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Retirement Weekly: A pension perk for veterans, rethinking renting in retirement, cutting costs on funerals and more retirement news

Happy Friday MarketWatchers,

The holiday-shortened week was certainly full of retirement news. Here are some of our highlights:

For military families there’s a short window in which veterans can change their spousal survivor benefits so their spouse or children can receive a pension after the retiree dies — it’s the first, and for now only, year such a change is possible, reports Alessandra Malito​.

Qualifying service members are offered a chance to enroll in (or opt out of) the Survivor Benefit Plan, which offers a pension of up to 55% of the veterans’ retirement pay. The inflation-adjusted payment is provided through the surviving spouse’s lifetime, or until the child reaches a maximum age. This expires at the end of 2023, and will surely take time to sort out, so don’t wait until the last minute. 

Brett Arends makes the case for renting in retirement instead of owning a home. It allows retirees to cash in on one of their biggest investments, offers flexibility and means a lot less upkeep and maintenance. And plenty of people are ready to downsize after decades in a home that may not suit their needs or geographic desires any longer.

However, the stability of owning a home — particularly outright — is very appealing. Your costs are fixed and it makes budgeting much easier. Brett also recently wrote about why it’s better to invest in REITs than become a landlord yourself. 

Jessica Hall learned that it’s not just the prices of things like eggs, gasoline and rent that are climbing, the cost of funerals is on the rise as well. It’s becoming such an issue that it’s making people rethink how they mark the end of their lives — things like renting a coffin or having a do-it-yourself funeral. Indeed, survey respondents said they underestimated the cost of a funeral and the costs of a loved one’s funeral left them feeling burdened.  

Have a great weekend, check out more of our retirement content on MarketWatch and our Retirement Weekly newsletter:

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