According to new figures released about our personal lives, not only are baby boomers commanding an ever greater share of the population – their number has risen by 20 per cent, living longer and taking the place of the existing ‘silver generation’ – but the rate at which they marry and divorce is bucking the national trend.
The figures tell us that there has been a 46 per cent rise in the number of silver brides and grooms over the last decade. Equally, while the rate of divorce across England and Wales has continued to drop since 2003, baby boomers are blazing a trail. This, coupled with a leading marriage rate has coined a new phrase - the ‘silver splicers’.
Unfortunately we don’t have the benefit of good data for our same sex couples. The information is still very much in its infancy following changes in the law to allow same-sex marriage. However, what little information we do have suggests similar trends, with the demographic making up the greater proportion of people choosing civil partnerships.
What's going on then?
Well, with many of us expected to live longer, healthier lives - around 20 years has been added to life expectancy for both ladies and gentlemen – it seems that a greater number are taking the opportunity to make big, life changing decisions later in life, including the decision to end relationships and start new ones.
Interestingly, more than 50% of ‘silver foxes’ are tending to marry the ‘younger model’ (answers on a post card please!), while the ‘silver vixens’ are tending to choose the older gentleman. What’s more, these new marriages are not simply a case of individuals who have waited until later in life to tie the knot. They are, in the majority, second marriages.
It is certainly true that baby boomers have lived through some rough periods and times of social upheaval. As a result, it may be that many see an opportunity to prioritise their own happiness and wellbeing. ‘Life is too short’, as they say. For some it may be about companionship and not being alone.
Equally, new technology has given rise to new ways and opportunities to meet new people. Companies are already tailoring dating services platforms for this particular demographic – the ‘silver surfers’. What’s more, many are now working until later in life. While this isn’t always through choice, the daily interactions afforded by the workplace, particularly if this carries over into the social life, means more opportunities to mix with new people.
Bringing you together as a new couple, already with your own assets is becoming easier with increasing recognition and understanding around how to protect what each party brings into a relationship and looking after money and assets for each family to benefit from, later on. There are also greater advantages to marrying following a change in the inheritance tax rules.
The flip side is, of course an increasing number of baby boomers are also divorcing. There is definitely no longer a stigma in separating and starting again. Many are more comfortable, confident and financially secure and feel able to cope with the division of assets on separation.
Whether all of this more recent phenomenon is a passing trend, or perhaps the sign of a growing social change in attitudes to divorce and remarrying, only time will tell.