The ABC series The Golden Bachelor found ratings gold with the message that it’s never too late for love—and remarriage. While the show focuses on chemistry, financial concerns deserve equal billing when you’re walking down the aisle again.
The reality series culminated on Jan. 4 in the televised marriage of bachelor Gerry Turner, 72, and his 70-year-old fiancée, Theresa Nist, who won his hand over 21 other contestants aged 60 and older. For those who plan to tie the knot for the second time (or more), here are some considerations.
It’s important to share with your partner both your full financial picture and your attitudes toward money, says Renée Hanson, an Ameriprise private wealth advisor with Affinity Wealth Advisory Group in Phoenix. Conversation starters include, “What has shaped your financial decisions? What is your best/worst financial decision? How will we manage our money together?”
Come clean about any debt you owe. Generally speaking, debt acquired before the marriage doesn’t become a shared liability. But there are some exceptions, and in either case it’s an important piece of your overall financial picture.
A premarital agreement is a contract stipulating how one or both spouses will protect their interests if the marriage ends in divorce or death. It’s not the same as an estate plan that outlines how assets will pass upon death, but the two should be consistent, says John Lambros, managing partner of law firm Brinkley Morgan in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Many remarrying couples choose to keep their assets separate but mix their cash flow. A prenuptial agreement could spell out how bills would be split—say, 50/50 or 70/30, according to income—but that would amount to an aspirational guideline, since actually enforcing that agreement would be difficult while the marriage is intact, Lambros says.
Taxes & Social Security
Married couples generally get the most financial benefit if they file taxes jointly, says Tom O’Saben, director of tax content and government relations at the National Association of Tax Professionals. However, there could be circumstances that warrant filing separately. One example: If a spouse has certain debts, including money owed to the Internal Revenue Service or defaulted government student loans, wages or tax refunds can be seized by the government to cover them. These debts can become a shared liability if you file jointly.
Another case where filing separately might make sense is if one spouse has considerable medical bills. The IRS allows taxpayers who itemize their deductions to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income. Filing separately will give you a lower threshold to clear before you can itemize, since the standard deduction for married filing separately is the same as for single people ($14,600 in 2024, versus $29,200 for married filing jointly).
You’ll have to weigh these benefits against the disadvantages of married filing separately, such as a lower threshold for higher Medicare premiums. Married couples filing jointly have six income tiers for their Medicare premiums, while married couples filing separately have only three, and the monthly Part B premium jumps from the standard $174.70 a month to $559 a month for incomes over $103,000 for separate filers.
Alimony typically ends with remarriage, but people receiving support from their ex could try to negotiate a smaller, lump-sum payout instead of continued regular support if they’re planning to get remarried.
Remarriage can also affect your Social Security benefits. You can collect benefits on an ex-spouse’s benefit if you were married for at least 10 years, although those benefits generally stop if you remarry.
Widowed parties have an additional wrinkle: If you remarry before age 60, you aren’t entitled to survivor benefits on your deceased spouse’s earnings record. Survivor benefits are often higher than spousal benefits, so eligibility for them could be a factor in timing the marriage.