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But how is it that these people did not see the possibility that one spouse my predecease from day one of their retirement planning?

Since my MIL had a radical mastectomy due to breast cancer and was older than her husband, when my FIL retired a few years later, they decided to choose the full pension amount without survivor pension as they were sure he would outlive her. Well, he died first, and by a long shot.

People do the best they can, but sometimes they make poor decisions.
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