The LGBTQ+ Guide to Surviving Hyperinflation
It’s not just you: Living in America is very expensive these days.
Inflation reached a 40-year high in 2022, squeezing some consumers to the point of alarm and beyond. The cash crisis disproportionately affects LGBT people, who are more likely to face poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and homelessness, according to research from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Thanks to the record high cost of living, gay consumers and business owners alike are feeling the pocket pain.
“It’s just crazy how high the prices are,” says Erin Vessey, chef and owner of Detroitaces, a bike-riding café in downtown Los Angeles. But they say the price of the merchandise hasn’t stopped loyal customers from continuing to visit local LGBTQ+ establishments just yet. “I think people want to come in and support, and make sure that the anomalous spaces continue to exist through any kind of pitfalls in the community.”
Almost every category of spending is feeling the pressure. Air fares alone have increased by 42 percent over a 12-month period. Because LGBT people have to tighten their belts, efforts to earn and save enough money can lead to increased stress, social isolation, or both. Some segments of the LGBTQ+ community are more at risk than others.
LGBTQ+ older adults are particularly at risk
One-third of LGBTQ+ seniors live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, says Christina DaCosta, director of marketing and communications for SAGE, a national advocacy and service organization. or 2022, 200 percent of the poverty level in the United States is $27,180, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Any increase in the basic cost of living could greatly affect the older members of our society,” she says. “Because of persistent discrimination throughout life, LGBTQ+ older adults suffer many socioeconomic disadvantages compared to their CIS peers.” In 2020, SAGE released a free financial wellness app, SAGECents, to help LGBTQ+ seniors and others enhance their financial literacy. More than half of SAGECents users have reduced their debt by at least $200, and 42 percent have improved their credit score by 25 points or more, according to a recent press release.
“Managing inflation has been tough,” one SAGECents user wrote. “The electric bill is 2.5 times more than it was a year ago. I’m worried, but I can’t walk around in the dark.”
Price increases stem from inflation as well as corporate greed. The cost of electricity rose 14.1 percent in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for October 2022. Still, energy and other businesses reported record profits, shifting the burden of inflation onto the consumer. .
The rise of “pink money”
Inflation threatens to derail what is otherwise seen as a rising tide of LGBTQ+ economic power. The term “pink money” refers to the purchasing power of the gay community, and with Generation Z reporting LGBTQ+ identification in record numbers—more than one in five, according to the latest Gallup poll—that purchasing power will rise exponentially in the years to come.
The LGBTQ+ community is now the fastest growing minority segment in America in terms of purchasing power, and it’s important that we learn how to manage the money we have. Building financial literacy takes time, and it can be unimpressive at times, but it will help you manage your money better when times are tough.
Financial tips to get rid of the wave of inflation
When you’re struggling to make ends meet, money can be a never-ending source of stress. Here are some tips for staying the course when finances are tight.
1. Resisting “financial nihilism”
Between record student loan balances and mounting debt burdens, many LGBT people are adjusting to personal finance. What’s another pair of shoes when you’re already six figures in the hole? Challenge yourself to monitor your money: how you earn, save and spend it in a way that supports you.
2. Leave the budget naked at the door
There is no shame in being honest about your money game. Resist the urge to live beyond your means in order to maintain social status or maintain a facade. Pick a side activity, invite friends over for an inexpensive movie night, or take some time to confront your spending habits and make adjustments.
3.ind and support LGBTQ-focused businesses
It’s more important than ever that we spend our dollars with LGBTQ-owned businesses and the people who run them. “Supporting queer businesses is critical,” says Vesey. “I have a lot of people who don’t understand why it’s so important to have queer spaces, spaces that focus on other people. Showing up and supporting them and making sure they’re around, it’s such a life-saving thing.”
The cost-of-living spikes will continue for at least several more months, and it’s important that we, as LGBTQ people, continue to look out for each other.
“Getting older is a privilege, especially in our society,” says DaCosta. “Preparing for your financial future is important.”
Nick Woolney He is an entrepreneur, speaker, and senior editor at NextAdvisorIn partnership with time. He focuses on the intersection of LGBTQ+ life and personal finance, and has previously contributed to fast companyAnd Business interestedAnd Entrepreneur Magazine. Join his newsletter at NickWolny.com.
This article is part of OutsideJanuary/February 2023 problem, on newsstandsebruary 7. Support non-sexual media and subscribe – or download through Amazon, Kindle, Nook or Apple News.