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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 August 15, 2005 / 10 Av, 5765

Should we go for survivor annuities?

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: My husband and I are in our late 50s. We just completed educating our youngest child and find that we have a well-deserved raise in available income and resources. Both of us still work and intend to continue for a few more years. We have a comfortable home, some investments, pensions, 401ks and other assets that we want to make sure last us. We have little debt.

We purchased long-term care insurance several years ago, and we dropped most of our life insurance that we had purchased to make sure that if one of us died early, the other would be able to provide educations for our children. Our wills, powers of attorney and health directives are in order. Our question deals with our pensions: at retirement, should we opt to not take survivor annuities (and each of us receives greater pay for our lives) or another alternative? We have been advised both ways as we continue our planning process.

A: It appears that you have done all of the right things, thus far. Your question deals with an issue that faces every married individual who will receive a defined benefit pension at retirement.

The choice is whether you should take a "single life annuity," which will provide maximum monthly payments until the death of the retired worker, or a "joint and survivor annuity," which will pay a lesser amount until the death of the retired worker and then continue to make payments in a set amount to the surviving spouse of the retired worker.

The choice of taking the joint and survivor alternative and receiving lower monthly payments while both of you are alive is sort of an insurance policy that guards against the risk that if you die before your spouse, you will be able to leave your spouse with more income. The trade-off of taking a lesser amount each month during your life depends your economic situation, including your projected need for more income during your lives to pay for your standard of living, the size and growth rate of your assets, your health and expected life expectancies. For example, if one of you was ill and did not expect to live to life expectancy, then a survivor annuity would be the better choice. Or, if both of you did not work, if you have small resources, and if there would not be enough income to take care of the survivor, the survivor annuity could be the better choice.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the federal law that governs pensions, promotes the protection of the surviving spouse by requiring those employers that fund these defined benefit pensions to not only offer joint and survivor annuities, but also to require plan recipients to get the written consent of their spouses before opting a single life payout.

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Some of the reasons not to choose survivor protection may include 1) the spouse having sufficient economic protections for the future (like large resources and/or their own retirement); 2) an expectation that the spouse will predecease the recipient; and, in some instances, 3) a poor relationship with the spouse. In marriages where the recipient is much older than the spouse, a survivor annuity may make sense if the rest of the economics work out.

The decision whether to take a survivor annuity cannot be made in a vacuum. All economic aspects of a married couple's lives should be examined and, with professional advice from a certified public accountant or certified financial planner, projections into the future should be made. This is an important decision, yet some folks don't make it until retirement is upon them. Some couples take the higher-paying life annuity and either invest the incremental difference each month or purchase life insurance for the survivor.

Since there are so many alternatives and since a bad choice may jeopardize a surviving spouse's economic security, early and quality planning with professionals is your best bet.

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 SoloŽ 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.

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