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Monday, May 28, 2012

The First Thing You Need to Know About Retirement

One of the first steps in retirement planning is figuring out where your income will come from as you transition from receiving a career paycheck to receiving a paycheck from Social Security, your nest egg, a pension, and possibly other sources.

Today, you can find out how much you can expect to receive from Social Security by spending a few minutes online to create an account. If this was a recipe on the Food Network, it would be rated at the "Easy" level.

Go to  Create an account. Write down your password and the answers to the security questions in a safe place (especially if you are approaching the age where you plan to start taking Social Security!).

You'll come to a page that shows the amount you are expected to receive if you begin at "Full Retirement."  Next click "View Estimated Benefits" as shown:
Source: Social Security Administration

This will give you three numbers:  amount you would receive today (if you are over 62 years old), amount you can expect to receive at your full retirement age, and amount you can expect to receive at age 70.

This, of course, is an important first step in retirement planning.  At what age to take Social Security is the next step, and here a number of variables and assumptions come into play including spousal benefits, longevity assumptions, other sources of income, etc.

While you are on the site, be sure to check that your earnings record is correct.  If you are looking for a source that analyzes the question of when to take Social Security, check out A Social Security Owner's Manual by Jim Blankenship.

If you are looking to do a good deed on this beautiful Memorial Day, pass this information on to someone you think might find it useful.


  1. If we would advise, as the first step is to look into your bank account and saving and think how long will you survive on that?

    Perhaps it would be a kick off starting. Do people really count on social security hand outs?

    1. I think most people figure they will get Social Security. But you do make a good point on how much people can count on. My guess is that they won't receive the full inflation adjustment. Also, the full retirement age will likely be adjusted and I think it should given the longevity statistics.

  2. I was pretty surprised at how much I'd receive in Social Security. I know a lot of people have their doubts, but I have my head up on this one. My retirement plan doesn't include Social Security directly; it's my safety margin in case I under-plan.

    1. If you can retire comfortably without needing Social Security you are in good shape!

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