Are you worth more dead or alive?

Many long-time government workers and retirees are worth more dead than alive due to the variety of wealth they accumulate over a lifetime.

Many people, especially long-time government workers and retirees, are worth more dead than alive. That is not a slur on their character or career, but rather the fact that over a lifetime many people accumulate wealth in a variety of forms: Maybe a house or other property, a car or several, insurance, a 401(k) or Thrift Savings Plan? Maybe they have a survivor annuity that will give their significant other a lifetime stream of income that is designed to keep up with inflation no matter how long he or she lives?

The number of private sector firms offering defined benefit pension plans gets smaller each year. So are the number who offer employees a 401(k) plan with anything more than a token employer-match.

In an article last year in “MoneyRates” columnist Dan Rafter wrote, “If you like the idea of having a traditional pension plan, here are five tips on finding jobs that offer pensions:

  1. “Consider government work. Eighty-six percent of workers in state and local government jobs have access to a defined benefit pension, compared with just 18% of workers in the private sector.
  2. “Become a public school teacher. While access to traditional pensions is pretty high for government employees in general, it is virtually universal for public school teachers. Ninety-nine percent of primary, secondary and special education teachers in the public school system have access to a defined benefit pension.
  3. “Join a union. Much like traditional pension plans, unions are institutions that have declined in prominence over the past few decades. However, they are still around in some sectors of the economy, and their negotiating leverage can make a difference in gaining union employees more access to pension benefits than non-union employees. Among government workers, 94% of union members have access to a defined benefit pension, compared with 79% of non-union workers. In the private sector, the difference is even more dramatic: 71% of union members in the private sector have access to a defined benefit plan, compared with just 13% of non-union workers.
  4. “Work for a large company. While only 18% of all private sector workers have access to a defined benefit pension, this number jumps to 43% for companies of 500 employees or more.
  5. ”Settle in the Northeast. In both the private and public sectors, employees in the Northeast have slightly higher rates of access to pension plans than the national average.”

Traditional pension plans may be something of an endangered species, especially in the private sector. However, you can still find them if you know where to look.”

So far, so good. Most of you reading this have or will have an estate that includes a TSP, a federal annuity, etc. Now what? Do you have a will and if so, what kind? And do you need more?

What about medical directives, a revocable trust — who needs what when? Tune in to our Your Turn radio show today at 10 a.m. EDT. to hear Washington, D.C. attorney Tom O’Rourke talk about what everybody, but especially members of the federal family, needs to know about estate planning.

The show will be streaming at and on 1500 AM in the D.C. metro area, though it will be archived online. If you have questions for Tom O’Rourke please send them to before showtime.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

In 2016 Columbia University librarians digitized a 17th-century medical pop-up book designed to make learning human anatomy more engaging for adults. Written by Johann Remmelin in 1613, “Captoptrum Microcosmicum” 120 flaps which overlap to represent parts of the body.

Source: Smithsonian Mag

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