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Old 03-16-2017, 05:28 AM   #21
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Braumeister, thank you for the link...Why did you skip it?
DW had her own DB pension that would cover most basic expenses. We looked at the overall picture and decided jointly that the amount we would pay for SBP could be better used in our investments. That turned out to be a good decision for us, but it could have gone either way. It's important that it be a joint decision. If the non-military spouse isn't completely sold on it, that could be disastrous.
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Survivor Benefit Plan-to take or not to take?
Old 03-16-2017, 05:43 AM   #22
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Survivor Benefit Plan-to take or not to take?

My brother was 53 when he retired and 54 when he passed away with no insurance and no survivor benefits. Needless to say it wasn't good. Term life or SBP you know the answer.
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:32 AM   #23
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We were in a very similar situation to yours. My wife retire as an 05 with 24 years and our thinking was chances that me living longer than her we're not that great. We are both the same age and in good health, so we only got the bare minimum cheapest Survivor benefit plan , however right before did get a very large Term Policy on her that was a fraction of the cost of the Survivor Benefit Plan. Our thought was with a long-term policy we would be self-insured when the term runs out, and that seems like it's going to pan out well for us
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:22 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
I opted in. It was a question of would I invest the money on or regular basis or take it out to cover some 'emergency'. In hind site I think we would have kept the investing going, however it is now paid up and cost nothing to have it. SBP with SS will give DW, other pensions, and IRA's will be more than she needs.
Similar situation here. I believed we'd probably have enough for DW with our investments if I checked out early, and probably she'd be able to steer clear of the helpful investment "advisors" and insurance salesmen. But the investing stuff has been my job and interest, not hers. So, "probably" wasn't quite what I wanted IRT her baseline income. Plus, we always viewed our USAF pay as "ours," and I view the "deferred compensation" of the pension the same way. After crunching the numbers and quickly seeing that the "savings" of buying commercial insurance was not close to being a match for SBP in our case, we signed up. It's another way of diversifying, we don't miss the $$ each month, and I know she'll be set if I shove off early. Having the premiums stop at age 70 was icing on the cake (hey, we'll get a raise at age 70! Longevity insurance! )
Every situation is different, but this is best for us from a financial standpoint. And from a "peace of mind" standpoint.
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:47 AM   #25
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Retired (since 1996) Navy CAPT here.

My wife did not have a long work history (was a SAHM until kids were in HS and then had her job interrupted for a few years thanks to a Navy transfer). Result was that she did not have that many years to sock away retirement money nor to accrue SS credits. So, I thought long and hard about SBP. Ended up taking it a level that would replace about 1/3 of my pension (rather than the max 55%). In retrospect, I wish I had taken it at the max level (although she will still be OK assuming the actuaries are right and I go first.) I did not buy any insurance in lieu of SBP because I was assuming the combination of SBP, SS and money already invested would take care of her. It's a good thing I didn't die right away because my assumptions on appreciation of/withdrawal rates from the investments were overly optimistic. But time has taken care of that.

One thing that always stuck with me from my retirement seminar... One of the speakers was the president of Navy Mutual Aid Association, a retired RADM. In his pitch he strongly encouraged everyone to take SBP at the max rather than trying to use insurance to fill the gap. This was telling since NMAA is essentially a non-profit insurance company and he could have used the talk to encourage people to buy NMAA insurance instead. He had taken SBP at the max for his wife.

This was the hardest decision I had to make relative to retirement. In retrospect, I made a satisfactory one but not as good as I could have. Your family decision is different so YMMV. Best of luck and Go Navy!
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:43 AM   #26
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Retired USMC (06) in 2016.

I opted in for the max SBP.

My decision was based on evaluating the cost of term insurance, pre-tax SBP payments and my projected future financial requirements. My DW was a SAHM for most of my active duty career, so no other pensions and she has only qualified for a very small SS benefit. I hope to collect more retirement payments than active duty but life is full of surprises. Probably, most significantly, a COLA SBP lets me sleep better at night and my DW was a significant contributor to my active duty career....so I feel strongly about her receiving the maximum benefit. Contrary to other posts, I received a lot of good information during my "transition seminars" regarding the pro's/con's of taking SBP versus private insurance. As mentioned by others, a lot depends on your personal situation and projected financial requirements....which in your case seem to make a strong case for less than max SBP or none at all.

