Many Americans are struggling in retirement. A recent study commissioned by Americans for Secure Retirement reported that 60% of middle-income new retirees would run out of money in retirement unless they reduced their standard of living by 24%.
Figuring out how to get the most out of your retirement dollar is an important part of your retirement planning. If you have access to a pension plan in retirement, you may want to consider the choice between the single-life annuity and joint-and-survivor benefits payment plans.
A single-life annuity makes set monthly payments to you, the pension holder, as long as you live. The joint-and-survivor benefit option, meanwhile, reduces your monthly pension benefits in favor of continuing payments to your spouse after your death.
The amount of the reduction depends on how large those continuing payments are, and many plans offer 50% to 100% of the pension payment to the surviving spouse. Your pension payments are typically reduced by about 10% for the 50% benefit amount, and about 20% for the 100% benefit.
To help work through this decision, you can turn to the online Pension Planning calculator from BankingMyWay.com. You'll need to enter age and life-expectancy figures for you and your spouse, as well as your expected retirement age and pension details.
The calculator assumes you would use term life insurance to support your surviving spouse in the absence of joint-and-survivor pension benefits. It determines the lump sum payment required to provide an income equivalent to the joint-and-survivor benefit for the duration of your spouse's expected life.