In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 6, 2005 / 29 Sivan, 5765

Financially, retiring a lose-lose for couples

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: I'm planning to retire from a company where I have worked for the past 39 years. I have a 401(k) and a pension that, thankfully, appears to have been properly funded by my company. I have been given the option of either choosing to take my full pension with no provision for my wife should I die before her, or a reduced payment so that, should I die first, my wife will receive 60 percent of my pension amount for the rest of her life. My wife has not worked outside the home. I am 63 and she is 59. We have talked to a financial planner and a certified public accountant. Each gave us different advice, and we can't reconcile the conflicting opinions.

A: The question you ask is not only relevant in the private sector, but also to retiring state and federal employees, not to mention military personnel, because the death of a spouse causes significant effects upon the survivor, both emotionally and economically.

In addition to grief, the survivor — especially if it is a woman — almost always suffers a loss of income. An example is Social Security, where a surviving spouse will receive an award based upon the greater of his or her work record or 100 percent of the deceased spouse's record — but not both. Similarly, those who receive distributions from private and public pension plans may suffer a loss of income depending on the type of annuity plan and survivor benefit chosen. But no matter which choice you make, there is a financial sacrifice. For example, those who chose two-life annuities (which are calculated to pay a reduced amount to the employee-spouse during his or her life, and then a percentage of that amount until the death of the second spouse) will not lose as much income upon the death of a spouse, but there will be less money available during the life of the employee-spouse.

In addition, without appropriate planning, the death of a spouse can also reduce assets because of the expense of the final illness. Even with Medicare and supplemental insurance, the surviving spouse may be required to pay some heavy out-of-pocket expenses, not to mention the cost of the funeral. And if the deceased spouse was a victim of a chronic illness, the cost of uninsured long-term care before death can seriously deplete the couple's financial resources. Moreover, if the couple relied on Medicaid to help pay the expenses of the deceased spouse, in many instances, a large portion of the couple's assets was used to pay medical expenses and long-term care costs of the deceased spouse before they became financially eligible for Medicaid.

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As a result, surviving spouses often have substantially fewer assets and less income for their support than the couple had planned for.

Faced with diminished financial resources, many surviving spouses must re-evaluate their housing and other economic needs in order to live more frugally.

The decision of whether to opt for a survivor annuity depends on your overall plan. Some who do not choose the survivor annuity take a portion of the difference in lifetime benefits to purchase a life insurance policy so that, should the employee-spouse die first, a pool of tax-free money can be available to the survivor. The problem here, however, is that if the family gets into financial difficulties or faces uninsured long-term care, there may not be enough money to fund the life insurance which, in some instances, is allowed to lapse. Another factor to consider is whether the pension is subject to Social Security offsets — that is, reduced by the survivor's Social Security.

That's why planning should begin for later life long before retirement — preferably while we are still in our fifties. The planning should include long-term care insurance and, where appropriate, life insurance while the premiums are less expensive.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying Solo in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.


© 2005, Jan Warner