Retirement Planning

What Can You Expect From Social Security?

How can you be sure your Social Security benefits will meet your expectations? Prepare for retirement by setting up a personal account to help you keep track of your benefits.

Planning For Retirement And Your Expectations

In 1940, Ida May Fuller received the first Social Security distribution in the amount of $22.54. When she died at age 100, she had claimed over $22,000 in benefits - nearly enough for her to cover her expenses (according to Ida).1 Today, most Americans would be hard-pressed if they had to live solely off of their Social Security benefits. Which is why it's so important to save as much as possible (and as early as possible) for retirement.

Looking for a way to find out how much your Social Security benefits will contribute to your retirement income? Since the Social Security Administration has stopped mailing paper Social Security statements to cut costs, you'll need get online and set up an account if you want to view your complete earnings history, taxes paid into the system, and get a personalized estimate of your expected payments.

By setting up a personal account, you can:

  • Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year
  • Get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working
  • Get a letter with proof of your benefits if you currently receive them
  • Manage the following benefits:
    • Change your address
    • Start or change your direct deposit
    • Get a replacement Medicare card
    • Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.

You can also use the SSA's Retirement Estimator tool available on the SSA's website to estimate your future Social Security benefits based on your earnings record.

Proactive retirement planning should include a periodic check of your Social Security statement to make sure your information is being recorded correctly and to help you make decisions about when to claim your benefits.


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