Although divorce is on the rise among the over 55 population in Canada, over half of those who get divorced either remarry or cohabit at some point.
There are considerable advantages to getting married during your retirement years. It’s nice to have someone special to share your golden years with. But a second marriage, especially when you’re retired, can bring new challenges as well as happiness. We take a look at some of the common ones.
When it comes to remarriage in retirement, the first question that needs to be answered is: where will you live? Unlike first marriages, when couples often move into their first home together, retirees who marry typically already have their own homes.
If one of you moves into the other’s home, you need to think carefully about your status in that home. Will both names be on title? If so, will you be tenants in common (where one person’s ownership goes to their estate if they die) or tenants with the right of survivorship (where ownership is passed to the surviving partner if one dies)?
Even if one of you does not go on title, in many provinces the non-titled spouse has many rights, including half of the home’s value if you separate. Get advice from your lawyer so you know exactly where you stand, should the worst happen. Consider drawing up a prenuptial agreement to protect your pre-marriage assets.
It’s also a really good idea to discuss your living arrangements before you get married. Working out who will be doing which chores, before it becomes an issue, can lead to a smoother transition.
Keep it legal
When you remarry in retirement, there are two estates to consider: yours and your spouse’s. If you have adult children, you’ll probably want to leave some of your assets to them as well.
Making a new will is absolutely essential: without one, there could be all sorts of problems and family in-fighting. Your new spouse could inherit everything, leaving your kids with nothing. A new will and a prenuptial agreement can ensure your beneficiaries are properly looked-after.
Documenting assets prior to your marriage will help identify the amount each of you brought to the union. Also, choose a non-partisan executor who is aware of your situation and wishes.
Involve your families
Remarrying when you’re retired is typically more complicated than the first time around, with adult children and potentially grandchildren coming into play.
Adult children can sometimes react negatively when one parent remarries, feeling that it’s a betrayal of their other parent. Talk to your kids before the wedding and find out how they feel. Getting remarried can also affect friends who knew your previous spouse. Willingness to build a social relationship or acceptance of the new spouse may take longer for others. If you and your ex-spouse are amicable, it will make family gatherings and social events all that much easier for your extended families and friends.
Having the two sides of your combined family meet and get to know each other before the wedding is also a good idea. It will make your life going forward much simpler and less stressful.
One of the big pluses of remarrying when you’re retired is that you have far less encumbrances. There are no little kids to watch out for and you have more time to focus on each other and enjoy your time together.
Typically, when you marry and live together, you will reap a considerable financial benefit of
sharing all the bills for just one home. There are also considerable tax benefits of being married. These include being able to transfer up to half of your eligible pension income to your spouse and income-splitting, which can bring significant tax savings.
There are some financial disadvantages as well, such as potentially losing some benefits and credits, like the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Check with your accountant to see if this is the case.
Most importantly, it pays to be transparent about finances up front, and this includes both your assets and your debts. Also, be open about each person’s financial responsibilities ahead of time. Ironing out these details early on will help keep things smoother later.
Openness: the secret to a happy retirement marriage
Getting married later in life can be an exciting and wonderful time; just remember to be open and honest with your new spouse.
Setting domestic and financial expectations before you tie the knot will help ensure fewer unexpected surprises further down the line and a happier marriage for both of you.
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