Financial planning for May-December relationships

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If your marriage looks like the one between Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris — but without the millions — start saving. Besides snide comments about midlife crises, May-December couples face another real challenge: putting together a financial plan that takes both their ages into account.

In May-December relationships, there is a big age difference between the 2 people. Typically, one partner is young, or in the spring of life, and the other much older, or in the winter of life.

Spouses with at least a decade between them make up about 9% of all marriages in the U.S., according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. That means they must add at least 10 years to the typical 25-year time horizon for retirement.

“This puts a larger risk on running out of money,” says Bryan Beatty, CFP professional and partner at Egan, Berger and Weiner in Vienna, Virginia. “When spouses are closer in age, that spend-down is not nearly as risky as when there is a greater age gap.”

Then, there’s the issue of estate planning, which can be complicated when marriage creates a blended family.

Bankrate offers 7 financial planning tips to conquer the unique challenges surrounding May-December relationships.