Getting married later in life allows you to solidify a bond with a partner who you can enjoy your golden years with. However, senior marriages also pose challenges. For example, older people tend to have more assets, which need to be carefully merged or kept distinct, according to your preferences. People later in life are also more set in their ways when it comes to things like how they communicate, which can impact the marriage.
This guide provides pointers for people marrying in their golden years, covering both practical and emotional issues.
Figure out your living arrangements
If you're getting married, you'll probably want to move in together. Decide in advance how you will handle this. Will you get a new place together, or will one person move into the other one's home? If one of you is going to sell their home, making upgrades can increase the property value, allowing for a higher sale price. Examples of useful updates include boosting curb appeal with landscaping and adding a fresh coat of paint. Make sure to keep receipts for all renovations, so you can quantify the increase in the home's sale value.
Revisit your respective estate planning documentation
Estate planning determines what happens to your assets, like property and pensions, after you pass on. If you were already married, you may have created legal documentation to leave such assets to your ex—for example, by creating a trust or drafting a will. When remarrying, you want to update this documentation to ensure assets go to your new spouse. You and your senior spouse should also discuss powers of attorney. A power of attorney determines who can make financial or medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated.
Determine how you'll handle your finances
By the time you get married as a senior, you've probably accumulated some wealth, like savings, pensions, and stocks and bonds. Figure out how you'll approach your finances before you and your partner tie the knot. You can combine your financial accounts or keep them separate. If you keep them separate, you have to factor this into your estate planning. For example, you can make some types of financial accounts transferable on death, meaning they automatically transfer to your spouse when you pass on.
Once you’ve determined how you’ll handle your financial affairs, it’s time to speak with a knowledgeable financial advisor. The experts at Inspire Wealth can help you develop a financial plan customized to your needs.
Update your tax and social security paperwork
Taxes and social security details need to be revised when you get married. For instance, say you decide to take your partner's last name. Your social security card should reflect your new name. When it comes to taxes, decide whether you'll want to file jointly or continue to file independently. A tax advisor can explain the repercussions either option will have on your tax burden. Check out this guide from CNBC, which details in which instances filing separately can be advantageous, such as if one of you has high medical bills.
Come up with a joint plan for long-term care
Even if you and your new spouse are in perfect health, you can't rule out the possibility of one or both of you requiring long-term care in the future. Consider how you'd like to approach this topic. Options include moving into an assisted living facility or hiring an in-home caretaker. In addition to coming to an agreement on where and how you'd like to live, you must also consider how to pay for this kind of care. You may want to set up a joint fund now to help cover such future expenses, for instance.
Commit to a consistent date night
So far, this article has focused on the practicalities of getting married in your senior years. However, getting married is about far more than finances. You also want to consider how you'll sustain a healthy relationship. A consistent date night can help. This gives you both an opportunity to focus on each other. Dates are also critical to encouraging communication, which is especially important for introverts. Elite Singles provides a list of senior date night ideas you can get inspiration from, like an at-home spa or cooking challenge.
Find a hobby you both love to enjoy together
A shared hobby can also be a great way to maintain a connection with your spouse. Examples range from learning a language to mastering new recipes. Another option is to start a business together, allowing you to do something you love while padding your retirement income. Establishing a company is a great way to keep working in retirement without committing to a nine-to-five.
Meet new people
As a senior couple, you may find that your social circle has shrunk since you retired or your children moved out of the home. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. One place to start is by joining a local seniors’ organization or club or by volunteering. Another idea is to catch up with old friends and acquaintances. If you’re unable to contact them through social media, you can use a search engine that allows you to locate alumni from your high school.
Keep the lines of communication open
Communication is critical to a successful relationship at any age. That said, adapting to a new person's communication style later in life can be difficult. This is especially true if one of you is an introvert and the other is an extrovert. By improving your communication abilities, you'll be better equipped to convey your needs and wants to your loved one—and to hear theirs as well.
Be prepared to compromise
Finding love later in life is a blessing. However, as you integrate your life with your new partner's, you may find that you have key differences when it comes to practicalities like household management or how you communicate. Be open to compromise and evolution. It can be hard to change when you're older and more set in your ways. However, change is what will allow you to thrive as a couple. Making small concessions can ultimately lead to greater happiness for both of you.
Getting married later in life can be a wonderful way to make the most of your golden years. However, it also comes with many practical considerations. Trust the tips above to help you navigate the intricacies of marriage in your senior years.