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How to Pay for Transition-Related Expenses Without Going Broke

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.


Once a trans person has accepted their gender identity and decided to begin transitioning, it’s an exciting and liberating time. Everyone’s transition looks different, and each person may choose varying interventions. But as soon as someone starts looking at the costs, which could include doctor appointments, bloodwork, hormones, legal name and gender marker changes, a whole new wardrobe and potentially, surgeries, the costs can skyrocket quickly.

This is an especially tough pill to swallow for the trans community, which already faces significant financial disadvantages compared to the general population, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. As revealed in their 2015 report, this is because many trans people face unsupportive families and suffer from discrimination with employment and housing, which results in financial distress and homelessness at higher rates than cisgender people.

“In the trans community, we see the highest amount of unemployment and housing insecurity,” said Emmett Schelling, executive director of Transgender Education Network of Texas. “Most trans people can’t save money because they’re worried about their day-to-day survival.” This makes it difficult to find money for binders, electrolysis or other transition-related needs when just getting by can be a struggle.

While there are some transition-related expenses that are difficult to avoid, many can be reduced or wiped out with the help of certain resources and strategies. Here’s how to save on several of the most common expenses.

How much does it cost to medically transition?

Not every trans person desires hormone therapy or surgeries. But for those who do, the costs can be high and vary greatly depending on the provider and whether you have health insurance that covers it.

For some ballpark figures, below are the costs of some of the most common transition-related surgeries at The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, including hospital and anesthesia costs. Note that this clinic and others provide a discount when multiple surgeries are done at once.

For trans women seeking hair removal, electrolysis and laser hair removal are used because they’re the most permanent methods. However, costs may vary drastically, since the number of sessions required to achieve results is unique to each individual and the amount providers charge can differ significantly.

Male-to-female confirmation surgeries and procedures

Breast augmentation






Thyroid cartilage reduction (trachea shave)


Female-to-male confirmation surgeries and procedures

Basic chest masculinization




How to finance your transition

Apply for grants

If you want a surgery or procedure that’s still beyond what you can afford, consider applying for a grant. There are several specifically for people who need assistance while transitioning.

“There are a few different nonprofit organizations out there that provide financial assistance for people seeking gender affirming surgery or electrolysis or binders,” said Ryan Sallans, a transgender author, public speaker and diversity trainer. He is also a volunteer vice president of The Jim Collins Foundation, which has an annual grant cycle that awards financial grants for gender-affirming surgery to a limited number of applicants. They offer one type of grant that pays for 100% of surgical fees.

“It makes us a unique organization,” Sallans added. “Being able to tell people that 100% of surgical fees are covered is completely life changing, because a lot of people aren’t able to even put down $1,000 or $2,000 for a surgery.”

Through a legacy donation by a trans woman, they also have a grant available that provides 50% of funding and requires the individual to put down the other 50%. “I actually really love that grant — sadly it’ll be gone in two years — because there are many people who may have most of the money,” he said. “They just don’t have that last piece.”

According to Sallans said each year, they typically receive 400 to 500 applications, and in the past, they were only able to award one to three grants annually. For the last two years in a row, they’ve been able to provide three grants that covered surgeries at 100% and two that covered 50%. The amount they can give out each year depends on how much they’re able to fundraise.

The nonprofit Point of Pride also started offering surgical grants for the trans community a few years ago, and they’ve given out more than $103,000 total in grants. They also have a program to help with the costs of electrolysis for permanent hair removal.

Get creative with fundraising

If you’re struggling to piece together enough money for transition-related expenses, you may turn to credit cards or a loan. But rather than getting into debt, consider fundraising first. Many trans people turn to GoFundMe, Schelling said, which allows them to raise money from their friends and family.

Some people also organize fundraisers; for example, working with local LGBTQ bars to have a percent of one night’s proceeds go toward their surgery. Schelling said he’s seen people in Texas do “plate sales,” where they hold an event and make food, like homemade enchiladas, and sell plates of it to raise money for their surgery. If you get creative with fundraising, he said, and combine it with any savings you do have, you can meet your goals a lot faster.

Explore your insurance

If you have health insurance, read your policy carefully to determine what types of transition-related care is and isn’t covered. If you’re not able to figure it out, call your insurer or ask your job’s human resources team to help you understand your coverage.

