If you are lucky enough to have a pension benefit, choosing which payment option to take can be intimidating. Once you choose, you generally can't change it. Are you better off with a one-time distribution of the full value or should you take monthly payments? And, if you choose monthly, are you better off with payments that last for just your life, or that continue on for a surviving spouse? Even if you are married, the best option is not necessarily obvious. Here are some principles to help you through the decision.