Survivor benefit vs. life insurance


Q. I will be retiring at the end of this year with 37 years and 10 months of service. I am a CSRS employee and will be 57 years old in September. My annual annuity would be $81,958. I will have a little over $200,000 in my Thrift Savings Plan account.

Is it smartest to take the spousal annuity or take out a life insurance policy on myself to sustain my wife once I pass away? My annual annuity will be reduced by around $7,900 a year if I chose the spousal annuity. Which would be the wisest?

A. This isn’t your choice to make. It’s your spouse’s choice. If I were your spouse, I’d favor the full survivor benefit.


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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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