BOSTON (CBS) – Marriage is an institution. A fine institution meant to protect the family unit, but our laws don’t always protect the individuals the second time around.

Love happens and it’s wonderful at all ages. Those match making websites are not just for kids! But there are stages in our lives where it may not make fiscal sense to tie the knot formally.

This is a big financial issue as well as a psychological and social one for older couples. They don’t want to send the wrong message to their children or grandchildren by living together, but their practical side kicks in.

Unmarried heterosexual couples 65 and older living together increased over 70% in the last decade according the U.S. Census Bureau. They didn’t become more promiscuous, just more practical and they are willing to talk about it.

There are many more financial issues to consider now than there was 30 years ago. And it’s not that they are against marriage, on the contrary they want their children and grandchildren to be married, it’s just not right for them a second time around. This seems to be truer for individuals who were divorced. Some reasons not to get married:

  • Widows/widowers can lose their late spouse’s pensions or other retirement benefits such as health care if they re-marry.
  • A divorcee could lose their alimony if they re-marry and in some divorce decrees if they live with someone for more than 30 days. Haul out that agreement and re-read it.
  • If you are widowed and re-marry before age 60 you lose the ability to collect benefits on your late spouse’s Social Security record.
  • More of your Social Security benefits may be subject to taxation due to increased joint income.
  • If you are married and one of you needs nursing home care the healthy at-home spouse could be responsible financially for some of the nursing home costs.
  • There is no need to be accountable to anyone about your spending habits. So if your grandson wants a new car you can help finance it without asking permission. Especially true for women who like being financially independent.
  • Staying single gives you more flexibility as to who inherits your assets when you die. This is especially important the second time or third time around where there are children from a previous marriage you wish to protect.
  • Your adult children may not want you to marry the golf pro because they worry that he is after Daddy’s insurance money!

You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.


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