Dear Liz: My husband is planning to retire this summer after 30 years as a teacher. He is 55, I am 56, and I do not plan to retire until I’m 66. He has to choose among several options for his pension: getting the maximum benefit, which ends when he dies; choosing a reduced amount that continues 100% to me when he dies; choosing a less-reduced amount that offers a 50% payment to me when he dies; or a reduced benefit that’s guaranteed to continue a certain number of months if he dies or increases if I die first. We can’t decide what’s best for us. Can you help?
Answer: Not really, but an experienced fee-only financial planner can.
Choosing a pension payout option is tricky, because you’ll be living with the consequences of this decision for the rest of your life. You want to discuss this with a professional who can review your entire financial situation and give you individualized advice. This person should be someone who is committed to putting your interests first, rather than his or her own. You can get referrals to fee-only financial planners from Garrett Planning Network at http://www.garrettplanningnetwork.com.