For some in the LGBT community, determining how to start or even grow their families can be financially challenging
By Al Ramsay & Orlando Lopez
Starting a family is a goal for some in the LGBT community. However, the reality is that in most cases, we have to go about this in non-traditional ways like adoption, surrogacy and IVF (in vitro fertilization). The process can be fraught with obstacles and can be very costly (in some cases, in the six figures), which will require some thorough financial planning to ensure a smooth process.
In LGBT family planning, the conversations about finances are usually centred on pre- and post-baby costs. It is easy to find articles and resources that discuss the post- costs, and how to save for and finance those expenses (for example, daycare expenses, post-secondary education planning, maximizing an RESP). But, for non-traditional families, there is very little information out there about the financial and legal implications before a baby arrives, such as fertility bills, adoption expenses and unexpected legal expenses—and some of these issues can be significant.
A recent article in TD Money Talk Life by Kim Parlee, vice president TD Wealth, tackles some of these issues. Read on for some highlights from “The LGBT Road to Family-Building.”
Pre- and post-baby costs
The range of costs for surrogacy—including egg donation, IVF procedures and legal costs—can be anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000, with around $70,000 being typical, and “that’s a lot of money,” says Andy Inkster, a health promoter at the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto, which serves the LGBT parent community. “People ask, ‘How are we going to pay for this?’”
That’s just one example of the extra costs involved. Heather Richardson, vice president, TD Wealth, says family planning for the LGBT community can have additional bills that most heterosexual couples may not have to worry about—but the strategies for meeting those costs are the same as meeting any other financial goal. (Of course, everyone’s situation and road to parenthood is different, so costs will vary accordingly. As well, provincial health coverage, clinic fees, insurance and drug coverage can vary widely.)
No matter what their situation, people need to plan ahead and design a financial strategy to ensure they have the money to create a family. “You have to be crystal clear on what your desired outcome is, and you have to put a plan in place to achieve it,” Richardson says.
Good financial planning
Just as with any other major life event, before starting a family, you should get solid advice from your financial planner. And as with most large expenses, one option is to spread the cost over a few years by financing with a loan, or a secured or unsecured line of credit.
“Preparing yourself financially will take some of the stress and anxiety out of the process,” Richardson says. She adds that, unfortunately, the final costs are not known until the baby arrives.
“There are a lot of unknowns going into this,” she says. “It may be that an individual or a couple has set aside a significant amount of savings, and they can go through that very quickly.” Planning a budget, paying the fixed costs such as mortgages and credit cards and then adjusting discretionary spending by changing your lifestyle expenses may help you reach your goal. And, if you are a homeowner, you may be able to tap into the equity of your home. But above all, Richardson says, those who are family-building must feel comfortable working together and sharing these aspects of their lives with a financial planner.
Starting a family is an exciting time for any family, and we’re fortunate to live in a country where it is a legal right for members of the LGBT community. If you do your research and take advantage of all the resources available to you, hopefully you will be able to choose the option that’s right for you and plan accordingly to ensure the process is as smooth as possible!
If you would like to read the full article of “The LGBT Road to Family-Building” from TD Money Talk Life, visit http://www.moneytalkgo.com/lgbt/.
AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTA Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors dedicated to serving the LGBTA community. For more information or to book a meeting, he can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @AlRamsay_TD. ORLANDO LOPEZ, TD Wealth Financial Planner, is a member of Al’s team of expert advisors who support the LGBT community.