Be aware that under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers and medical providers are not allowed to discriminate against you because you’re trans. While this doesn’t mean they have to cover every procedure, an insurer cannot categorically exclude transition-related care, and providers aren’t allowed to deny you care simply because you’re trans — though unfortunately it sometimes still happens.

If you have faced discrimination from an insurer or medical professional, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you need assistance, contact The Transgender Law Center Legal Helpline or call (415) 865-0176 x306.

If you’re on Medicare, know that transition-related care that’s deemed “medically necessary” is supposed to be covered. However, attempts to get surgeries covered by Medicare are not always successful, so ask your doctor about their history with the program and whether or not previous claims have been accepted.

Consider borrowing to help cover the costs

If you’re not able to pay for transition-related costs with savings, you might be able to finance them with one of these options.

Credit cards. Credit cards offer an easy way to borrow funds. Your credit limit might not be enough to pay for an entire major surgery, but it could cover smaller procedures or miscellaneous costs. If your credit card’s interest rate is high, many credit cards offer 0% interest rates for a year or longer, giving you time to make a dent in your debt. If you go that route, just make sure that if you carry a balance, you can handle the payments once the regular APR kicks in. Also keep a lookout for annual fees, and be aware that carrying a high balance can hurt your credit score since it increases your credit utilization ratio.

Personal loans. Another option to pay for transition-related costs or surgery is taking out a personal loan, which gives a lump sum that’s then repaid with interest in fixed payments. You can take out a personal loan from a traditional financial institution, like a bank or a credit union, or from an online lender. Personal loans are typically available anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000, and interest rates vary significantly depending on credit history.

Medical financing. There are also certain financing options specifically for medical expenses. One is CareCredit, a medical credit card accepted by some healthcare providers. CareCredit often offers 0% interest for certain time periods, but if you don’t pay off your balance by the end of that predetermined “promotional period,” you will owe interest retroactively, and at a very high rate. CareCredit should only be used if you know you can pay off your balance in full before interest kicks in. Another option is Prosper — the company known for peer-to-peer lending also offers a special type of healthcare loan in partnership with some doctors. If your doctor uses their system and you’re approved, you can get a loan for up to $35,000 with no retroactive interest.

Find extra work

Another way to help pay for transition-related expenses is to supplement your income. Consider turning to the gig economy, where you can give rides, deliver groceries, charge scooters and a number of other flexible jobs.

Schelling said he’s even encountered many trans people who work at Starbucks for several years. This offers a unique opportunity, he said, since it not only brings supplemental income, but Starbucks also offers extremely trans-inclusive health insurance, even to part-time employees.

3 ways to save on transition-related expenses

Find free clothing

Some trans people slowly start building their new wardrobe over time, but others don’t start purchasing attire that matches their gender identity until they begin socially transitioning. This can get expensive quickly — not to mention, many transitioning people are uncomfortable shopping in public, Schelling said.

One way to get around this is to participate in or start a clothing swap with other members of the trans community. Some organizations put these together, but if there’s nothing in your area, try to organize one yourself. Have everyone bring some clothes they no longer wear, and swap them with those who are now looking for those types of clothes. People can also bring shoes, jewelry, bags, makeup and other items they no longer need.

“In the city next to me, there was a group of trans people who were doing that,” Sallans noted. “They were collecting binders and clothes and giving it out to people when they had a social group meeting or peer support meeting.” Beyond the immediate need, he added that it also helps build a sense of community.

If a clothing swap isn’t an option for you, consider visiting local thrift stores or online marketplaces like Thredup or Poshmark to find gently used clothes at a huge discount.

Schelling added that some organizations and businesses offer free chest binders for trans people who can’t afford one. For example, Point of Pride offers a free binder program.

Look for LGBTQ-friendly healthcare

Many trans people seek out hormone replacement therapy, but if you don’t have health insurance, accessing HRT and any other basic healthcare needs can be extremely expensive. Fortunately, more and more LGBT-focused clinics are currently opening up around the nation, according to Sallans.

“There are different non-profit organizations that can subsidize costs, whether you need access to hormone therapy or general prevention care, like reproductive and sexuality care,” he said. Planned Parenthood is one such organization, he also noted; while not every location offers hormone replacement therapy, many do.

There are also individual clinics, like Kind Clinic in Austin, Texas, that focus specifically on healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community and offer discounted services.

