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Old 11-14-2020, 07:38 PM   #21
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Happened to my step-grandma. Her husband elected no survivor benefits back in the Bad Old Days when no spousal agreement was required. She found out after he died when the pension stopped. Her kids told her if she wanted to live decently she better remarry. So she latched onto Grandpa. Grandpa had been an absolute skinflint with Grandma (they'd been through the Great Depression and had 5 kids) and he spent pretty much everything he had on step-grandma and her adult kids.

I filed for a $900/month pension in DH's last days. We knew it was his last days and we had a notary come to the house and verify his signature on the papers. That one was a no-brainer.
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Old 11-15-2020, 10:35 AM   #22
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I guess nobody told the pensioner that he was supposed to take part of the extra money he received every month and buy a life insurance plan to protect his spouse in the event of his untimely demise.
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Old 11-15-2020, 10:44 AM   #23
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Kudo's to the Military for doing it right!

Just one question. You said "if we paid one amount...". Did you actually have pay into the system, or are you talking about the reduction in benefits?
X amount would be deducted from my monthly pay.

My wife chose not to participate.

She has already had five heart attacks. She has out-lived all of her relatives and ancestors. She has assumed that she will die before I die.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:55 AM   #24
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We chose 100% joint and survivor, same amount now and in the future, but we discussed and waffled on our decision for about a year prior to retirement.

I am sorry your friend is experiencing this.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:32 PM   #25
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We're on the other side of this. I get a non-COLA'd pension and had the option of 0, 50 and 100% survivor benefits. I discussed it at length with my wife and she preferred that I go for the zero survivor, higher monthly payment option.

The reason is that she will receive her own (larger, COLA'd) pension and substantial other assets should I die first. Absent those factors I would have insisted on the pension option with the largest available survivor benefit.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:55 PM   #26
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My dad retired in 1974 and took the largest survivor pension for my mom that he could. In 1978 I worked in the benefit department for Inland Steel and was only 24. One part of my job was telling hysterical widows that their husbands lied about the pension option they chose. Some of these women were only in their 50’s and had never worked. Ugh!
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:59 PM   #27
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I believe that the choice pension is very much a function of one's financial situation.

There is no one right answer. I did 60 percent because the math did not work for 75 or 100 percent joint. But in our situation my wife would not suffer because of our financial position. Exactly the same for the decision to take the commuted value vs an annuity.

Spouses with the largest age difference often have the most difficult choice. The larger the younger age difference of the spouse, the greater the differences between options.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:05 PM   #28
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My DW has a tiny pension, we took the 50% as the difference between none and 50% was ~$150 less per month.

I would have been OK with none, as my assets alone are good enough for me, however, the inclusion of low cost health plan if you have a pension basically pushed us to the 50% spot.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:11 PM   #29
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I have a cousin going thru this now. Her husband had 3 pensions from before spousal consent was required. The tiny military pension might have survivor benefit of $300/mo but the others have none. The retiree healthcare is also gone along with the Federal CSRS pension. Cousin is 82, very trusting and probably assumed there would be something. He even left adult children as beneficiary in his paid up life insurance. They re- married but did not take advantage of the life event change to modify his pension. It wouldíve cost him I guess. She will qualify to claim a benefit on 1st hubbyís SS and gets to keep her SS disability benefit.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:22 PM   #30
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My dad retired in 1974 and took the largest survivor pension for my mom that he could. In 1978 I worked in the benefit department for Inland Steel and was only 24. One part of my job was telling hysterical widows that their husbands lied about the pension option they chose. Some of these women were only in their 50ís and had never worked. Ugh!
I have great difficulty understanding why a man would not want to take care of his widow. I see it as part of the deal when you got married in the first place.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:32 PM   #31
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I have great difficulty understanding why a man would not want to take care of his widow. I see it as part of the deal when you got married in the first place.
I think in today's world, the situation goes both ways. A woman should be just as concerned about taking care of a man financially if she has a DBP where she can name him as a 100% survivor beneficiary. I know the government rules require both males and females to have their spouse sign off if they want to pick the no-benefit option. And that's as it should be.

