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Financially Speaking

Marriage and Money: Talk Before Taking the Leap

Good advice, especially if you're older

What's the case for getting married? At older ages, weaker than you might think. Romance is wonderful. Marriage, however, is not always a totally romantic partnership ("for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health," and all that).

See also: Money matters for the unmarried.

When you dig into the financial implications, you might agree with the kids: Living together without benefit of clergy makes sense. Or you might still prefer the security of marriage and find it more aligned with your personal values.

A couple discussing money management in the their bedroom before getting married.

Make sure you talk about money before getting married. — Geof Kern/Gallery Stock

A hot topic is whether Granny should "live in sin." Financial planner Lauren Klein of Klein Financial Advisors in Newport Beach, Calif., sees older couples holding "weddings" for appearances only — making the vows but not signing the documents.

"They don't tell the children or grandchildren they aren't married," she said. "They don't want to be a bad influence."

Before taking even one step toward the altar — or, for that matter, cohabitation — the two of you should have a sober business discussion. Bring proof of your income, assets, credit history, debts and other obligations. (You'll have to disclose them anyway, if you plan on writing a prenuptial agreement.) I stress, bring proof. Estimates have a funny way of being off.

Next: Does your spouse have long-term care insurance? >>

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