You and your spouse are getting divorced, and you're making a list of your high-value assets. You want to make sure you don't miss out on your fair share.
You start with the house, which is paid off and worth $200,000. You know that you have another $10,000 in savings, and the rest of your extra money is in an investment account.
These are important assets. However, if your spouse has a pension, it could be more valuable than anything else you own.
For instance, perhaps the pension pays out $4,000 per month, or $1,000 every week. Remember that a pension often pays out for life. If you retire at 65 and live to be 85, you're getting those payments for 20 years.
So, your home is valuable because you may be entitled to $100,000. However, that pension is going to hit $48,000 in payouts after just one year. After two years, it will hit $96,000. The next month, it hits that $100,000 threshold.
Even if you only get half of it, you'll hit $100,000 after four years and two months. If you live for 20 years after retiring, you'll get about five times that amount. Clearly, it's going to soar past the value of your home.
A pension is also valuable because it frees up your time. It gives you financial security and ensures that you don't have to keep working well after retirement age.
As you can see, when looking into all of your legal rights, you'd be selling yourself short financially if you ignore your spouse's pension.
Source: Our Everyday Life, "How Long Does a Pension Pay Out?," Gregory Hamel, accessed Sep. 13, 2017