“As people find love for the second time, there is the initial euphoria and then the reality that 'this time it’s different' settles in.”
Although divorces are up for people over the age of 50, the good news is that many are finding love again, and remarriages for people over 55 are also on the rise.
Forbes’ recent article, “What You Should Know Before Remarrying,” cautions that you’re no longer the 20-something with just your hopes and dreams entering into a marriage. Now you’re apt to be a person who’s built a career, a family, and wealth over a lifetime. As you get older, you now see that there are other considerations when entering into marriage again.
Finances: You should have a money conversation with your future partner, and check each other’s credit report to discuss plans to handle any negative credit information or debt. Talk about each other’s budgets, current obligations, and promised obligations in the future like a college education for children or grandchildren, supporting kids or other relatives, paying alimony and caring for elderly parents.
Children: Get ready for the many emotions your children may experience. If necessary, seek a family counselor who has experience with blended families and step-parenting issues.
Assets: You and your future spouse both will have had years to accumulate substantial assets and your kids may have thoughts on what happens with those assets if you divorce or pass away. Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to be certain your assets are divided in accordance to your expectations. One option is a prenuptial agreement that says exactly what happens to your assets in the event of divorce or death, and may ease any worries of your offspring that they won’t be left out of an inheritance. There’s also a Qualified Terminable Interest Property or “QTIP” to consider. You can set this up to pay a second spouse the income from investments and let him or her live in the home you may have owned with your ex-spouse until the second spouse passes away. And you can make it so the second spouse won’t be able to sell the assets. Once the second spouse passes, your children can be named as the final beneficiaries.
Income: Look at your respective cash flow to determine how it may change if you marry. If you’re receiving a pension from a spouse due to divorce or death, ask the company’s HR department to see if your pension changes if you remarry. If you’re a widow or an ex-spouse eligible for a survivor's Social Security benefit, you may become ineligible if you remarry before age 60. At that point, typically you can remarry and still be eligible for the benefit. If you are receiving retirement Social Security on your ex-spouse’s record, a remarriage can stop your eligibility for the benefit; however, you may be eligible for your current spouse’s benefit.
Health: When you remarry at 50, “in sickness and in health” may mean “sicker and possibly even sicker.” Discuss past and current health problems, along with family health histories to prepare financially. See what you both have available to help with healthcare costs, like retiree healthcare plans and health savings accounts (HSA) that can help cover medical expenses, plus long-term care insurance.
These are difficult topics to discuss, but these discussions will help your second marriage to start off right.
Reference: Forbes (October 16, 2016) “What You Should Know Before Remarrying”