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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

  • 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.
  • "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

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.

Tips for Cohabiting Seniors

Books on Money Management for Cohabiting Couples

Legal Agreements for Cohabiting Couples

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