Schelling’s organization has also observed the increase in clinics that offer trans healthcare.

“A lot of times, the upside is there’s access to competent medical care, and some of those clinics assist you with the costs of your medications,” he said. “The downside is that usually there’s a limited amount of days or evenings these clinics are open, so once people find out, the wait list can be two to three months out.” However, he noted that if you’re looking for hormone therapy, once you have your initial blood work completed, you typically only have to go in every few months.

Access free or discounted legal assistance

If you want to legally change your name and/or gender marker, you’ll have to go through your legal system to get new IDs. “Having people who are knowledgeable in this process is extremely important since it can be extremely overwhelming and expensive,” Sallans said. While using a lawyer for this is optimal, especially since laws vary by state, it can be expensive. Sallans said he did his all himself, which was much cheaper, but it was also very daunting.

Across the country, there are law clinics that offer free legal services for name and gender marker changes. For example, in San Antonio, Texas, the local LGBTQ center, The Pride Center, provides free legal gender and name changes through a legal clinic with a local law school. If there’s a law school near where you live, find out if there are any law clinics or programs available to help.

Some individual lawyers also offer free or discounted services for transr members of their community who have these legal needs. If you’re not sure where to start, and your city has an LGBTQ chamber of commerce, see if any lawyers are members. If there are any LGBTQ publications in your city, see if any lawyers advertise in them. Sallans says some nonprofits also offer these legal services for free in various areas.

Transitioning can be an expensive endeavor, but there is an ever-increasing number of resources and organizations available to help make the process more within reach.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Emily Starbuck Gerson
Emily Starbuck Gerson |

Emily Starbuck Gerson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emily here


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How to Save Money During Pride Season

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Pride Parade and Festival in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Photo by Kim Raff

Pride season is now in full swing. Though officially celebrated in June to commemorate the iconic 1969 Stonewall riots (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year), cities and regions across the world will be holding LGBTQ pride events throughout the summer and fall. Whether you want to attend festivals, parades, marches or parties, there are nearly countless events to choose from.

While many of these Pride events are free to attend, some aren’t — and even if admission itself is free, there are other expenses of attending, such as food, outfits and decorations. There’s also the cost of transportation. Many people travel outside of their immediate area for Pride celebrations, whether it’s because their city doesn’t have any, or because they want to participate in bigger events elsewhere.

Even if you’ve managed to save money ahead of time, attending Pride festivities doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some expert tips for celebrating on a budget.

Look for free events

While some Pride events do require paid tickets, many of the parades, festivals and marches are still free. For example, Houston Pride has one of the country’s largest free pride festivals, claimed Radu Barbuceanu, Public Relations Director of Houston Pride – and the organization wants to keep the celebration as affordable as possible. New York Pride has numerous ticketed parties, screenings and brunches that cost money, but the festival and parade itself cost nothing to attend.

In addition to official Pride events, many cities are also home to numerous unofficial Pride parties and events that have free admission. And depending on where you go, there might even be free things to do beyond your typical Pride experiences. For example, Barbuceanu said, the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, which is free to the public, is featuring a “Stonewall 50” exhibit to recognize the work of LGBTQ artists. He added that many other local museums and organizations are hosting events to mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, giving visitors and residents plenty of ways to explore and celebrate Pride without spending much, if any, money.

Find affordable accomodations

If you’re traveling to an out-of-town pride event, know that sometimes, the local Pride organization has arranged for affordable housing for attendees. For example, as a large organization, Houston Pride was able to obtain what’s called “conference pricing” to land discounts at two local hotels. “We have access to this opportunity to have hotel blocks at various hotels, and we have it at the Hilton and Hyatt for $99 for a night,” Barbuceanu said. “That’s something that everyone should know and take advantage of.”

Check the website of the Pride organization where you’re traveling to see if they have secured any deals like this. If not, or if that’s still too pricey, Barbuceanu added that Airbnb and couchsurfing are other ways to find affordable accommodations wherever you plan to go.

Don’t feel the need to travel

Sure, all of your friends might be headed to New York City or San Francisco Pride, and it would be epic to join them. But traveling for Pride events can be costly, and it isn’t truly necessary to celebrate being in the LGBTQ community.