We were shocked that here in Illinois, the Teacher's Retirement System offers no 100% survivor benefit for the surviving spouse. There is a 50% option, so that's the protection I have from DW's pension should she predecease me.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:46 PM   #32
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To me not considering the survivor is the exact same shortsidedness/ whatever of ppl that say they will "work forever". I do feel a lot of ppl (that I've personally talked to) in the military community have been led down the primrose path by FA's (First command and Edward Jones immediately come to mind) that survivor pension premiums are wasted if survivor is first to die and life insurance/annuity/letting me invest for you is a much better use of money. Given our age difference we would need a triple crap ton of life insurance to keep me living as well as a colad survivor pension I'm guaranteed not to outlive.. Perhaps a quadruple crap ton. I resent not a penny subtracted from that monthly pension.
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I have great difficulty understanding why a man would not want to take care of his widow. I see it as part of the deal when you got married in the first place.
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Old 11-15-2020, 02:33 PM   #33
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At age 54 my dad’s health was poor because of being a tool grinder back in the day. He had his lawyer draw up paperwork to give everything to my mom. The lawyer didn’t want to do it. 5 years later my dad had a massive stroke and wasn’t competent. My mom cared for him at home for 14 years with my help. My dad was always looking out for my mom. Both my husband and I need each other’s 100% pension for a good quality of life. It worth every penny of the 450/monthly we give up.
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Old 11-15-2020, 02:59 PM   #34
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I have great difficulty understanding why a man would not want to take care of his widow. I see it as part of the deal when you got married in the first place.
Despite the earlier era of the USAs societal & schooling influence, and its fostering the same mindset years ago, I disagree with that mindset these days.

Equal rights across the board, or forget it.

"Happy house,= Happy spouse"
You can burn that "Happy wife, happy life" propaganda crap I'd swear HermanGobbles came up with. jmho

Say that widow was 20+yrs younger, and obviously married particularly for security & future lifestyles funding, as many in fact do too?
Just another consideration, not looking to start
argue/debate/etc.

I watched a pal living with another pal deliberatly choose 100% in their pension. The secondary pal had just re-emerged 30yrs later !
Strike the male/female considerations.

Good luck & Best wishes......
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:11 PM   #35
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The post to which I was responding talked about dead guys and destitute widows, so that's why I framed my response the way I did (also because I am male and see it from that point of view). Sure, marriage is a two way street and women also should consider the potential needs of their widowers, although I suspect that, even today, it is mostly women who interrupt their careers to raise children.

But if you insist on being one of those aggrieved men's rights guys, go ahead. It's not a good look, but hey, it's yours.

And, by the way, it's probably Joseph Goebbels to whom you were referring.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:31 PM   #36
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I believe that the choice pension is very much a function of one's financial situation.

There is no one right answer. I did 60 percent because the math did not work for 75 or 100 percent joint. But in our situation my wife would not suffer because of our financial position. Exactly the same for the decision to take the commuted value vs an annuity.
I agree. For us, we did 75% as that plus my SS spousal benefit would more than cover regular expenses.

DW has had several friends in a similar situations as the one the OP related. It has be sad seeing them go from comfortable to having to make sudden tough financial moves to stay afloat.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:34 PM   #37
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Interesting topic, and one I will be facing in a few years.

Although relatively small, on my army reserve pension I did chose to delay spousal benefit until I begin collecting at 60 (If I die before 60, wife gets nothing). I did this because I am in good health, it is relatively small compared my assets, and it was pretty expensive and impacted the pension for the duration. I upped my life insurance by a few hundred thousand to 'cover' my wife if I died early. She did have to sign the document authorizing the delay in spousal benefits, in the presence of a notary.

So at 59.5 I will make the decision on spousal benefits for the military pension, and sometime before 2025 I will make it for the megacorp pension.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:38 PM   #38
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OP here.

Just to be clear, my post was not intended to be specific to any gender. Just that spousal pensions need to be considered when other funds do not exist.

Gumby's point, if I may paraphrase, refers to "old school" folks, of which my friend was one.

Yes, it goes both ways, and in the future even more so.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:55 PM   #39
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I guess nobody told the pensioner that he was supposed to take part of the extra money he received every month and buy a life insurance plan to protect his spouse in the event of his untimely demise.
Insurance agents are all over the place around large military bases trying to convince retiring service members to do just that. From everything Iíve seen, the military SBP is a better deal. Itís paid for (by the service member) with pre-tax dollars, subsidized by Uncle Sam, inflation-adjusted and fully paid-up after 30 years.
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Old 11-15-2020, 06:04 PM   #40
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There are other options. Life insurance is just one. Taking a commuted value is another. Health concerns and difference in ages can impact the financial decision.

My father's DB paid out for 30 years, then another five to my mother. I guess he beat the odds. 60 percent was fine for them since they had other resources and no health care expenses whatsoever.
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