Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marriage vs living together

Revisiting the marriage vs. living together question

Copyright by Tom Blake 2015

This week, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine features an article written by Senior Editor Sandra Block titled, “The Financial Pros and Cons of Getting Married Later in Life.”

I was aware the article was coming out because Block interviewed me a couple of months ago. I am quoted in three places in the article.

Block’s first paragraph states, “When you start a relationship later in life, does it make sense to marry or move in together? Answer: “It’s complicated.”

The length and thoroughness of Ms. Block’s article underscores the “It’s complicated” sentence. There are so many different scenarios she describes that it’s hard to sort out all of the legal issues surrounding later-in-life marriage vs. living together. She quotes a lawyer, Frederick Hertz, who says, “…for older unmarried couples, making a cohabitation agreement isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity.”

Health care costs are one example of why the marriage question needs to be thought through. One paragraph in Block’s article states, “The high cost of health care—particularly long-term care—can create one big disincentive for older couples to get married. Once you wed, you are responsible for your spouse’s medical debts, says Howard Krooks, a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. If your spouse ends up in a nursing home, the cost could deplete your estate.”

Making the question even more complicated is that different states have different laws that apply to later-in-life relationships.

My words of wisdom explain the living-together relationship I have with Greta. I was quoted as saying, “It’s just a lot easier not to have to deal with inheritances and kids and everything that comes along with the decision to get married.”

To sum up the marriage vs. living together question: Couples contemplating marriage or living together, would be wise to consult a lawyer, or better yet, each should consult a different lawyer, to ensure they do what is right for their situation.

Ms. Block has a great deal more to say on the topic in her article. The link to Ms. Block’s article:

Venturing beyond our normal routine. What were Greta and I thinking?

This past Monday night at about 8 p.m, I heard live music coming from somewhere in the distance through an open upstairs bedroom window. Then, I remembered I had seen a big black tent being built in the Salt Creek Beach parking lot the day before, which is adjacent to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and about a mile from our home.

Hearing the music reminded me of four months before, when we had seen a large outdoor tent on the grounds of the St. Regis Hotel, which is only about 400 yards away. On that night, we had heard live music but decided not to go check it out and we ended up missing a Steven Tyler concert that was being held for a large insurance company.

Although we were pretty settled in for the night, I jokingly said to Greta, “There is a concert nearby, want to check it out?”

She surprised me by saying, “Let’s go.”
We hopped in the car and drove to a parking lot just yards up a small hill from the tent. The music was very, very loud.

We walked down the small hill and saw 300-400 people milling around, wearing Roth Capital Partners name badges, listening to the band, sipping on adult beverages and lining up for food being served from food trucks. There were eight women go-go dancers dressed in polished silver jump suits dancing up on platforms all over the parking lot, swirling around poles but not exactly pole dancing. It was one hell of a party atmosphere, with lots of young people in their 20s and early 30s.

We slipped into the tent through a side entrance and grabbed a seat. Security guards were around but not paying much attention.

I went to the bar and ordered a couple of glasses of chardonnay. I asked the woman bartender, also dressed in a shiny silver jump suit, “How much?” She winked at me and said, “You know better than that.” When I put five bucks in her tip jar, she said, “Be sure to come back.” I said, “I will.” And I did.

There were four different food trucks dispensing their wares. We lined up at the In-n-Out Burger truck. They wouldn’t take our money either.

As the party was winding down, we asked some of the young people in attendance who the band was. “Poison,” was the answer. I had no idea who Poison was.

The next morning, my bank teller Sheri, knowing I had just retired, asked if I’d done anything new lately. I told her about the night before. She looked up Poison on the Internet and said, “A mid-1980s-mid 1990s glam (heavy metal) band. They’ve sold over 45 million records worldwide. Bret Michaels the lead on vocals.”  

I went online and found out that the event was the 27th annual Roth Capital Partners, an investment banking firm, shindig. Not every attendee was staying next door at the Ritz, some of the kids told us they were staying in motels and hotels miles away.

We wandered up the hill, got in the car, and drove home, it took five minutes.

It’s good once in a while for older folks to get out of the old routine. Although, my ears are still ringing, thanks to the band Poison.

Upcoming events

  • For information on the Tom Blake Loving Life After 55 cruise, November 12, out of Los Angeles, contact travel agent Ann at 949 702-3977 or by email at  Cruise details are also on this website:

  • Meet and Greet. There will be an age 50+ Meet and Greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Dana Point, California, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. No admission charge.

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