“Realize that you don’t need to travel to attend Pride, hopefully there is a Pride within driving distance of you,” said Raymond Braun, an LGBTQ media personality, and executive producer and host of the new documentary State of Pride. “If not, it could be an amazing opportunity for you to get involved with your community, working with your local LGBTQ youth center or other groups of like-minded people to start your own gathering, which can be as modest as getting a flag on a picnic table and encouraging people to come out and meet fellow members of the community and just hang.”

Get creative with your Pride outfit

Pride is a time when everyone loves to dress up in festive attire or colorful costumes, and it’s tempting to go online and buy everything rainbow that you can find. “But because those looks are so distinct, a lot of people tend to only wear them once or twice,” Braun said. To save money, he suggests sharing outfits with friends. You and a friend can swap and wear what the other wore last year, for example. Braun also suggested going to a local consignment or thrift store to find something colorful and affordable.

Bring your own snacks

One of the more expensive parts of Pride festivals can be the food and drinks, Braun said, so rather than buying everything while out and about, pack like you’re going to a picnic. “Have your Pride pack with granola bars, a bottle of water and those essentials so you don’t need to splurge as much with concessions while you’re actually there,” he said. Keep in mind that some Pride events don’t permit you to bring in outside food or drink, so check the rules before you go.

Remember the spirit of Pride

While it’s easy to get caught up in the costumes and parties, don’t forget what Pride is really about. “For me, you don’t need to pay any money for the most important aspects of Pride,” Braun said, “which is an opportunity to be around people from the LGBTQ community, to connect, to show support for each other, to try to create a space where people can be their most authentic selves.”

Feeling affirmed and seen, celebrating our history and the trailblazers that made it possible is the essence of Pride, he said, and you don’t have to spend any money to be part of that experience.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Emily Starbuck Gerson
Emily Starbuck Gerson |

Emily Starbuck Gerson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emily here


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The LGBTQ Community Faces Many Financial Challenges — Here’s How to Overcome Them

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.


Getting your financial house in order is a tough chore, regardless of your circumstances. But when you’re in the LGBTQ community, it can be even harder. Systemic discrimination, emotional and familial struggles, and sometimes the inability to start a family biologically, can bring additional financial challenges.

“People often ask us what makes queer money different,” said David Auten, who with his husband John Schneider, runs the Debt Free Guys blog and Queer Money podcast. They believe 80% of money is the same for everyone — the basic transactional aspects like spending, saving and investing.

“There’s 20% that is specific to who we are, who we love, where we live and the family structure that we have, and in many cases, the legacy emotional aspects that we bring into life,” Auten said. Growing up being ostracized or bullied creates emotional wounds that can last for a lifetime, prompting people to overspend in attempt to make showy displays of wealth to prove self-worth, he said. “In our opinion, that has a much bigger role in how we interact with money than the other 80%.”

It takes some extra effort to understand what these challenges are and how to overcome them, but it can be done. If you’re in the LGBTQ community and you need to improve your financial situation, here’s what you need to know.

Discrimination is a major barrier to financial success for the LGBTQ community

The LGBTQ community is up against numerous disadvantages that present financial challenges, said Mariam Adams, a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management advisor in New York City whose practice focuses on the LGBTQ community.

These struggles often start in adolescence, Adams said, since some LGBTQ youth have unsupportive families and are much more likely to end up homeless. Adams’ parents were from Afghanistan and did not have LGBTQ in their vocabulary. She grew up as a closeted lesbian. Not knowing how her family would react to her coming out, she made sure she was financially secure first in case she was cut off. “I don’t think my friends were going through that struggle at the time,” she said.

One in four LGBTQ people have experienced employment discrimination in the last five years, and it’s worse for the transgender community, according to Out & Equal. Transitioning in and of itself can be expensive, but fears of being fired from a job or denied housing simply for being LGBTQ — which is still legal in dozens of states — add more pressure.

Nearly 53% of the LGBTQ community report discrimination negatively affecting their work environment, and this discrimination can be seen in reports of lower income for LGBTQ people than the general population, Adams said. Plus, the gender gap persists; LGBTQ women earn even less than LGBTQ men. And if someone wants to live in a more LGBTQ-friendly city like New York or San Francisco, she said, that adds extra costs, making it even harder to get by.

LGBTQ people also tend to spend more than non-LGBTQ people, Adams said, and they’re less knowledgeable about finances and don’t take as much advantage of financial products or advisors. She said working with a financial professional can make people feel vulnerable and exposed, and not everyone in the LGBTQ community trusts that someone at a financial institution will know how to — or be willing to — help them.

