While love may have felt simple for the two 54-year-olds, the financial part of their relationship was less cut and dried.
Some things just get easier with age, but marriage isn't necessarily one of them. This especially is the case if yours is a "later-in-life" marriage. There may be some unique financial and legal shoals to navigate.
If you're no stranger to the game, then some of the later-in-life marriage challenges will be familiar, others less so. For example, do any of these issues have a familiar ring: shall we have "separate accounts or joint accounts?" is it better to "file individually or file jointly?" and shall we live in "your house or mine?"
This subject was taken up in a recent MarketWatch article titled "Marrying after 50? Tackle these money issues first."
Essentially, young married couples simply don't have as many accounts, assets, liabilities, health concerns, dependents, or complex family relationships. For them, marriage might be as simple as saying "I do." Now that you've got all of that stuff and your own lifelong relationships, this can get complicated (and fast) when you add the stuff and lifelong relationships of your later-in-life spouse.
If you haven't thought through the potential challenges, here are a few to get you started:
- Social Security and pension benefits
- Healthcare, health needs, and Medicare benefits
- Past marriages and alimony
- Children and college financial planning
- Your estate, your heirs, and your beneficiaries
The original article goes into some depth regarding each of these points. Remember, however, they are complex and intertwined.
When making your financial, tax and estate plans, don't go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.