This blog post goes deeper into the financial issues of long-term relationships, including marriage, when you have a large age difference with your partner.
Please note we are not offering financial or legal advice, so please consult your financial advisor or an attorney for specific advice related to your situation. Also laws vary by country and state you need to do your own research.
Financial Issues to Consider
- Sharing expenses when living together (please see the previous blog post regarding division of expenses).
- For long term relationships, or married couples, a plan for what happens if you break up, including how to resolve legal and financial obligations is vital.
- Consider life insurance to provide the financially dependent partner with a safety net in case of a sudden change in the relationship, such as death. This can defer changing a will or trust. Usually, the most cost effective type of life insurance is “term” insurance.
- For the financially dependent partner, you need to protect yourself in case of an unforeseen event (death or a break up) Also, you should start your own savings account, pay off your debts, establish health insurance, etc.
- The financially stronger of the couple should prepare an instruction letter to the dependent partner as to how to carry on and resolve financial issues in case of a sudden death. This is especially important if the dependent partner is the younger of the two. This letter should contain a list of all bank & brokerage accounts, all other assets, any loan information, contact info for the family attorney, location of a will, trust document, living will for end of life healthcare wishes, family members to contact, burial information, access codes to all computer files / accounts and anything else the survivor should know to move on in life.
Reasons to Consider Marriage
- Commitment (both emotionally, legally, and more).
- Women need to be very careful if having children without being married as they may not have rights as to spousal support (alimony), child support, health insurance and retirement benefits of the insured partner.
- If fact, even the right to visit a critically ill person in a hospital may be limited to a spouse of close family member.
- If acceptance by family, friends and the public is important to you, marriage demonstrates that you are a legitimate, committed couple.
Reasons to Not Get Married
- If you are both independently wealthy and don’t want to have issues with separating estates.
- If you both have children and want to keep assets separate.
- If you aren’t sure it’s going to work out.
Issues Related to Marriage
From Investopedia (link below)
- Couples who plan to marry should discuss finances, children, assets, housing, retirement, insurance, and more before their wedding.
- When combining finances, it’s best to be open about everything from your degree of indebtedness to investment strategies and retirement plans.
- Be sure to update your tax information, determine your filing status, and update your name and benefit status with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- Complete estate planning to see that your families’ financial needs are met after you die, and update beneficiary information for wills, life insurance policies, and the like.
- Consider creating a prenuptial agreement to ensure that your financial assets are protected in the event of a divorce and to clarify property division when one of you dies.
Podcast & YouTube Links
We hope you consider listening to the full episode in podcast form, or watching it on YouTube.