All of these factors take a toll — a recent survey commissioned by the podcast Team Nancy and conducted by polling firm Morning Consult found that 52% of self-identified queer people feel anxiety around their finances, and 25% say their sexuality or gender has impacted their finances. A separate survey by MassMutual found that nearly half of LGBTQ workers between the ages of 25 and 65 did not feel financially secure, compared to 37% of non-LGBTQ people.

Feeling discouraged? Take a deep breath: here’s what you can do about it.

7 ways the LGBTQ community can overcome financial challenges

Get to the root cause of spending

You might think the first way to get your financial house in order is to make a spreadsheet and a budget, but until you address your subconscious beliefs and emotions around money, it’s hard to make any real progress, Schneider said.

So many people in the community have been ostracized, bullied or picked on when growing up, he added, which results in many limiting beliefs about “who we are, what we’re worth and whether or not we’re validated by society.”

After Schneider and Auten paid off $51,000 in credit card debt, they had an epiphany about their spending. “We started to realize one of the reasons why we got into so much debt is we were making up for feelings of inferiority, making up for being bullied and picked on when we were kids, making up for the fact that our families and our churches, our classmates and everyone in our lives basically were reminding us over and over again that because we were gay, we just weren’t good enough,” Auten said. “One of the easiest ways to prove that you’re a good person in this country is to show you have wealth and financial means.”

The couple had 13 years of combined experience in financial services when they finally confessed to each other that they were each struggling financially. “In theory, we knew better, but we were sabotaging ourselves financially, mostly because the 20% that most affected us was that limiting belief that we weren’t really good enough,” Schneider said. So take the time to examine any limiting beliefs or lingering emotions that might be holding you back or causing you to overspend. Meet with a mental health or financial professional if you need help digging deep.

Know your health access barriers — and insurance rights

The Affordable Care Act and recent supreme court rulings have increased access to health insurance and healthcare for many in the LGBTQ community. Regardless, discrimination, and past negative experiences with healthcare professionals have caused some LGBTQ individuals to delay access to needed medical care. To help you find a health care provider you feel comfortable with, there’s a provider directory from Health Profesionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (formally the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association) that lists practitioners considered to be LGBTQ-friendly.

For transgender individuals looking to transition, hormone replacement therapy can also be difficult to obtain. However, if you have health insurance, be aware that under federal law, it’s now illegal for health insurance to exclude transition-related care. While this doesn’t mean an employer has to fully cover every procedure, you may be able to get exceptions if you show that it’s medically necessary. If you face denial or discrimination from a health insurer or medical practitioner, speak up — the National Center for Transgender Equality suggests a variety of options for recourse if you can’t get quality care. Also, if you aren’t able to afford health insurance, there are clinics around the country, including some Planned Parenthood locations, that offer affordable hormone replacement therapy.

Financially plan to start a family

If you want to have kids and aren’t able to biologically, prepare in advance due to the massive cost, Adams said. If you don’t, it can result in significant debt. She helps her LGBTQ clients save and invest for family planning, and she said it’s crucial to start setting aside and investing money as soon as possible so it can grow through compound interest.

She recommended setting up a separate investment plan specifically for this purpose. Also, it’s ideal to meet with a financial advisor or planner who can help you assess the best way to invest since it will vary depending on how much time you have and how much money you ultimately need.

Adams has found that public adoption through foster care can cost from nothing up to nearly $3,000, but people who go through a private adoption agency can spend anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000.

For lesbian couples in which one wants to carry a baby, intrauterine insemination (IUI) can cost about $3,000 per try, Adams said; that’s what she and her wife had to pay since their insurance didn’t cover it. If that doesn’t work, or if one partner wants to carry the other’s egg, you can try in vitro fertilization, but this is much more expensive. Adams and her wife used this method for their second pregnancy, and it cost them around $30,000 including all of the medications and appointments. In both cases, couples often have to try more than once before they have success. For male couples who want to use a surrogate to have a biological child, Adams typically advises a budget of $125,000 for the entire process, and she’s never seen it cost less than $100,000 total.

An increasing number of companies now offer infertility benefits in their health insurance, Adams noted. However, if the same-sex couple isn’t actually medically infertile, Adams said, some insurance providers won’t cover these services, so don’t assume you have these benefits. Adams recommended talking to your HR department to determine your benefits and push for better ones if they’re lacking.

