Women over the age of 50 don’t seem to be terribly interested in matrimony, according to a recent Next Avenue article (“4 Reasons Women Get Married After 50,” August 2014). According to a survey done by Bowling Green State University in 2009, one in three boomers was unmarried; 58 percent were divorced, while 32 percent had never been married.
There are, however, financial and legal benefits to getting married at any age—and some women are deciding that romance isn’t the most important reason to take the plunge. Those with health concerns might marry a long-term partner in order to be added to his or her health insurance plan or to be able to visit each other in the hospital. Other incentives supporting marriage include potential tax breaks and being able to collect Social Security income based on a spouse’s earnings.
In the end, if a relationship is stable, why not approach marriage as rationally as you would any other big decision? TIAA-CREF’s Strategies for Second Marriage Planning offers advice on the ins and outs of financial planning for second marriages and blended families.
It’s important to be mindful of how your financial planning will have to change, especially if you have children from a prior relationship. Leaving an inheritance must be handled carefully; an asset owned jointly with your spouse goes to your spouse only—not your children—after you’re gone, unless you designate otherwise. Likewise, children cannot inherit retirement funds that name only your spouse as beneficiary. Establishing a trust can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. A trust can cover housing issues, too.
Another important topic to consider is how you will handle medical and financial concerns in the event of your disability, especially if you have children. A good estate plan, which may include a will, prenuptial agreement, and/or the establishment of a trust, can help avoid disagreements and make sure that your wishes are carried out properly.
Did you marry after 50? How much did finances play a part in your marital decisions?