Cupid does not practice age discrimination. His darts can strike at any age and prompt thoughts of matrimony, whether you’re in your 20s or 60s. While love might or might not be better the second (or third or fourth) time around, it is different.
Late-life couples typically have more assets and responsibilities, but less time left together. This makes planning for the future a priority.
If you’re older than 50 and contemplating marriage, make a point of discussing your wishes regarding finances, personal responsibilities, retirement, and healthcare issues with your sweetie. Put your preferences in writing, preferably with professional help. Address:
- Individual assets you’re bringing to the marriage and how you want to distribute them
- Individual debt, and how to handle it
- Whether you want individual bank accounts, a joint account, or all three
- Your retirement preferences and resources
- Planning for your age-related health concerns
The many forms and documents you’ll need to update include:
- 401(k) plans
- Pension plans
- Life insurance
- Power of attorney
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Property titles
- Social Security
- Tax filing status
Gregory French, president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a practicing elder law attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, recommends prenuptial agreements for late-life couples. “A prenuptial agreement will eliminate a lot of stress on the assets at the back end,” French explained. “These are all questions that will be addressed eventually, and it’s much easier to do it at the front end.”
Even with the differences between late- and early-life marriages, there is one similarity: Clear communication about what each individual wants and needs from the relationship is what makes a marriage work.
After all, Cupid doesn’t discriminate.
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