Marry for Better or Worse or Retirement

Physician's Money Digest, June 2006, Volume 13, Issue 6

Retiring physicians know that by leaving theirjobs and settling into their twilight yearsthey're going to have money issues. They alsoknow, if they've been married before, that in a marriagethe number-one conflict that arises is alwaysmoney. But what if you find a new love in your retirementyears? How devastating will the money conflictbe to your new marriage when you don't have asteady income?

Do You Take This Debt?

Wall Street Journal

According to the , it doesn't matterif you get married right out of medical school or ifyou're age 68 and getting ready for wedding numberseven, you need to straighten out your financial issuesbefore they have a chance to boil into a spousal dispute.First of all, you have to determine your financialassets and liabilities. Money is such an uncomfortableissue for many people that they have a hard time disclosinghow much they have saved and the variousdebts they've accumulated over the years. No matterhow uneasy you may be about revealing your financesto your soon-to-be spouse, understanding your assetsand liabilities is a vital starting point for future moneydiscussions. This way, your spouse won't discover anyunpleasant debt surprises down the road that couldlead to a big blowout between you.

Journal

Once you've established how much debt each ofyou have, you need to break down exactly what typesof debt they are, because, as the points out,there's a huge difference between $30,000 in personalloans and $30,000 in credit card debt. You need toknow if you're marrying into a potentially volatiledebt situation. To help break the ice, consider obtaininga copy of your credit report and showing it toyour spouse. It's a big leap of trust by you, and it mayencourage them to do the same. Then you'll have thegroundwork to analyze your debt and figure out howto manage it during your retirement years.

Retirement Nuptials

Journal

Another issue you'll have to work through withyour new spouse is how you're going to arrange youraccounts. The article states that older newlywedsusually prefer to, have separate accounts becausethat's simply what they're used to, and they want topreserve their independence. But having two separateaccounts and one joint account is widely considered agood idea for married couples, as food, housing, andutility costs should come out of the shared account.For retirees, a joint account is important to use whenyou try to eliminate your shared debt.

If this isn't your first marriage, perhaps you have anaccount dedicated to child support or alimony paymentsthat needs to be separate and untouched. Ifthat's the case, you may want to consider the mostdreaded of all marriage words: prenup. While a toughsubject to bring up, a prenuptial agreement doesn'tmean a lack of faith in the marriage. For retirees especially,it's sometimes a necessity to protect certainassets. On the chance your marriage does not workout, a prenup can help you salvage your retirementnest egg. You don't want all your hard years of savingfor retirement to go flying out the window in case yourlate marriage crumbles. If you're still uncomfortablebringing up a prenup, you can ask your financial advisorto bring it up for you. They can explain to yourbetrothed that it's the smart thing to do, while keepingyou out of the doghouse.