I am a single woman in my late 40s with no children. At 50, my federal agency will allow me to retire with a full pension. I’m planning on doing this because I have a large amount saved in my savings plan, and I’m going to be moving to a southern state, probably Georgia.
A friend advised me to find a husband as my impending retirement will slow me down. My response was that at this age I see no reason to get married and mix up my financial life with someone else. Am I wrong?
““If a relationship didn’t work out, I would have a big problem parting with my pension or my savings.””
If a relationship didn’t work out, I would have a big problem parting with my pension or my savings. I’ve worked hard to achieve and accumulate what I have, and I don’t see a life where I have to split everything 50/50.
My friend told me I could get a prenup, but I’m not sure that will provide adequate protection. In the worst case, I would have to pay a lawyer to fight and enforce such an agreement, and that would also irritate me.
What advice would you give to a resident of Maryland or Georgia who retired with a federal pension and savings regarding marriage at this point in their life? What protections can I put in place to limit any financial damage?
Blasted in Maryland
Let me start with your friend and your finances, and then we can move on to your retirement plans and the idea of a prenup.
You don’t know what will happen in the future. You might fall head over heels in love with someone. Right now, you’re not building sandcastles in the sky by fantasizing about a future that hasn’t happened yet, but by tearing them down. Leave some semblance of space in your imagination for endless and vital possibilities.
People are full of unsolicited advice, and it’s usually distilled through their own personal experiences and has very little to do with you. Did your friend need a plus-one to help her share the costs and enjoy the lifestyle and/or retirement of her choice? Does she feel the need to stage the lives of others?
Who knows? The result is the same: you don’t have to take his advice to heart and you certainly don’t need to take his intervention personally. His intentions – good, average or otherwise – are irrelevant. They are based on his life experience, not yours. Keep doing what you are doing.
You are in a very lucky position to be financially secure enough to retire at age 50, and you should feel both proud and protective of your savings, retirement, and other assets. This column is full of letters from people who have been tricked into all sorts of financial shenanigans. You are responsible for yourself.
That said, there’s no reason for you to treat your retirement savings like a golden cage. If you’re happy to be single, great. If you want to date someone, fandabidozi. Like everyone who has used Tinder, Match.com MTCH,
or Hinge will tell you, it’s more success than failure. Warning: Start swiping right and left if you really want to feel jaded.
“Warning: Start swiping right and left if you really want to feel jaded.”
When it comes to marriage, both Maryland and Georgia are equally distributed states. In other words, if you marry and divorce, the property you and your husband acquired during your marriage would be divided equally or equitably, but not necessarily equally. This does not include inheritance.
The magic word, as you say, is marriage contract. Once a dirty word, it is now becoming less taboo. A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that more than 60% of divorce attorneys reported an increase in the number of clients requesting prenuptial agreements. It shows that people take the marriage contract seriously.
As Alpharetta, Georgia-based law firm Charlton & Glover points out, prenups are legally binding, not limited to wealthy individuals, and are enforceable in Georgia. You must file a notarized and fully executed prenuptial agreement in the county that issued your marriage license or where you live, the law firm says.
“Prenuptial agreements describe how one spouse will pay child support to the other,” the firm adds. “They can describe how property, assets, debts, child support and separate maintenance are handled after divorce.” Other stipulations could include pet custody, retirement funds, and alimony.
You don’t have to explain to anyone why you love your own business and choose to stay single, and/or why you might change your mind at some point in the future. You can do what you want, when you want. It’s your life, your choice and your retirement. Go get them. Roll on the big 5-0.
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The Moneyist regrets not being able to answer the questions individually.
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