Kudos for researching options now and having a solid financial plan for post military life. Enjoy your remaining time on active duty.
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:12 AM   #27
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Good thread. thanks.
I did not know that SBP ended at 70, but it does not apply to me (Reserve retirement at 60):
"SBP participants who reach 70 years of age and have made 360 payments (30 years), will no longer have to pay premiums for continued SBP coverage and will be placed in "Paid-up SBP" status."
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:32 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
My brother was 53 when he retired and 54 when he passed away with no insurance and no survivor benefits. Needless to say it wasn't good. Term life or SBP you know the answer.
Very sad..Thanks for sharing
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:58 PM   #29
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Retired (since 1996) Navy CAPT here.

My wife did not have a long work history (was a SAHM until kids were in HS and then had her job interrupted for a few years thanks to a Navy transfer). Result was that she did not have that many years to sock away retirement money nor to accrue SS credits. So, I thought long and hard about SBP. Ended up taking it a level that would replace about 1/3 of my pension (rather than the max 55%). In retrospect, I wish I had taken it at the max level (although she will still be OK assuming the actuaries are right and I go first.) I did not buy any insurance in lieu of SBP because I was assuming the combination of SBP, SS and money already invested would take care of her. It's a good thing I didn't die right away because my assumptions on appreciation of/withdrawal rates from the investments were overly optimistic. But time has taken care of that.

One thing that always stuck with me from my retirement seminar... One of the speakers was the president of Navy Mutual Aid Association, a retired RADM. In his pitch he strongly encouraged everyone to take SBP at the max rather than trying to use insurance to fill the gap. This was telling since NMAA is essentially a non-profit insurance company and he could have used the talk to encourage people to buy NMAA insurance instead. He had taken SBP at the max for his wife.

This was the hardest decision I had to make relative to retirement. In retrospect, I made a satisfactory one but not as good as I could have. Your family decision is different so YMMV. Best of luck and Go Navy!
Mmm. The NMF guy is the one who suggested that we may not need it. Between my TSP, SS and his 401k, we would be covered (together will bring more than our expense of 9k/mth). I am thinking perhaps putting in the $540/mth for SBP in an investment acct. If I die before 65, with my life insurance of 500k, his salary, he should have enough to live off until he is 70. He can actually retire at 62 and take his SS and be ok. Add his 401k and TSP at 3.5 WR, and he would have more funds than our combined expense right now.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:09 PM   #30
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Thank you for your input. Greatly appreciate it...It seem like such a unnatural thing to do..Making the decision to not do something a lot of people are doing...It just makes you second guess yourself. I think financially, we don't need it but we want to make sure and examine all possibilities.. Perhaps there is something we are not considering...This forum is so great at looking at situations from a all points of view.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:13 PM   #31
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Good thread. thanks.
I did not know that SBP ended at 70, but it does not apply to me (Reserve retirement at 60):
"SBP participants who reach 70 years of age and have made 360 payments (30 years), will no longer have to pay premiums for continued SBP coverage and will be placed in "Paid-up SBP" status."
Well it stated 'and' not 'or' so I assume that if I retire at 52, I need to make the 360 payment before it's paid up?
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:37 AM   #32
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Thanks for letting me know about this thread, omni!

And Braumeister & Samclem, thanks again for the links.

Welcome to the forum, Aknowhow.

You have several choices, or legally your spouse has those choices:
1. Take all the SBP you can get for a premium of 6.5%/year until you're over 70 years old and have paid for 30 years, or
1.a. Take some SBP for a smaller premium, or
2. Take all the SBP you can get on the kid(s) until they turn 18-22 years old (https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary.../coverage.html), or
3. If you have a child who will be an "incapacitated or disabled adult" (DFAS' words), then take all the SBP you can get for their special needs trust, or
4. Decline SBP.


