Couples Over 60: Marriage or Cohabitation?

"For a number of people in this age group, it's a financial issue. A woman could lose her pension if she remarries. It is just too costly. So even though they may feel they are not behaving appropriately, people feel they don't have choices."

More seniors today are choosing to cohabitate instead of walking down the aisle, and the consensus is not that the institution of marriage is lost as we age – it’s more of a financial decision to protect one’s retirement income.

Regardless, whether you (or a loved one) elect to marry or to cohabitate, you really ought to carefully weigh the consequences and seek appropriate counsel.

The dilemma between marriage and simple cohabitation (truthfully, it’s not so simple) was explored in a recent Yahoo! article by way of Bankrate.com. The article, titled “Financial pros and cons of shacking up after 60,” illustrates that there is much to think about, breaking many of the most important financial decisions into stages.

Essentially, there are important ramifications either way when it comes to retirement income, social security, and the medical care available through Medicare or Medicaid. And then there are the greater concerns of what is to happen to your respective families: whether they remain separate or have become joined, what inheritances to leave, or even how to ensure the well-being of the survivor.

Whether or not you choose to marry at an older age, make sure you have carefully considered the consequences of your decisions and then plan accordingly.  Keep in mind one possible solution to this dilemma: In Virginia, a religious ceremony is not legally recognized as 'marriage' without a marriage license.

Reference: Bankrate, Inc. via Yahoo! Finance (August 17, 2012) “Financial pros and cons of shacking up after 60

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