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Domestic partners get good news

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

There was good news last week for gay and lesbian couples. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, violates the Constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

The decision, which was unanimous, opens the door for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the issue and potentially overturn the law.

Domestic partners -- whether they are lesbian, gay or even straight but unable to marry -- face all the same retirement planning challenges as  conventional couples, plus other unique ones that would be diminished by legal acceptance of their unions.

Despite the difficulties they face, a nationwide survey on behalf of Wells Fargo showed that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered, or LGBT, people report a high level of confidence in their retirement planning compared to the general population. In the survey, 61 percent of LGBT nonretirees felt confident they would have enough saved by the time they retire to live the lifestyle they want throughout their retirement. That's significantly higher than the 53 percent of the general population who feel that way.

Nevertheless, some 54 percent of LGBT respondents say that retirement planning would be easier if their union were  recognized as equal to the relationships of those who are conventionally paired. Only 7 percent say legalizing gay marriage isn't important to their retirement planning.

Wells Fargo is among the financial planning organizations that employs financial planners who are Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisers, a certification that equips planners to deal with the unique needs and financial considerations of domestic partners. Gay or straight, if you aren't married to your life partner, getting retirement planning help from an adviser who understands your unique issues is a smart step.

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