Let me make sure I understand your finances:
Quote:
Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
I am a female officer (06 CAPT) and plan to retire 2021 (30 years of service and would be 52 at that time). Upon my retirement, my husband will continue to work until he is 59.5. I attended a pre-retirement seminar and am more confused about Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP).
I'm going to extrapolate that you're 48 years old now and (as you've said in your post) your spouse is turning 50 this year. In other words, he's older than you and (since women statistically have a longer life expectancy) you're likely to outlive him. Admittedly I know nothing about the health of either of you or your VA disability rating after 30 years of service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
1. We have 2 children (4 and 14 years old). I have transferred my Post 911 GI bill to both kids and college wise--have a Custodian Acct for the oldest and saving in backdoor Roth IRA intended to be used for the youngest.
When you retire in four years, you'll have one child who's eight years old and another who's 18 years old. Their college expenses are probably adequately funded and your spouse (age 54 by then) would be working another 5-6 years. If you were to die the day after you retired, he'd probably only need a few years of childcare to cover his remaining working years.

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Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
2. Husband has 401K and currently contributes 31k/year. Plan to go up on this as he is turning 50 this year. Plan is to do 2% withdrawal rate upon his retirement. (Anticipated balance based on 5% rate 1M).
It sounds as if you're forecasting a 2% withdrawal rate on an expected portfolio size of $1M beginning in 2028 or 2029. This is below the current dividend rate on the S&P500, which means that if you had a high-equity portfolio then you might not even need to touch the principal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
Greetings to everyone,
3. I have a TSP and max contributions of 18k/yr. This will stop 2021 upon my retirement and we will not touch until required to at 70-- anticipated balance based on 5% rate will be 900K.
... and you have TSP funds as well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
4. We have an after tax savings in various CD (ladder) contributing 36k/yr. Plan is to use this money to buy a house in 2021.
... and you might not even have a mortgage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
5. My retirement pension (COLAed) will be 84K. I have a life insurance policy of 500K (USAA ends when I turn 65) and while active also have the SGLI (400K). Husband has life insurance of 750K via work and will end when he retires.
Even if you did have a mortgage, and you died the day after you retired, he'd still have a $500K lump sum to pay off the mortgage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aknowhow78 View Post
6. Our current spending ranges from 8k to 9k/mth and expect to remain the same until in our 60s (have young children and can be expensive).
So if everything goes according to plan, we will have 1.9M between his 401K and TSP. Husband is healthy and parents still living, healthy in their 80s. My parents also healthy and still living in their 70s (my grandmother lived until 97). Based on the above info and the longevity on both side of our family, do we need to take SBP insurance on my pension?
There are millions of Americans raising young kids on less than $8K-$9K/month. Let's agree that even if you died the day after retirement with no SBP, in the worst case he'd pay off the mortgage and spend about 5%-6%/year of a ~$1.9M portfolio with room to cut some discretionary spending. And then around 2032 he could start withdrawing Social Security benefits on either his earnings record or yours.

It's hard to see why he would want the inflation-adjusted survivor annuity of 55% of your $84K/year pension. I doubt that he'd need any of it.

It's possible that you might decide to purchase SBP coverage on your kids through age 22.

And of course if your kids are considered "incapacitated or disabled adults" then you'd absolutely purchase as much SBP as you could for their SNT.

There are a couple of other considerations:
- You're much more likely to outlive him just on demographics, let alone on your family genetics. I guess you'd also keep an eye on your separation physical and your VA disability rating as well as on both of your healthy lifestyle habits. But right now it's hard to see why you'd want to insure your income if you'll outlive him.

- You already have adequate life insurance to cover your "income" (pension) from retirement to Social Security. Even that might be more than you need, and SBP would be overkill.

- At least one of you might sleep better at night knowing that you're spending 6.5% for an inflation-adjusted annuity. This is not a decision derived from cold-hearted actuarial financial logic. This is rooted in the emotions of behavioral financial psychology and is an equally valid basis for making a choice.

