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 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 (or another specified percentage), with a 5-, 10- or 15-year guarantee (or no guarantee period)
- Joint life with any number under 100 per cent
Joint life 100 per cent and joint life 60 per cent are the options shown on your estimate as 60 per cent is the requirement if you have a spouse. If you wish to select another percentage, please contact the plan.
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. Your spouse can sign a waiver giving up their rights to this benefit, allowing you to select less or no pension protection for your spouse.
You can only name your spouse (or a former spouse if a court order or written agreement gives them an entitlement) for a joint life option.
If your spouse is younger than you, your pension payments will be smaller because it is assumed that the pension will be paid for longer than if it were being paid only to you.
Joint life 100 per cent
This option will pay you a monthly pension for as long as you live and, when you die, continue to pay your spouse your basic lifetime monthly pension for the rest of their life. It results in a lower monthly payment than a single life pension option because the pension is guaranteed for two lives. The pension payments end after both you and your spouse have died.
Why choose a joint life 100 per cent pension?
- 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 (or less than 100 per cent), with a 5-, 10- or 15-year guarantee
With this option, your basic 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 a specified percentage of your monthly pension until their death.
The joint life 60 per cent option provides you with a higher monthly pension payment during your lifetime than the joint life 100 per cent option. However, less of your pension will be paid to your spouse after your death. If you choose no guarantee, after you die, your spouse would receive 60 per cent of your basic lifetime monthly pension payment until their 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.
In this example, if you were to die after the end of the guarantee period, your spouse would receive 60 per cent of your lifetime monthly pension until they die.
Why choose a joint life (less than 100 per cent) pension?
- This option provides a higher monthly pension payment during your lifetime than the 100 per cent joint life option
- Your spouse will continue to receive a monthly lifetime pension after you die
Important things to keep in mind
- The lower the joint life percentage chosen, the less your surviving spouse will receive
- Only 60 per cent (or another specified percentage) of the pension will continue to your spouse if you die after the guarantee period expires