A:

In most cases, an individual with a pension plan should have the option to leave at least a portion of his or her pension to a surviving spouse and/or child. Oftentimes, this can be done by purchasing an option on the pension plan. However, depending on the specifics and conditions mentioned in the plan, the cost in implementing such a measure will be in the form of reduced benefits for the surviving spouse.

One example would be a defined-benefit pension with joint and survivor options. In this case, the surviving spouse would be entitled to at least half of the benefits that were originally given to the couple. In a regular defined-benefit pension plan without options, benefits stop once the individual passes away, which means that benefit end sooner. The plan with joint and survivor options assumes that one member of the couple will survive; therefore, both types of pensions are designed to pay out a similar amount over time, which is why the monthly amount paid out on the pension with joint and survivor options is lower.

For related reading, see Pension Law Could Reduce Your Payout.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is after-hours trading? Am I able to trade at this time?

    After-hours trading (AHT) refers to the buying and selling of securities on major exchanges outside of specified regular ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Am I losing the right to collect spousal Social Security benefits before I collect ...

    The short answer is yes, if you haven't reached age 62 by December 31, 2015. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 disrupted ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the maximum I can receive from my Social Security retirement benefit?

    The maximum monthly Social Security benefit payment for a person retiring in 2016 at full retirement age is $2,639. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are target-date retirement funds good investments?

    The main benefit of target-date retirement funds is convenience. If you really don't want to bother with your retirement ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Where else can I save for retirement after I max out my Roth IRA?

    With uncertainty about the sustainability of Social Security benefits for future retirees, a lot of responsibility for saving ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Term

    How Traditional IRAs Work

    A traditional IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account that includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments.
  2. Retirement

    5 Reasons Millennials Lead in Saving for Retirement

    Say what you want to about millennials but the one thing they are doing better than any other generation is saving for retirement. Here's why.
  3. Retirement

    Shopping the New Retirement Products

    There are more options than ever for retirement portfolios these days. Choosing the right product comes down to your needs, time and management style.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 3 PIMCO Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Explore analyses of the top three PIMCO funds for 2016 and learn how these funds can be used to create a diversified retirement portfolio.
  5. Options & Futures

    What Does Quadruple Witching Mean?

    In a financial context, quadruple witching refers to the day on which contracts for stock index futures, index options, and single stock futures expire.
  6. Retirement

    How Much Should You Have In Your 401(k) To Retire?

    Determining how much money should be in your 401(k) when you retire depends on several variables, many of which are uncertain.
  7. Estate Planning

    Estate Planning: 16 Things To Do Before You Die

    If you don’t plan your estate, your surviving family may have to deal with disputes and probate that were avoidable.
  8. Retirement

    Retiring in Thailand: The Pros & Cons

    It's a lovely land, but before relocating, get the skinny on this Southeast Asian kingdom.
  9. Options & Futures

    4 Equity Derivatives And How They Work

    Equity derivatives offer retail investors opportunities to benefit from an underlying security without owning the security itself.
  10. Investing

    How To Make Sure Your Healthcare Costs Do Not Ruin Your Retirement

    The best proactive plan of action for a stable retirement is to understand medical costs, plan ahead, invest properly, and consider supplemental insurance.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Warrant

    A derivative that confers the right, but not the obligation, ...
  2. Bull Call Spread

    An options strategy that involves purchasing call options at ...
  3. Board Of Directors - B Of D

    A group of individuals that are elected as, or elected to act ...
  4. Sequence Risk

    The risk of receiving lower or negative returns early in a period ...
  5. Nursing Home Resident Trust Fund

    An account in a nursing home that helps residents manage finances ...
  6. Backdoor Roth IRA

    A method that taxpayers can use to place retirement savings in ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  3. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  4. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  5. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  6. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
Trading Center