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What Senior Couples Should Consider When Marrying in Their Golden Years

When marrying later in life, senior couples have a whole lot more to discuss than wedding plans, seating charts, and gift registries. Older couples have many years of living behind them, and there are several considerations that should be made to ensure a happy marriage and healthy financial future.

Financial and Legal Considerations

There are many advantages of marrying later in life, but there are also some financial cons to be aware of when tying the knot at 50, 60, 70, or 80+ years of age. For one, there’s the marriage tax penalty for higher-earning couples. And in many cases, filing taxes separately will not lessen this financial burden. 

There are also challenges associated with combining finances later in life, updating information with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and making changes to estate plans — especially when seniors have children from former marriages or domestic partnerships. As such, it’s important for senior couples to be transparent and discuss the following topics well before saying ‘I do’: 

  • Credit histories and credit scores
  • Everyday expenses
  • Current assets and debts
  • Financial obligations to children, grandchildren, relatives, and former spouses
  • Retirement plans and savings
  • Estate plans (including life insurance policies, trusts, and wills)
  • Preferences toward investing, saving, and managing money
  • Medical concerns, healthcare costs, and insurance coverages

For some senior couples, obtaining a prenuptial agreement is a wise decision when marrying later in life. Laurie Israel of MarketWatch recommends working with a prenuptial meditator to determine the specific terms of the agreement. 

Housing Considerations

In addition to the financial and legal considerations noted above, senior couples need to decide where they’ll live after getting married in their Golden Years. Will they live together or apart? Will they buy a new home as a married couple, rent an apartment or condo, transition into senior living, or will one partner move in with the other? There are pros and cons of each housing option, and couples need to determine what works best for their health, relationship, and financial situation. 

If senior couples wish to buy a new home together, it’s important to find one that’s suitable for aging in place. These homes typically feature one-level floor plans; widened entryways, doorways, and hallways; accessible showers, bathtubs, and toilets; and open interiors for those using wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Modifications can also be made in the future to improve a home’s accessibility, prevent accidents and falls, and allow senior couples to live independently at home as they age. 

Keeping the Spark Alive Year After Year

Whether couples marry at 20, 40, 60, or 80, keeping the spark alive after the honeymoon phase wears off takes effort — and that’s where regular date nights come in. Date nights improve communication and intimacy in marriages, strengthen relationships, reduce stress and tension, and keep things exciting as time goes on.

To keep the spark alive in a senior marriage, try meeting for a hike, picnic, or coffee date. Or plan a night out at a jazz club, line dancing bar, or concert venue. Other great options for seniors include plays and operas, wine and beer tastings, stargazing excursions, and sporting events.

Fortunately, it’s possible to enjoy regular date nights with your spouse without spending more than you can afford. Sports fans, for instance, can secure discounted tickets for the LA Dodgers. There are sites that can be used to filter tickets by date, seat rating, and price range. Use an interactive seating chart offering 360-degree views, so it’s easy to find the best seats at Sloan Park, Camelback Ranch Stadium, Hohokam Park, or another stadium near you. The same goes in finding discounted tickets for concerts, musicals, plays, and ballets. 

In Conclusion

Marriage is a big deal at any age, but older adults have even more to consider before tying the knot. To ensure a long, financially healthy marriage in their Golden Years, seniors should be as upfront as possible about their financial situation so there are no major surprises after saying ‘I do’.

By Lydia Chan | Alzheimer's Caregiver

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