According to Pew Research, Americans are getting married later than ever. In fact, the fastest growing age group for new marriages in the U.S. consists of people ages 35 and older.1
Whether marrying later is good or bad is hard to say, but it can make things more complicated. Older couples have had more time to accumulate assets, build ties to their community, and become deeply entrenched in their careers. Some may even have children from previous relationships.
If you and your future spouse find yourselves in that situation, there are several financial questions you may want to ask before merging your lives and finances:
- What do we do with “old” money? You may want to keep premarital assets separate—especially if you have children from a previous relationship or family property that you want them to inherit. A trust officer or estate attorney can help.
- What do we do with “new” money? Since marriage is a partnership, it’s probably best to pool any funds you earn from here on in. However, you may want to make sure you are sufficiently diversified. For example: if both your 401(k)s are fully invested in stocks, one of you may want to shift to a more conservative approach.
- Who controls the budget? Since you’re both used to managing your money, you may want to divide responsibilities. For example: one person could be in charge of day-to-day expenses, while the other handles long-term investments. Another option is to create checks and balances, such as agreeing to discuss purchases over a certain dollar amount.
- Your place or mine? If you both own property, you’ll need to decide which—if either—best meets your needs. Is one property closer to work or in a better school district? If so, you may want to keep it and rent or sell the other. In many cases, however, it may be easier to sell both properties and start fresh.
- How do we protect ourselves? It’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone. Be sure to update all your legal documents and workplace benefits. And, if your spouse will be leaving the workforce, make sure you have enough life insurance to protect their lifestyle.
While getting married later has its complications, it also has its rewards. With the right planning, you and your future spouse will be free to start your marriage off on the right foot.
This educational, third-party article is provided as a courtesy by H. Ryan Denney, Financial Services Professional, New York Life Insurance Company | NYLIFE Securities, LLC. To learn more about the information or topics discussed, please contact Ryan Denney at (615) 410-5294 or email@example.com.
1 “New census data show more Americans are tying the knot, but mostly it’s the college-educated,” Pew Research Center, February 6, 2014.