- Many spouses have sacrificed their careers (and earning potential) to follow the servicemember. Some of those spouses feel entitled to SBP as their reward for giving up a lifetime of human capital. This is also a decision based upon behavioral financial psychology. If you try to apply cold-hearted financial logic here then you're liable to find yourself tap-dancing in a marital minefield.

If you're not happy with the SBP seminar then I'm not going to inflict more blog posts on you. However I'd strongly recommend CFP Forrest Baumhover's book:
https://www.amazon.com/Military-Tran...H1Q/ref=sr_1_1
He's a retired Navy officer with his own CFP firm, and he writes a lot about these subjects at MilitaryInTransition.com. This $5 investment will give you and your spouse an objective analysis of SBP and term insurance. You'll be able to sort through the numbers and choose a basis for your decision.

My spouse and I are dual-military retirees, and I retired when our daughter was nine years old. My spouse and I each have our own income and assets, and we declined SBP on each other. We decided that we'd rather have the extra 6.5% to spend on ourselves while we're both still alive. As it turns out, our daughter wouldn't have needed the SBP coverage either.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:41 AM   #33
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Thanks for letting me know about this thread, omni!

And Braumeister & Samclem, thanks again for the links.

Welcome to the forum, Aknowhow.

You have several choices, or legally your spouse has those choices:
1. Take all the SBP you can get for a premium of 6.5%/year until you're over 70 years old and have paid for 30 years, or
1.a. Take some SBP for a smaller premium, or
2. Take all the SBP you can get on the kid(s) until they turn 18-22 years old (https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary.../coverage.html), or
3. If you have a child who will be an "incapacitated or disabled adult" (DFAS' words), then take all the SBP you can get for their special needs trust, or
4. Decline SBP.


Let me make sure I understand your finances:

I'm going to extrapolate that you're 48 years old now and (as you've said in your post) your spouse is turning 50 this year. In other words, he's older than you and (since women statistically have a longer life expectancy) you're likely to outlive him. Admittedly I know nothing about the health of either of you or your VA disability rating after 30 years of service.


When you retire in four years, you'll have one child who's eight years old and another who's 18 years old. Their college expenses are probably adequately funded and your spouse (age 54 by then) would be working another 5-6 years. If you were to die the day after you retired, he'd probably only need a few years of childcare to cover his remaining working years.


It sounds as if you're forecasting a 2% withdrawal rate on an expected portfolio size of $1M beginning in 2028 or 2029. This is below the current dividend rate on the S&P500, which means that if you had a high-equity portfolio then you might not even need to touch the principal...


... and you have TSP funds as well...


... and you might not even have a mortgage.


Even if you did have a mortgage, and you died the day after you retired, he'd still have a $500K lump sum to pay off the mortgage.


There are millions of Americans raising young kids on less than $8K-$9K/month. Let's agree that even if you died the day after retirement with no SBP, in the worst case he'd pay off the mortgage and spend about 5%-6%/year of a ~$1.9M portfolio with room to cut some discretionary spending. And then around 2032 he could start withdrawing Social Security benefits on either his earnings record or yours.

It's hard to see why he would want the inflation-adjusted survivor annuity of 55% of your $84K/year pension. I doubt that he'd need any of it.

It's possible that you might decide to purchase SBP coverage on your kids through age 22.

And of course if your kids are considered "incapacitated or disabled adults" then you'd absolutely purchase as much SBP as you could for their SNT.

There are a couple of other considerations:
- You're much more likely to outlive him just on demographics, let alone on your family genetics. I guess you'd also keep an eye on your separation physical and your VA disability rating as well as on both of your healthy lifestyle habits. But right now it's hard to see why you'd want to insure your income if you'll outlive him.

- You already have adequate life insurance to cover your "income" (pension) from retirement to Social Security. Even that might be more than you need, and SBP would be overkill.

- At least one of you might sleep better at night knowing that you're spending 6.5% for an inflation-adjusted annuity. This is not a decision derived from cold-hearted actuarial financial logic. This is rooted in the emotions of behavioral financial psychology and is an equally valid basis for making a choice.

