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April 06, 2021

The costs of being a gay couple

For years, gay activists have lamented the fact that same-sex couples shoulder health, legal and other living costs that heterosexual couples don’t have to worry about.

GayIn Canada at least, some of this disparity has disappeared now that same-sex couples generally have the same social and tax benefits as heterosexuals in common-law relationships.

But, with all the election talk centring around a host of “family” tax credits, it’s only a matter of time before someone starts revisiting just what constitutes a family unit and what that means in financial terms. 

A couple of years ago, the New York Times set out to come up with a ball park estimate of an American couple’s lifetime cost of being gay.

Their conclusion: In the worst case, close to half a million U.S. dollars. And, while the number in Canadian terms doesn’t come close to that, it’s certainly not zero. It’s also likely to jump on a relative basis if some of the Conservative proposals on family income splitting come to pass.

To come up with its figure, the Times created a same-sex couple whose real life situation might mirror that of a straight couple, concentrating on the three states with the largest LGBT populations – New York, California and Florida – to track typical incomes and expenses.

The study assumed the couples were together until one partner died, were college-educated and raised children.

As the article points out, where any particular couple ends up financially varies widely depending on particular circumstances. In fact, some gay couples might actually better off financially by staying unmarried – just like many heterosexual couples in the U.S.

Do you see any parallels here? Or do you think Canada’s existing same-sex legislation has created a level playing field? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.




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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...