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When I retired at 62 I had a similar decision to make since my wife had no retirement benefits and would need some income beyond social security. I chose to take 100% survivorship which reduced my pension about 20%. What I took into considerations, was the amount of money in our tax-deferred accounts, after-tax accounts, our home, and the amount of income needed to support our standard of living. We have no life insurance, but decided to take the money we were spending on life insurance and buy long term care insurance for the both of us, thus protecting our investment accounts and our expenses. I used spreadsheets to crunch the numbers and it made more sense for us to use this approach. The age and health of your spouse plays a very big role in making these important decisions. I personally do like the idea of Universal Life or any other type of life insurance that builds cash value. It's protection you want, buy term and invest the difference. See how much term insurance you can buy for the difference in a survivors benefit versus life benefit. You will want to buy a 10 to 20 year level term with guranteed level premium. can give you quotes for life insurance. I am sure there are other sites that will do this also. Any nonterm policy has a savings build up and an insurance benefit. Your premium buys you a decreasing term policy and any excess premium goes into cash value. In a variable policy the cash value or investing part varies depending how your investments are doing. The real problem is the high expenses associated with these policies. Agents and the insurance companies make more money off cash value, investment policies than they do with term insurance.
I used to sell insurance, and even started selling the concept of taking life benefits and buying life insurance to fund your spouses income needs. I quit when the company got my case about selling term rather than Variable Unvirseal Life or Investment type of policies.

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