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math man - On the assumption from your screen name you know a bit about math, I urge you to decide your life expectancy - not the one in the tables which is the 50th percentile, but maybe something like the 90th percentile. You may have health issues or a family history moving you from the averages. Next I suggest do some inflation calculations.

As you probably know, defined benefit plans end up being handled by insurance companies - they agree to pay you X/month until you die is the basic approach. The insurance companies like that since it makes their job easy - a known liability. But your financial needs will be affected by inflation - and I fully expect that to happen. Maybe not like in the 1979 to 1982 period, but certainly more than since 1992.

I mention this because one option in some pension plans is to take the money and run. If you have that option, you might want to look see how much cash you get. My wife and I have chosen to take the cash and invest it. We are using a conservative withdraw rate (about 3%) and increase each year for the CPI. While we have less money now, we are anticipating that we will not have to alter our life style over the decades of retirement on the assumption inflation does happen.

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