Over the past decade, the number of people over 50 who choose to live together but not get married increased 75%, and represented the highest increase in any age group. For people over 65, that number doubled. Coined "A Gray Revolution in Living Arrangements" by a representative from the Census Bureau, this trend has a number of drivers.
- They're Boomers Let's face it--they were the groundbreakers of shacking up back in the 60s.
- Divorce has doubled The "gray divorce" rate--divorce in people over 50--has doubled since the '90s, and many don't want to go through that headache twice.
- Pooled resources With limited and/or fixed incomes, cohabitating makes financial sense.
- Economic protection If your spouse carries debt, you will be responsible for it if he/she passes away. This is not the case for cohabitating partners.
- Social Security survivor benefits stop if one remarries. Likewise, marriage can affect government and pension benefits.
- Medicaid If married, one partner's assets could disqualify the other from qualifying for Medicaid.
- Taxes In cases of dual income, married couples often get bumped up to a higher tax bracket when they file jointly.
- Been there, done that According to Rutgers University sociologist Deborah Carr, "The whole idea of marriage as the ideal starts to fade, and personal happiness becomes more important.
The list of pros for "repartnering" rather than remarrying is long, however it makes it even more important that your top three documents: will, durable power of attorney, and advance directive, are in place and up to date. Otherwise, state inheritance laws could override spoken or even documented wishes due to lack of marital standing.
Source: The New York Times