Published March 22, 2012
“The Boomer” is a column written for adults nearing retirement age and those already in their “golden years.” It will also promote reader interaction by posting e-mail responses and answering reader questions. E-mail your questions or topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing up, I remember my grandparents pledging that if they were to lose the other, they would not marry someone else—and they meant it.
But times sure have changed since they said ‘I do.’
The boomer generation is choosing to walk down the aisle more than once in their lifetime. In fact, the divorce rate among those ages 50 and older has doubled in the last two decades, according to research out of Bowling Green State.
Graying divorces have become more popular during a time where the overall divorce rate has decreased. According to the research, in 1990 only one in 10 individuals going through a divorce was older than 50. By 2009, that rate increased to one in four.
While finding love at any age is a happy occasion that should be celebrated, there are special financial circumstances that boomer newlyweds should take into account, experts say.
I reached out to Tom Blake, author of Finding Love After 50 (http://www.findingloveafter50.com/), to learn about the specific risks and tips on managing existing retirement funds for boomers tying the knot.
Boomer: For baby boomers getting re-married, how can they protect any assets they might have, and what happens with their built up nest eggs?
Blake: Baby boomers have to be particularly careful to protect their assets when remarrying. Each member of a couple needs to consult their own lawyer on protecting their assets. An airtight pre-nuptial agreement must be drawn, agreed to, and signed.
If each person is financially secure, a pre-nuptial agreement should be acceptable and welcomed by both parties. But if there is an imbalance of wealth, the person with less wealth might protest with words such as, "If you loved me, you wouldn’t demand such a strict pre-nuptial agreement (or, an agreement at all)." Statements like this could be a red flag to potential problems down the road.
Before tapping into nest eggs, a couple should agree beforehand how much they are going to spend so they can enjoy life in the present, but, they need to budget their spending so the nest eggs will last for the rest of their lives.
Boomer: What risks are involved in going down the aisle a second time after age 50?
Blake: That second time might even lead to third or fourth time. The divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher than for first marriages so the risk of another divorce looms after a second walk down the aisle.
There is also a risk that the children of each partner might not accept that someone is replacing the other parent, and they might try to make life miserable for the new person.
Boomer: What is the best way to look for "love" as we get older?
Tom: There are many ways to seek love—but the most important is getting off the couch and out of the house and pursuing activities one enjoys. The key is being with new people. It’s important to get out with the purpose of enhancing one’s life, and not just to go out to try to meet someone. When people go out with the objective to meet someone they often come off as desperate and that drives potential mates away.
Networking through friends, relatives, and co-workers is important. Boomers should let their contacts know that they are interested in being introduced to potential mates.
Of course, there are Internet dating sites that can bring lonely singles together from all over the country and the world.
Older singles, however, should be leery about signing up for expensive matching services that promise ‘x’ number of matches.
Boomer: What do you find most couples are looking for when they re-marry?
Blake: When couples re-marry, they’re generally looking for many things.
First they might want someone to share life with like a dance partner, travel mate or movie companion. Loneliness is a very difficult thing and having a mate can cure that.
The second thing is financial security. When couples merge, they can do more things; splitting or sharing the cost of living in a home or apartment is easier if two people are contributing.
The third thing is intimacy. And while this becomes somewhat less important with age, and likely isn’t as important as the first two points above, intimacy is still very much alive with boomers and a benefit of marriage.
Boomer: What tips would you give boomer couples on how best to deal with their children and or grandchildren when they fall in love the second (or more) time?
Blake: First, the couple needs to agree themselves that they are not going to allow children to ruin their relationship. Then they need to have a very clear discussion with the children about what is important with them and ask for their blessing.
Most children want what is best for their parents. They can be an asset to a couple who remarries. Or, they can be difficult. Hopefully, communication among everybody will result in harmony.
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