Survivor benefit cost


Q. I plan on making the full survivor (50 percent) annuity reduction at retirement. I understand the cost is 10 percent, but I have received different answers as to the ongoing cost. One expert said the cost is calculated at 10 percent at the time of retirement. The other expert said the 10 percent cost also grows with each annual COLA so that the ongoing cost is always 10 percent of the then-current annuity payment after COLA. Which is correct?

A. The cost of the survivor benefit grows with your annuity payments over time, and it is always the same percentage of your 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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