Getting married during retirement is an entirely new, exciting chapter in life. But like so many things in life, it doesn’t come free. Trying to figure out the actual ceremony costs is one part of it. Then there’s the in’s and out’s of how Social Security plays into the “I Do” of it all. It can feel like going down the ultimate rabbit hole of confusion.
To help make these waters easier to navigate, I’ve listed below some commonly asked questions surrounding getting married during retirement.
I’m retired and I’m getting married. What’s it going to cost me?
The average cost of weddings in the U.S. in 2017 was $33,000, according to a poll of 13,000 US couples done by The Knot. In central Florida, that cost was just over $26,000 (this includes the cost of a ring, excludes the honeymoon). That’s quite a chunk for some retirees, considering it might be nearly half of their yearly budget or even close to their entire budget for one year.
While 44.5% of newlyweds surveyed had their wedding paid for, just over 40% paid for it themselves. As a retiree, chances are, you’re fronting your own bill.
Ways to Save
Where are these costs coming from? The Knot study showed the biggest expenses were at the venue, coming in at an average cost of $15,000. Then there was the engagement ring cost at close to $6,000 dollars, band costs averaging $4,000, photographer and flowers each costing more than $2,000, $1,900 on a videographer, and almost $1,000 on hair and makeup. Food was $70 per person and almost $2,000 was spent on average for a wedding planner.
Want to save? Keep the headcount low. Use a backyard for the ceremony. Skip the hair and makeup. Trim down the number of flowers used and keep them simple. Utilize the hobbies of family and friends by hiring them to show off their skills. I recently went to a wedding where cousins pursuing music were recruited to sing, in-laws played instruments, a friend who studied photography took pictures, and a daughter of the groom was the wedding planner. It’s your party, make your own rules.
Now for the fun part: Social Security.
Will getting married affect my Social Security retirement benefits?
Social Security retirement benefits are based on YOUR records, so getting married wouldn’t affect this. However, it probably will affect your spousal benefits, if this applies to you.
I’m divorced and collecting Social Security Spousal Benefits. Will this change once I remarry?
According to the Social Security Administration, Yes. It will. You most likely will not be able to collect these benefits unless your new marriage ends.
Here’s how the Social Security cookie crumbles when it comes to divorce: If your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can collect spousal benefits if you meet each of the following criteria; You are unmarried. You are at least 62 years old. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Your benefit from work (retirement benefit) is less than your spousal benefit.
I’m currently collecting Social Security on my deceased spouse. How will remarriage affect it?
There’s an age timeline with this – If you remarry after age 60 (or 50 if you are disabled), the amount you collect will not be affected, according to the SSA.
What if I receive SSI benefits?
Your SSI might be affected if you remarry, based on your spouse’s income. And if you both receive SSI, it will change to a couple’s rate.
Confusing? It can be. That’s why it helps to speak with a professional concerning remarriage during retirement to make sure you are receiving your maximum benefit.
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