Originally Posted by dtbach
You make a good point. Yes I have Survivor Benefits on my pension that pays about 60%. My SS is higher so she would switch to that. All of the portfolio would go to her. I suspect she would sell the house (which would generate a fairly good amount of cash) and move into a condo. I think she would be in good shape.
The Survivor Benefit Plan pays out 55% and rises each year with the pension COLA.
You could maximize your Social Security benefits by delaying to age 70 and spending down more of your portfolio now. If you're taking RMDs from your tax-deferred accounts, then taking bigger distributions earlier might be able to reduce the amount of SS subject to federal taxes later.
In any case, by delaying your SS to age 70 you'll maximize your spouse's SS survivor benefits (assuming you had the higher earnings record). There are a number of "file and suspend" options that could help the two of you maximize your SS distributions without both of you waiting until age 70.