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Pension: since I'm so far from it, I hadn't thought about the various ways for the money to be paid out.

You may want to see if you can find your plan documents or talk to HR. If you want the survivor's benefit, you either already signed up that way or you need to change to it.

Also on the retirement front, you may want to cruise around at There is a spousal SS benefit after you've been married for 10 years(as long as you don't remarry after the 10-year spouse is divorced or dies).

Don't forget to count up your other assets(like equity in your home, etc) when you are looking at both retirement and one spouse after the death of the other. If there are less expensive housing options that you are willing or choosing to take, you could have additional capital with which to genereate income.

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