First comes loves, then comes marriage ... and then come complicated financial planning needs.

In the wake of this summer's Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 -- as well as ensuing federal clarifications related to tax rules, employee spousal benefits and more -- same-sex couples now say they need help with financial planning, according to an IRI study.

The vast majority (86%) of those surveyed say they need help with at least some aspect of financial planning.

The report surveyed 504 lesbian and gay adults living in jurisdictions that allow same-sex marriages; respondents were either married,  unmarried and living together, civil partners, engaged or separated.

Many have begun making financial changes already, the survey found. Since the DOMA ruling, 53% of respondents either have changed (or plan to change) the beneficiary on one of the partners' defined benefit plan; 38% have changed or plan to change a will; 23% have added a spouse or been added to their spouse’s health plan; and 18% have filed amended taxes on prior year tax filings.

Among the report's other findings:

  • 46% of unmarried same-sex couples now plan to marry as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, and about 60% of same-sex couples in civil partnerships plan to marry.
  • The area in which same-sex couples say they most need financial assistance is retirement planning, accounting for about half of respondents. Other areas were investing, tax planning, estate planning and general financial management.
  • About 87% have money saved for retirement, with 78% saying they added to their retirement savings during the past year. The median amount of retirement savings for the respondents was $183,700; 40% have saved $250,000 or more, but this is largely skewed toward those aged 55 and over, the report found.
  • About a quarter of same-sex couples are uncertain as to when they will retire, and 40% have not determined how much they will need to save to live comfortably in retirement.

The full report is available online.


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