Life insurance vs. survivor benefit


Q: A co-worker is trying to convince me that taking an annuity without survivor benefit is more cost-effective than with the survivor benefit. He says it is better to take the full benefit and buy an insurance policy to protect my wife when I die. Besides the health insurance aspect of that decision, I argue that the survivor benefit is the better choice. I believe you wrote an article on why it is better to take the survivor annuity. Would you please repeat that advice and would you also point to where I may find more information on this question?

A: Better for who? Better for your life insurance agent, definitely. And you can probably enjoy a little more spending cash while you’re alive, but I doubt that, with the proper understanding, your spouse would choose this option. You can visit, click on the link to “Who We Are,” then click on the “Archive” link at the top. Type “pension max” into the search window and you’ll find several pieces I have written on the topic.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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