Additionally, if you’re in a same-sex relationship and you’re not biologically related to your child, it’s recommended to take action to become a legal parent. While some states presume you are a parent if you and your spouse were married when the child was born, the National Center for Lesbian Rights recommends all same-sex couples with children establish a legal connection between parent and child, especially if the child was adopted, so that both parents have full legal rights and can make decisions for the child. It also makes estate planning easier if you are the legal parent, especially if you don’t have a will (but you should get a will!).

Get on the same page as your partner

If you’re coupled up, it’s vital that you talk to your partner about money. Auten said his audience often shares that they struggle to talk about finances with their partners and sometimes avoid it altogether. He’s not surprised — it took him and Schneider about a year and a half into their relationship to finally get comfortable enough to share where they stood financially.

“If you’re not on the same page as the person you make financial decisions with, you’re never going to be able to get very far down a road of progress,” Auten said. “If you’re a saver and they’re a spender and you put your money into the same account, well, you’ll probably never end up actually saving money.”

Not sure how to broach the subject? “One of the things that we encourage is that individuals start the conversation with their partner in a very non-confrontational way, talking about their hopes and dreams, what they want their future life to look like, or some of the fun things they really want to do together as a couple,” Auten said. Rather than focusing on how to pay off debt, for example, he said instead start by focusing on what the two of you want your life to look like in a year or three years and make a game plan for your debt from there.

If you and your partner aren’t married yet, Adams suggested considering it. While some in the LGBTQ community don’t feel the need to follow the traditional path of marriage, she said, it can be very beneficial from a financial planning perspective. Since marriage equality came into play, same-sex spouses can file taxes jointly, inherit each other’s money without paying estate taxes and receive their spouse’s Social Security, VA and pension benefits. These perks can be helpful for your family’s finances, Adams said.

Attack your debt

It’s hard to save for emergencies and invest in your future if you’re drowning in debt, so it’s key to get it under control. While the snowball and avalanche methods are common tactics to get out of debt, Auten said, he and Schneider don’t believe they’re the most effective.

“Neither the avalanche or snowball focus on eliminating the biggest hurdle to your debt, especially when it comes to credit card debt, and that is eliminating or reducing the interest payments that you’re making,” Auten said. “Both of those methods are designed around either paying off the largest balance or the highest interest first.” However, Auten said when the pair had $51,000 in credit card debt, they realized they were paying $10,000 a year in interest alone. “We just knew that there was no short-term path to progress for us if we continued to pay that massive amount of interest,” he said.

Instead, they created their own method, “the debt lasso method,” which they said entails intelligently refinancing debt so you can pay off more of your principal balance. They encourage people to “lasso” all of their consumer debt into as few locations as possible. Ideally, you could consolidate your debt under one balance transfer credit card with 0% interest, which allows you to expedite your ability to pay off debt, he said.

Utilize free resources

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s plenty of free help out there. Auten and Schneider recommended finding personal finance blogs and podcasts you can relate to — whether its theirs or one of the many others available — to start educating yourself and learning money best practices.

Schneider recommended looking for a Capital One Café in your area (you can search for locations online). You don’t have to have an account with them to get up to three free money coaching sessions. They don’t do hard pressure sales on you, he said, and they guide you through emotions and limiting beliefs around money. If you’re struggling to get on the same page as your partner financially, they can also serve as a helpful intermediary, Schneider said.

If debt is a big issue for you, you could also set up a free consult with a credit counselor to assess your situation. There are also digital financial tools that can help, such as budgeting apps like Mint and savings apps like Qapital.

Find an expert

If you need help beyond that, consider meeting with a certified financial planner, who can help you identify goals, create a budget and devise a big picture plan to get you on track. If you have money that you’re not sure how to best save or invest, you could meet with a wealth advisor like Adams, who invests money for clients based on their goals. There are several different fee structures out there; some planners charge a flat fee or hourly fee. If someone is managing your investments, they typically charge a percent of the assets being managed.

Being an LGBTQ person in America poses many challenges that can create financial stress. But being aware of the most common issues and taking steps to overcome them and achieve financial security can make life a lot easier.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Emily Starbuck Gerson
Emily Starbuck Gerson |

Emily Starbuck Gerson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emily here