- Many spouses have sacrificed their careers (and earning potential) to follow the servicemember. Some of those spouses feel entitled to SBP as their reward for giving up a lifetime of human capital. This is also a decision based upon behavioral financial psychology. If you try to apply cold-hearted financial logic here then you're liable to find yourself tap-dancing in a marital minefield.

If you're not happy with the SBP seminar then I'm not going to inflict more blog posts on you. However I'd strongly recommend CFP Forrest Baumhover's book:
https://www.amazon.com/Military-Tran...H1Q/ref=sr_1_1
He's a retired Navy officer with his own CFP firm, and he writes a lot about these subjects at MilitaryInTransition.com. This $5 investment will give you and your spouse an objective analysis of SBP and term insurance. You'll be able to sort through the numbers and choose a basis for your decision.

My spouse and I are dual-military retirees, and I retired when our daughter was nine years old. My spouse and I each have our own income and assets, and we declined SBP on each other. We decided that we'd rather have the extra 6.5% to spend on ourselves while we're both still alive. As it turns out, our daughter wouldn't have needed the SBP coverage either.
OMG...Thank you do much for this.. It's right on and Super helpful.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:04 PM   #34
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Greetings to everyone,
I am a female officer (06 CAPT) and plan to retire 2021 (30 years of service and would be 52 at that time). Upon my retirement, my husband will continue to work until he is 59.5. I attended a pre-retirement seminar and am more confused about Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). Here is our current situation and plans:
1. We have 2 children (4 and 14 years old). I have transferred my Post 911 GI bill to both kids and college wise--have a Custodian Acct for the oldest and saving in backdoor Roth IRA intended to be used for the youngest.
2. Husband has 401K and currently contributes 31k/year. Plan to go up on this as he is turning 50 this year. Plan is to do 2% withdrawal rate upon his retirement. (Anticipated balance based on 5% rate 1M).
3. I have a TSP and max contributions of 18k/yr. This will stop 2021 upon my retirement and we will not touch until required to at 70-- anticipated balance based on 5% rate will be 900K.
4. We have an after tax savings in various CD (ladder) contributing 36k/yr. Plan is to use this money to buy a house in 2021.
5. My retirement pension (COLAed) will be 84K. I have a life insurance policy of 500K (USAA ends when I turn 65) and while active also have the SGLI (400K). Husband has life insurance of 750K via work and will end when he retires.
6. Our current spending ranges from 8k to 9k/mth and expect to remain the same until in our 60s (have young children and can be expensive).
So if everything goes according to plan, we will have 1.9M between his 401K and TSP. Husband is healthy and parents still living, healthy in their 80s. My parents also healthy and still living in their 70s (my grandmother lived until 97). Based on the above info and the longevity on both side of our family, do we need to take SBP insurance on my pension?
Much obliged for your input.
How does one contribute $31K a year to a 401 K? I thought the limit was $18 K under age 50.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:59 PM   #35
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How does one contribute $31K a year to a 401 K? I thought the limit was $18 K under age 50.
In my case, max out the 401 contributions (18.5k plus the 6k over 50 catch-up (24.5k) plus the agency match (30%=7k) equals 31.5k annually). Under 50 would be minus the 6k. Still 25k.

Wendall
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:03 PM   #36
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How does one contribute $31K a year to a 401 K? I thought the limit was $18 K under age 50.
Perfect sharing, max + agency match
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:16 PM   #37
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In my case, max out the 401 contributions (18.5k plus the 6k over 50 catch-up (24.5k) plus the agency match (30%=7k) equals 31.5k annually). Under 50 would be minus the 6k. Still 25k.

Wendall
Sorry, he max out + company does 12% match of his salary
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:20 PM   #38
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Perfect sharing, max + agency match
Sorry profit sharing is distributed as bonuses. He contributes max + company match 12% of salary
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Old 03-17-2017, 11:20 PM   #39
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OMG...Thank you do much for this.. It's right on and Super helpful.
Glad to help.

Please let us know what you decide to do!
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