Pension maximization is a strategy that begins with selecting a single life annuity for income to be paid from your retirement plan, rather than a joint and survivor annuity.
The next step involves using some of your annuity income to buy a life insurance policy. At your death, the annuity income ends and the life insurance death benefit is paid to your beneficiary, often your surviving spouse.
You do receive more income from a single life annuity than from a joint and survivor annuity, which translates to a larger pension while you're alive.
However, pension max, as this approach is sometimes called, has some potentially serious drawbacks. These include the cost of the insurance premiums, including sales charges, and an increased burden on your beneficiary for turning the death benefit into a source of lifetime income.