Queercents.com - Financial Tips from a Queer Perspective


Queercents is a great blog written by and for the queer community. Founded by Nina Smith, the Queercents site offers tips, anecdotes, and epiphanies about finance, taxes, investing, and more, all from a queer perspective. I particularly enjoy Ten Money Questions, an interview column in which Nina asks prominent members of the gay community about their own financial habits and insights.

I asked Nina (alas, using only seven questions) to give us some insights into the need for a blog site like Queercents, and she answered with more thought and wit than my questions deserved. Read on, and enjoy! And be sure to check out Queercents.


How long have you been working on Queercents?

Queercents launched in April 2006, but I have been blogging about personal finances for almost two years.

What qualities do you have that make you suited to provide financial tips to others?

Thank you for asking about qualities and not credentials. It’s worth noting that we don’t pretend to be licensed financial professionals. We are just ordinary people making sensible money choices and willing to share these thoughts and findings in a public forum.

Prior to blogging, most of us had an epiphany at some point about finances. For me personally, it was at the age of 30. I was recovering from a second attempt at self-employment and doing whatever I could to make ends meet. I worked my share of demoralizing service jobs and was broke.

I finally established a career path and with success the money followed. However, I soon learned that the more money you make, the more you spend, and it still seemed like I didn’t have “enough” money. I read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad and it changed my perspective on finances. It taught me to buy assets (specifically, rental properties) with my income and forego liabilities. In less than a decade I changed my life and have a workable financial plan that provides passive income.

Does this make me an expert on money in the Suze Orman sense? Probably not… but does the world really need another Suze barking orders? Instead, most people can identify with our peer-to-peer approach when it comes to money. We’re just telling our personal finance stories… stories that are probably similar to the day-to-day experiences of our readers.

Why provide a separate finance blog for the queer community? Don’t straight and gay people have similar money issues?

Adrants reported shortly after our launch that, “It seems queers need financial advice too.” You concluded correctly: gays and straight have similar money issues. But often times, the queer voice is missing in the messaging. For example, Paula mentioned in a recent post that she’s never seen anyone resembling a queer person or queer couple profiled in the Fidelity newsletter called Stages.

As a lesbian, I’m not represented, and this makes me feel excluded. The writings at Queercents are written from a queer perspective and I think the LGBT community appreciates the inclusion.

That said, there are financial topics that are different for queers and this usually revolves around marriage (or lack thereof) and children. Incidentally, I had an unmarried woman with a male partner write a guest post on the topic of unmarried partnerships.

In many ways, she found they are similar to a same sex unmarried relationship. They face many of the same challenges from a legal and financial perspective but she concluded that there are some differences. It’s a poignant article and you would never find this conversation on CNN Money or a typical personal finance site.

Would you advise queer folks to invest their money differently than straight people? And what on Earth are bisexuals to do?

Rich is writing a four-part series right now on investing and his findings are similar to the straight world. That said, I recently posted about the Out and Aging Study from MetLife and it clearly states that lesbians need to crank it into high gear when it comes to planning for retirement. Lesbians lag behind when compared to straights and gay men. Queercents is uniquely positioned to spur these women on!

Re: Bisexuals. When Queercents interviewed Bob Witeck and Wes Combs, the authors of Business Inside Out, we asked a similar question in the context of bisexual consumers. There tends to be two groups within this sub segment… those that identify with the gay and lesbian community and those that identify with the straight community. Confusing, isn’t it? Regardless, after their money is safe and growing, perhaps they should just sit back and enjoy the free drinks that both sexes are buying them.

Is blogging about finances, money, and frugality a viable way to make a living?

I love writing and wish it could be my job, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. It’s a hobby at this point and a way for me to contribute to the community.

Are there any financial web sites, besides blogs, that you read on a regular basis? How about financial magazines?

I mostly read magazines and it’s the usual suspects: Money, Fortune, SmartMoney, and Kiplinger’s. Typically, my choice is influenced by whichever cover grabs my attention at the airport newsstand. I only read financial web sites when I’m doing research for my posts, but nothing is bookmarked and read daily. I save that for destinations like Lifehacker… any site with useful productivity tips is valuable. After all, time is money.

What are your plans for Queercents? Are you planning on expanding the site beyond financial topics?

We intend to keep it finance focused. My goal is to add additional contributing writers that expand the content of specific areas. Allison is a great example. She doesn’t post very often, but when she does it’s typically about taxes… a topic that I rarely consider or cover.

I also want to attract contributing writers that would broaden our diversity. As you might have noticed, we’re all white and I think that’s a shame because it’s not a true representation of the LGBT community. Also, we don’t have a transgender voice on the site. If you know anyone that’s interested in coming on board, then let us know. We would love to hear from them. Good luck with your writing efforts at Wise Bread!

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Will Chen's picture

Great interview! Queercents is one of the most insightful PF blogs out there and I'm thrilled to learn more about Nina and her blog.

Paula's Picking Up the Tab is one of my all-time favorite articles.

It really resonates with me because, let's face it, Chinese people are very into the whole "let me pay, no I said let ME pay!" kind of thing.

Thanks for talking with us Nina.

P.S. With more and more people deciding to be single, I think the issue of same-sex partnerships will become increasingly important for straight people as well.

Andrea Karim's picture

I picked up that habit in China - I always insist on paying for everything when out with friends. REALLY hard to break.

Will Chen's picture

When we go out, we'll always dine in style and I'll always let you pay.

Andrea Karim's picture

Thanks, Will. I'm glad to see that you have my best interests at heart.

And now that I think about it, I'm probably going to go to my favorite Chinese place tonight... hmm... lazi ji... my favorite.