By Rhonda Underhill
According to research, more people aged 55 and older are getting remarried than in years past. Whether you are part of that group or getting married for the first time, there are several hurdles to navigate when getting married in your golden years.
1. Consider Whether Marriage Makes Sense
This is a step that everyone should take, but as someone who probably already has a substantially established lifestyle to consider, it is particularly important for you. From a practical standpoint, marriage has certain benefits, such as making it easier for you to transfer your assets to your spouse when you die. On the downside, it also creates a need to protect your assets in case the marriage goes south, so you may want to create a pre-nuptial agreement. While it requires more jumping through hoops, there are other ways to achieve these goals, so you should also consider the emotional aspects before deciding to take the plunge.
2. Talk to Your Kids
If either or both you and your partner have children, they probably have concerns about your marriage. Listen to their concerns, but make it clear that this is your decision. If there is animosity between your children and your partner, you may need to accept that you can't fix that. If your children are minors, talk to everyone involved about what role your partner will have in parenting them. Establish ground rules about what portion of your joint finances will be used for taking care of the kids. Work with an estate planning attorney to create a plan that looks after the interests of both your children and your spouse.
3. Decide How to Handle Your Finances
Before you tie the knot, talk to your partner about your finances. Go over all of the assets, debts, and savings you have between you. Review your credit scores. If one or both of you have substantial debt, make a plan for how you will manage it.
4. Decide Where You Will Live
If you aren't already living together, you must decide whether you will move into one of your existing homes, continue to live separately, or find a new place to live. If you will be living together, this may be a good time to downsize, since you likely already need to get rid of some things to be able to combine your households. If you will be looking for a new place, investigate federal housing programs for seniors and senior living communities. Keep your accessibility needs in mind when considering options.
5. Plan for Medical Expenses
The average annual cost of healthcare for people over the age of 65 is $11,300 per year. Additionally, one or both of you may need to relocate to an assisted living or skilled care community at an average monthly cost of $4,300. It is best to start planning for these expenses now. Research assisted and skilled care communities in your area and make note of the ones that fit your budget and needs so that you will be prepared if the time comes. Consider any special needs you may have, such as care for someone who has dementia.
Getting married in your golden years can be a rewarding experience. However, it can also be a challenging one. The more proactive you are about confronting the challenges, the more successful your marriage is likely to be.