Not Too Late to Love: Financial Tips for Marriage Later in Life

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Congratulations! You’ve found someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Your family has met your significant other and they couldn’t be happier for you! The two of you have bit the bullet and decided to get hitched. Wedding bells are in your near future.  

But how do you have the hard conversations about finances? Hopefully you’ve already begun the conversation, but you need a little guidance. Should you combine accounts, or keep them separate? How do you go about dealing with your will? These are tough questions in your new relationship, but we’ve got some love experts here to help guide you down the right path so you can focus on what really matters: time with your loved one!

Merging Your Money

headshot of Kimberly SeltzerKimberly Seltzer has a passion for help singles with their dating life by boosting their building confidence and offering sage advice. Kimberly is a therapist, make-over expert and dating coach. She is a renowned speaker and regularly shares her knowledge at national matchmaking conferences. Kimberly is also the co-host on the dating show “The Great Love Debate.”

We talked with Kimberly about whether it’s better to combine your finances or keep them separate.

There are a few things to consider when making the decision to combine funds. First, take look at whether this is a first time marriage or not.  A couple where one or both parties have been married before may have other assets and possibly children involved so there are more things to consider when mixing funds.  

Secondly, a couple needs to have open communication around their feelings and values around money and trust.  Some couples believe that combining assets elicits more trust in a relationship by joining forces with money as long as it financially makes sense.

Don’t avoid having these conversations. Kimberly suggests making sure not to wait until after marriage.

Overall, a couple needs to have healthy discussions around many of these topics before getting married to avoid problems later on.  The more open communication that occurs in regards to money and values in a proactive way, the greater chance of success and happiness when a couple is faced with these big decisions together.

Every couple is different and you have to do what works for you. As long as their is good communication and love, that is what matters.

Two (Homes) Become One

headshot of Tracey SteinbergTracey Steinberg is a dating expert who is on a mission to help singles love themselves first, and then find someone special to love. She has appeared on TV shows like Dr. Oz and Fox & Friends, and has been published in Redbook, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

Tracey gives some great advice when it comes to answering the big question: Whose house will you live in once you tie the knot?

The first question I would ask is whose home do you spend the most time in? Are you both comfortable and happy there? If so, great! Sell the other person’s home and enjoy having a new and big chunk of change.

But what if it’s not that simple and you can’t come to an agreement? Tracey suggests keeping it light and talking it through.

Set aside some time one evening, pour yourselves a glass of wine, and talk about what the ideal home is regardless of limitations. Then, keep talking until you can agree on some sort of ideal fantasy of where exactly you want to live. You can each have five non-negotiables and then have fun looking through listings and imagining your new home together. This is a fun time!

Once you decide where to live, start the process of going through your furniture and belongings to decide what you need to keep and what you need to get rid of. It’s a lot of work, but it will be worth the hassle. If you need some help, get your family involved, or hire a professional organizer if family means too much drama.

Get a Financial “Check-Up”

headshot of Julie SpiraJulie Spira, the woman behind Cyber Dating Expert, is considered to be one of the pioneers of internet dating. Julie made her first dating profile over 20 years ago. Since then, she has been very successful at helping celebrities and others find their perfect match using social media. Julie is the author of two bestselling online books, and was called one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Social Media by Fast Company.

Julie shares her advice about sorting through your credit and retirement plan.

It’s my recommendation to sit down with you partner and review your credit reports to see if there’s any cleaning up to do. Decide if you want have a joint household account, but still keep a separate personal account for incidentals and gifts that you might want to purchase on your own. Knowing that you have a retirement plan in place that will keep each other feeling secure will help your relationship flourish.

When it comes to talking about finances, Julie suggests talking about it the same way you do about your health.

I recommend that the subject is brought up about finances and financial health in the same way that the subject of physical health is brought up. You want to have a checkup to make sure you’re healthy, both physically and financially. Make sure you have an emergency account set up for health and other issues that will arise when you least expect it.

Setting aside an emergency cushion will leave both you and your partner feeling secure and prepared as you step into this new season of life together.

Work with a Professional

April Bramwell believes there is someone for everyone. Since 2002, April has been helping others find love through dating workshops and personalized coaching. April has been featured in Woman’s World, In Touch Weekly, and other publications.

April stresses the importance of having a financial professional when it comes to combining your assets.

Maybe your new spouse already has a full nest egg, but your adult children still really could use the funds you’ve already willed to them. Then again your prospective spouse might have a pension fund; when you’re eligible to receive it, add your loved one as a beneficiary. Get some sage financial advice from the professionals like a tax law expert and a good CPA.  

A good professional will counsel you about what is best for your marriage and your family.

Remember to work out the details of what you specific unique people want together.  Be loving. Be smart. Be wise. And do bring in professional financial help and legal experts to discuss and ensure your mutual wishes.

Make sure you are both on the same page, and that your financial decisions reflect your love and respect for each other.

Talking Through The Hard Stuff

Headshot of Marni BattistaWith more than 25 years of experience, Marni Battista is a certified professional Dating and Relationship Coach and Expert. Marni is an author, founder of Dating with Dignity, and host of a weekly web show, “The Dating Den.” Marni has appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Men’s Fitness and more.

We caught up with Marni to see how to go about dealing with rewriting your will.

I suggest meeting with your attorney separately so that he/she can dive into the pros and cons of each decision you make. Once you have your separate meetings and are clear on your needs, it’s ideal to come together and make sure you are both in agreement on how things will unfold when one spouse passes away. This is an important conversation to have, especially when their are children in the mix or a lot of assets that will need to be distributed.

It may be a difficult topic to bring up, but communication in any marriage is key. Marni shares from her personal experience how important it is to talk through the details.

Having done this myself when I recently got married at the age of 48, and seeing clients do this at ages ranging from their 50s to 70s and beyond, the most important component is to have clear expectations and excellent communication. ‘Doing marriage’ late in life is a unique experience, and discussing how you want to be, as a couple, and understanding that there will definitely be ‘competing needs’ will ensure the best outcome possible so that the needs and desires of both partners are met.

Be honest about your needs as well as your wants during this process, and listen carefully to your partner. Compromise is necessary to a healthy relationship.

Healthy Finances, Healthy Marriage

According to statistics, trouble or disagreement over finances are the number one reason marriages end in divorce. But don’t let that frighten you! Open communication and preparation with your finances will lead to a healthy, happy marriage.

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