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chibby1999, you wrote:

<< I am planning on retirement on 3 - 6 months. I have a number of pension options (total of 15, all monthly payments) and I am having difficulty deciding which one to select. I am tempted to take the "basic" benefit and purchase 15 yr team insurance to cover my spouse in case of my death. It's tempting to take the basic benefit ($2807/mo) and use the difference to purchase a term life insurance policy. It appears that my company is purchasing me life insurance (via the survivor benefit) at several times the premium for a 15 yr term policy. The difference is appx $400/mo for survivor benefits, depending upon which option I select. I can purchase a $100k policy for $1719/yr. Do you have any advise/insight on this situation. >>

What you need to do is to crunch the numbers to see what makes the most sense. There's not single answer for ALL people in your situation. There seems to be a lot of missing information, like your age and your spouses age as well as your and your spouse's health conditions. But given the numbers you've presented, and assuming the option you're taking is where your spouse will get $-0- when you died, the insurance you're looking at doesn't look adequate to replace the lost income. . .???? With a 15 year term policy, you're going to have to invest the difference over this period and reach that amount to replace the term coverage which you'll terminate in 15 years. . . .this may not be easy to do.

The best time to prepare for using this kind of approach is usually around 10 years before one retires. This is often referred to as Pension Maximization. When this technique is done right at retirement time, the numbers very often don't make financial sense. If you don't feel comfortable crunching the numbers on a spreadsheet, you might try finding a friend who is comfortable with a spreadsheet and sit down with him/her to go over the numbers for the various options you have or that your interested in. . .???

Sorry this isn't of more help. But I hope it gives you some things to think about.
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