The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: About the life insurance for survival benefit, I do not quite understand if 75%, 50% or 25% is best to chose from, regardless of the cost to my pocket premium. I just want to make sure I am selecting the right amount to leave behind in case I am gone before my love ones. How do I decide?

Reg’s Response: It’s up to you to decide how much coverage you want to retain and how much you are willing to pay for it. If you retire and elect to have it decline by 2 percent per month until it reaches 25 percent of its face value, you will no longer have to pay any premiums after you reach age 65. If you elect to have it decline to 50 percent of its face value, you will continue to pay the premiums, which increase over time. If you elect no reduction, the premiums will be even higher and also increase over time.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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