Choose your pension option

This important decision will determine the amount of your lifetime monthly pension payments and the amount your spouse or beneficiaries may receive when you die.


Joint life pension options

A joint life pension is a monthly pension guaranteed for your lifetime and your spouse’s lifetime. If you die before your spouse, they will receive your monthly pension or a portion of your monthly pension for the remainder of their life.
 

Your joint life pension options are:

  • Joint life 100 per cent
  • Joint life 60 per cent, with a 5-, 10- or 15-year guarantee

If you have a spouse, you are required by law to choose a joint life pension option that leaves your spouse at least 60 per cent of your monthly pension payments if you die first. If your spouse signs a waiver giving up their right to this benefit, you may select less or no pension protection for your spouse.

Joint life 100 per cent

This option will pay you a monthly pension for as long as you live and, when you die, will continue to pay your spouse the full amount of your monthly pension for the rest of their life. It results in a lower monthly income than a single life pension option because the pension is guaranteed for two lives.

This option pays your full lifetime monthly pension to your spouse after you die. This may be an important consideration if your spouse has no other significant sources of retirement income.

Joint life 60 per cent, with a 5-, 10- or 15-year guarantee

With this option, 100 per cent of your lifetime monthly pension payment is guaranteed for your choice of a 5-, 10- or 15-year period. If you die before the end of the guarantee period, your spouse will receive 100 per cent of your monthly pension for the remainder of the guarantee period only. After that time, they will receive 60 per cent of your monthly pension until their death.

The joint life 60 per cent option provides you with more income during your lifetime than the joint life 100 per cent option. However, less of your pension continues to your spouse after your death.

For example, if you choose a joint life 60 per cent pension guaranteed for 10 years and you die before receiving 120 payments (the end of the 10-year guarantee period), your spouse will receive 100 per cent of your basic pension until the last (120th) payment has been made. After that, your spouse will receive 60 per cent of your basic pension until their death.

Important considerations

  • If your spouse is much younger than you, there is a large cost for the joint life option because it is assumed that the pension will be paid for much longer than if it were being paid only to you
  • You can only name your spouse as a beneficiary (or a former spouse, if a court order or written agreement states they are entitled to a portion of your pension) for a joint life option
  • Only 60 per cent of the pension will continue to your spouse if you die after the guarantee period expires
  • You may be able to change your pension decision within 60 days from the date your pension is granted; however, depending on your situation, you may not be able to change it at all

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