A lot has changed in the 29 years since the first National Coming Out day in 1989. A majority of American's are in favor of homosexual relationships. Marriage is legal in all 50 states. There are laws in place making LGBT individuals a protected class for acts of violence or employment discrimination. There are members of the LGBT community that are in the public eye as actors, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and athletes serving as role models for millions of Americans everyday. Some would suggest that it's time to end National Coming Out Day as it continues to reinforce the notion that heterosexuality is the norm. We're not here to make such broad statements. We're here to stress the importance of doing what you need to do in order to maintain balance in your life. Not doing so can lead to real issues in your social life, your budget, and ultimately your long term financial health.
We try to keep a pretty light tone around here, but there's no way to sugar coat this. According to Healthline, LGBT youth are twice as likely to be depressed as their straight counterparts. 55% of LGBT youth feels unsafe in their learning environment and suicide is the third leading cause of death in people aged 10-24. Whether or not coming out is the right thing for you today, you have got to make sure you address the things you are feeling in a healthy and safe way. Buzzfeed has some great recommendations to help you stay balanced while you decide what your path is. If you're looking for a resource center near you, check out .
Okay, personal finance site - why all the mental health talk? Because being in a good mental place is crucial to setting and sticking to your financial goals. Setting good habits early on is essential to long term stability and hitting savings targets for retirement. Before we get into our favorite part of each post, the algebra equation, here are some fun money sucking facts from the CDC. LGBT individuals are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, and be addicted to other substances due, at least in part, to the higher rates of depression. Let's say you are a closeted young person at the age of 18. You're smoking 5 packs of cigarettes a week or spending about $30. You also know a guy that'll pass you a handle of bottom shelf vodka for $20 and you're going through one during the week, and an additional one over the weekends. Your budget for bad decisions is at about $190 month. You cycle through this for about 4 years while you sort through your demons. What would have happened if you invested that $190 into an investment account with an average growth rate of 7%? Well, after investing $190 a month for four years, you'd end up with $10,444 at the end of your journey. That's $1,324 in interest. Not super impressive. You might think you were better off having fun and coping, right? Maybe. But what happens when you let that $10,444 sit in the same investment account and don't touch it for the next 40 years? Through the powers of compounding interest, if you're able to maintain a 7% growth rate, you'll be looking at an account balance of $156,444. You also save yourself from suffering through bottom shelf vodka. If you want to play around with numbers that reflect your lifestyle today, here's a good calculator from Bankrate.
This calculation doesn't take into account the negative impact you can have on your budget by funding your vices with a credit card, or worse, using a student loan. The ongoing damage of borrowing money to chase a high (whether it is substance abuse or retail therapy) can be devastating to a budget long term. If you're currently facing the aftermath of battling your demons and have high interest loans/credit card debt, consider a balance transfer credit card, or a personal loan with a lower interest rate.
You're obviously going to need to engage in some social activities to stay mentally fit. Entertaining yourself safely on a budget is feasible. We're also not naive enough to think you'll make it through adolescence without some missteps. Again, you know yourself the best. Balance your life like you would a budget. You always want to stay out of the red.
I guess what we're trying to say with this post is whether you are looking to stay hidden in the closet behind that terrible pair of acid washed jeans from 1988 or you're planning the ultimate coming out reveal, we support you. Coming out should be about what you are comfortable with. Don't do it because you think it is the right thing to do for someone else or because there is a day dedicated to it. Do what makes you happy and the money will follow.
"If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love your budget" RuPaul(ish).