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Can’t buy me love? Money matters in later life marriages

Can’t buy me love? Money matters in later life marriages

Financial wellbeing is a major factor in marriages among ‘silver splicers’, a survey has found. With latest figures from the Office for National Statistics[1] showing an upturn in the number of older women in the UK marrying or remarrying in recent years, research by finance group Investec Wealth & Investment suggests that their reasons may have as much to do with money as love.

IW&I’s survey[2] showed that almost half of divorced and widowed women over the age of 55 said that their financial well being has been or would be a factor in their decision to remarry, as opposed to having a common-law relationship. Of these, almost a quarter rated their financial well being as a ‘significant’ factor and nearly one in 10 - nine percent - named it as the ‘primary’ factor in deciding to remarry, with this figure rising to 15% among divorced women.

Among the considerations cited behind a decision to remarry was an automatic right to a pension pot if the marriage ends or their partner died (45%), guaranteed inheritance rights if their partner dies without a will (36%) and the potential benefit gained from the doubling of the inheritance tax threshold for married couples (23%).

ONS data released earlier this year revealed that the number of women marrying over the age of 65 increased by 56% between 2009 and 2014. With people living longer, this percentage is predicted to increase further, with second and even third marriages potentially lasting for decades.

But finding your ‘happy ever after’ later in life can be complicated when it comes to financial planning. IW&I found that 60% of women over 55 did or would take steps to ensure the assets they owned before marriage were kept separate from their new partner, with this figure rising to 73% among divorced women and 66% for the over-65s.

The figures highlight the importance of planning for the future and discussing issues such as finances, life insurance and making a will, particularly in a blended family where there can be very different expectations.

Society of Later Life Advisers joint chair Jane Finnerty said: “It’s great to see that older women are increasingly aware of the financial considerations when it comes to marrying and remarrying in later life. We frequently see the resulting financial planning complexities when there are grown up children and grandchildren from previous marriages and the issues, often highly emotional, these bring. With the right advice, these can be addressed so that future family disputes and upset can be avoided.”