founder of iliketodabble.com, a hustle and money resource website. After paying off $40,000 in debt to his wife, they fell in love with the idea of side hustle, or “dabble” as they call it in their online community, and the idea that they could harness their creative energy to pursue financial freedom. .
According to Flores, society makes LGBTQ+ people feel like they don’t have many options to build wealth. His mission is to change that.
“When you grow up in a society built for cisgender and straight people and you don’t fit that mold, you get left behind. In the LGBTQ+ community, you don’t see many people pursuing financial freedom, or really prospering,” says Flores.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Daniella is married to his wife Ally. They have two dogs and five cats.
Lexa Van Damme
Lexa VanDamme started The Avocado Toast Budget in June 2020 while facing unemployment shortly after graduating with a master’s degree. She started out as a blog, but she switched to TikTok in September 2020 when she began sharing her journey of paying off $20,000 in credit card debt in a year and how she mended her relationship with money. She now shares all of her tips and resources for free on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
VanDamme says The Avocado Toast Budget is a nonjudgmental online community for millennials to learn how to be more confident with money in a way that makes sense to them and their lives. He has two important beliefs that influence his content: “money is political” and “debt is morally neutral.”
“I carry those two beliefs throughout my content, I talk about how systems of oppression affect personal finances, what it’s like to navigate money as a queer, neurodivergent person,” VanDamme says, “and being transparent about my huge debt from student loans”.