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Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?
Old 12-05-2006, 07:58 AM   #1
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Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?

I'm 53, spouse is 50. No dependents. Both in good health and from decent families healthwise. I'm planning (hoping) to make it to at least 100. My spouse will retire from teaching next year and most of her retirement money at this point will come in the form of a pension (it should be around 65K/year to start, inflation indexed). My retirement funds are mostly 401K based (and I'm in pretty good shape), so if I croak first there would be a big pot of money for her use. The reverse isn't the case unless we do something like a 50% survivor option.

If we do that, it reduces her payout by around 7.5% a year (around 5K). Instead of doing that, I thought of getting a term life insurance policy for the "lump sum" equivalent of around 35K a year at a 4% SWR. Over on the Retire Early Home Page board someone pointed out pitfalls of term insurance (uninsurable at some point, bigger premiums in the future, etc.). If we wanted something like a "20 year certain" plan I saw some internet quotes for a 20 year term policy for $1million that is a little over 2K a year in premiums. So that might be an OK compromise.

Are there other options we could consider? After she retires from teaching she still plans on working at least part time for another 10-15 years so we're not going to be hard up for money (I hope). Mostly what's driving this discussion is the sense of equality, but there's also the financial aspect. If she got run over by a truck - the fact that if she gets run over by a truck a week after she retires her pension goes with her, but the reverse isn't the case for me.

Larry
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?
Old 12-05-2006, 08:41 AM   #2
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?

Hi Larry,

Some of us discussed this back in September. IIRC, there were some links to some worksheets to figure out which method would be more attractive. I think the fact that your DW's pension will be inflation indexed makes the pension max/life insurance route unattractive.

Another consideration is whether or not your spouse's pension comes with retiree health benefits, and if the health benefits cease when the pension ends.

- Alec
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?
Old 12-05-2006, 10:04 AM   #3
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?

the fact that the pension is cola'd means that your 7.5% "premium" for the joint option is fixed.

therefore you have a fixed lifetime premium for a cola'd annuity.

does the pension come with medical benefits? often if you don't take the annuity, those disappear with your spouses death as well.

personally, I'd take the 7.5% hit.
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?
Old 12-05-2006, 10:25 AM   #4
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?

I'd also go the easy and safe approach and take the 7.5% hit and go for joint survivor ship, you are on even ground then know matter who goes first and no big decisions on where to put the life insurance money so the money continues to come in. You may not be in a mental state by then to setup your plan and you would have to hire a FA

Jeb
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?
Old 12-05-2006, 11:22 AM   #5
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Re: Alternatives to pension survivor benefit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeb-NY
I'd also go the easy and safe approach and take the 7.5% hit and go for joint survivor ship, you are on even ground then know matter who goes first and no big decisions on where to put the life insurance money so the money continues to come in. You may not be in a mental state by then to setup your plan and you would have to hire a FA

Jeb
Good post......other than the last sentence..........
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