Cohabiting Seniors

Reasons Senior Couples Say No to Marriage

Photo: Digital Vision / Getty Images
Photo: Digital Vision / Getty Images

The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that from 1990 to 1999, the percentage of unmarried senior couples 65 and older rose significantly. Forbes reports "In 2006, 1.8 million Americans aged 50 and above lived in heterosexual "unmarried-partner households," a 50% increase from 2000, figures Bowling Green State University demographer Susan Brown."

These are senior couples who at one time believed in marriage.

These are senior couples who are facing the disapproval of their children and religious faith.

It is expected that this percentage rate will continue to rise. So why are senior couples cohabiting? For many senior citizens, marriage simply is not financially practical.

Here are some of the reasons senior couples are choosing living together rather than marriage.

Financial Reasons Seniors Cohabit

"In general, you cannot receive survivors benefits if you remarry before the age of 60 unless the latter marriage ends, whether by death, divorce, or annulment. If you remarry after age 60 (50 if disabled), you can still collect benefits on your former spouse's record. When you reach age 62 or older, you may get retirement benefits on the record of your new spouse if they are higher."
Source: Social Security Administration
  • Tax disincentives.
  • Loss of military and pension benefits.
  • Fear of incurring liability for partner's medical expenses.
  • Credit rating protection.
  • Separation of current debt.
  • Ability to share expenses.
  • Health insurance.
  • Asset protection.
  • Alimony.
  • Social Security benefits. There seems to be much confusion on this topic. Depending on your age, you may not lose Social Security benefits if you remarry.

Personal Reasons Seniors Cohabit

  • Anti-marriage attitude from previous unhappy marital experience.
  • Lack of concern about what others think.
  • Love and friendship.
  • Children's inheritance concerns.

More Resources

  • Tips for Cohabiting Seniors
  • Books on Money Management for Cohabiting Couples
  • Legal Agreements for Cohabiting Couples

Here are some tips for seniors who are living together.

Tips for Cohabiting Seniors

  • Update your wills.
  • Assure your children and grandchildren that their inheritance will not be compromised by your new relationship.
  • Do not combine your assets. Keep your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, etc., separate.
  • Consider maintaining two separate households from both practical and legal perspectives.
  • You should both consider long-term care insurance.
  • Make sure your estate planning is up to date and that the interests of your children and grandchildren are protected.
  • Put your health care wishes in writing and discuss them with your children.
  • Sign a cohabitation agreement.

More Resources

  • Reasons Older Couples are Saying No to Marriage
  • Books on Money Management for Cohabiting Couples
  • Legal Agreements for Cohabiting Couples

Here are some books on money management for cohabiting couples.

Books on Money Management for Cohabiting Couples

  • "Money Without Matrimony: The Unmarried Couple's Guide to Financial Security"
    by Sheryl Garrett and Debra A. Neiman Compare Prices
  • "Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples"

  • by Toni Lynne Ihara, Ralph E. Warner, and Frederick Hertz
  • "Unmarried to Each Other: The Essential Guide to Living Together as an Unmarried Couple"
    by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller
  • "Living Together: Unmarrieds and the Law by Irving J. Sloan Compare Prices

    "Living Together As Partners: The Alternative Marriage Guide by Matthew Janes

  • Reasons Older Couples are Saying No to Marriage
  • Tips for Cohabiting Seniors
  • Legal Agreements for Cohabiting Couples

Here are legal agreements for cohabiting couples.

Legal Agreements for Cohabiting Couples

  • Cohabitation Agreement ( Buy Direct)
  • Prenuptial and Cohabitation Agreements ( Buy Direct)
  • Create a Living Will ( Buy Direct)
  • Notice of Death-with-Dignity Request ( Buy Direct)
  • Will Form for Non-Married Individual with Children without Trust for Children ( Buy Direct)
  • Will Form for Non-Married Individual with Children with Trust for Children ( Buy Direct)
  • Living Trust Form for Non-Married Individual with Children without Trust for Children ( Buy Direct)
  • Living Trust Form for Non-Married Individual with Children with Trust for Children ( Buy Direct)
  • Living Trust Form for Non-Married Individual without Children ( Buy Direct)
  • Will Form for Non-Married Individual ( Buy Direct)
  • Personal Financial Statement ( Buy Direct)
  • Funeral Requests ( Buy Direct)

Reasons Older Couples are Saying No to Marriage

Tips for Cohabiting Seniors

Books on Money Management for Cohabiting Couples