April Is Social Security Month
Since 1935, the U.S. Social Security Administration has offered information to help beneficiaries plan for their senior years. It’s never too early to begin! Did you know that at any point in your working years, you can get an idea of what your Social Security benefits might be?
Doing this sooner rather than later is a good way to motivate ourselves to save for our retirement years. Many people believe Social Security benefits will allow them to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, but that’s not the case. Studies show many people overestimate what they will get! Knowing you’re going to need extra money during your senior years can help you decide between contributing to your retirement account versus, say, taking that lavish vacation.
Create a My Social Security account to begin tracking your earnings and managing your benefits. Social Security offers four great reasons to do so:
- Accurate records could mean higher Social Security benefits. Your “my Social Security” account shows the amount of money you earn each year pre-retirement. Because the Social Security benefits you’ll receive when you retire are based on those earnings, if the records are wrong, you may not get all you’re entitled to. Get into the habit of checking your Social Security earnings record annually for mistakes so you won’t have to worry about it later when you’re ready to retire.
- You can calculate the best age to retire. Your “my Social Security” account will show you the estimated amount of monthly benefits you’ll receive at different retirement ages (early, full retirement age, or later). Starting benefits early at 62 will reduce the amount you get; delaying until 70 will increase the amount you’ll receive. Knowing these numbers will help you have a realistic picture of what to expect so you can plan accordingly.
- Staying aware of your estimated Social Security benefits is a good reality check. Social Security is designed to make up only a limited percentage of your pre-retirement income. Knowing your estimated benefits now can motivate you to invest and save to help make up the difference between your future Social Security benefits and the amount you will need to retire more comfortably.
- You can manage your benefits without having to wait in line at a Social Security office. If you’re currently receiving retirement or disability benefits, a “my Social Security” account can give you the freedom to check your benefit and payment information, start or change direct deposit of your benefits, update your address and other information, get a replacement Social Security or Medicare card, and more. And if you’re a new applicant, you can check your application status, too.
Visit the my Social Security web page (www.ssa.gov/myaccount) to get started.
Visit the Social Security website (www.ssa.gov) to get a Social Security number and card, to learn about your benefits, to find information on when it’s best to begin collecting benefits, to find out how to apply for Medicare, to learn about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for people with disabilities, to protect your private information, to learn how to help an older loved one with their account, and more.
Source: The U.S. Social Security Administration, adapted by IlluminAge AgeWise