So I fiddled with some more numbers and read the plan documents.

Right now, Mr. FP is on the "money purchase" option, meaning basically they will pay out to him what he has put in, or some approximately based on actuarial tables. That's where the $309 comes from. But it's a lifetime benefit, stops when HE (not me), dies.

If he retires at age 65, he would have 31 years of service credit and would be entitled to a lifetime benefit of .75 of his salary. Now, last year that was $55K, which would yield a monthly benefit of 3437. The marital portion of that benefit would be $110, because two of the 31 years were during our marriage. Adjusted for inflation, that's $259, which I could expect to receive (based on actuarial tables) for some 13 years. According to the spreadsheet that MDM explained so nicely to me, that benefit would be equal to a current lump sum of $4700. (Not the value of the pension--just my share.)

But how likely is he to do that? Not very, frankly. In another scenario, let's say he works 3 more years to vest, then at age 65 he would be entitled to a monthly benefit of something like $520 (12.5 percent of salary, which I was setting of $50K--he took a pay cut this year.) My share would be $104 (half of two-fifths), for a lump sum to me now of $1800. I don't think inflation would come into play here because his benefit would be based on his 2019 salary, not his imaginary 2045 salary.

So... I think my lawyer's wrong. I don't this his PERA is worth TO ME so very much more than the face value ($9000, so half would be $4500). ! Unless there's something very wrong with my math. Further input is welcome! I do want my fair share here...

Another question--when one uses the 7% interest rate, is that supposed to adjust for inflation? So if I took $4500 and put it in a compound interest calculator to see what it would be worth in 29 years and used 7%, would I be getting today's dollars or (in theory) 2045 dollars?