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Financial wellbeing influences nearly half of women over 55 to remarry, Investec research finds

21/09/2017 News Team

Nearly half (48 percent) of divorced and widowed women aged over 55 said their financial wellbeing would influence or has influenced their decision to remarry rather than have a common-law relationship, according to new research by Investec Wealth & Investment.

Recent ONS data shows that the number of older women marrying or remarrying has increased in recent years, and of those who let financial wellbeing influence their decision, 23 percent rated their financial wellbeing as a significant factor, while nine percent rated this is as the primary factor in deciding to marry. This figure rose to 15 percent among divorced women.

Having an automatic right to a pension pot if a marriage was to split up or one partner died was cited as the biggest financial consideration by 45 percent of over 55s in the decision to remarry. The next was the guaranteed inheritance rights experienced by married couples in the event one partner dies without a will (36 percent), followed by the potential benefit gained from the doubling of the inheritance tax threshold for married couples to £650,000 for the surviving spouse (23 percent).

Furthermore, the ONS data showed that the number of women marrying over the age of 65 has increased by 56 percent in the five-year period to 2014, a percentage which is likely to increase with second and third marriages potentially lasting for several decades.

A key challenge facing women who decide to marry later at an older age, Investec Wealth & Investment (IW&I) noted, is the extent to which their assets are combined with those of their new partner. IW&I said this can become complicated, particularly for those with children from a previous relationship, accounting for 83 percent of women.

In addition, the research finds that 60 percent of women over 55 did or would take steps to ensure the assets they owned before marriage were kept separate from their new partner. The figure increases to 73 percent among divorced women and 66 percent among the over 65s.

Financial planning director at IW&I, Helen Medhurst-Jackson, commented: “It’s great to see more women remarrying later in life and we’re advising a growing number on the financial risks and advantages this brings.  It’s very important to know what these are before deciding to tie the knot.

“Money alone doesn’t guarantee a successful marriage but whether we like it or not it’s a key factor and that’s well recognised by those women who have already tied the knot.  Most later-life marriages involve both partners bringing their own financial assets and these often vary in type and value. The decision around whether these are shared or kept separate from their new partner needs to be taken and understood at the start to avoid confusion if the marriage ends in death or divorce. It’s also important to agree an inheritance plan, particularly for couples with children from previous relationships."

Ms Medhurst-Jackson added: “Marriage has a number of financial benefits over common-law relationships, particularly around inheritance rights in the absence of a will. But it’s vital to have the right advice to know what these are and avoid the pitfalls.”

IW&I is part of the Investec Group and offers wealth management and investment services to private individuals, charities, trusts, international clients and financial advisers. It has circa £32.5 billion of client funds under management as at 31 March 2017.

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