What Can You Expect from Social Security?

Despite all the debate on Social Security's demise, it's probably safe to assume it will be available when you retire. What it likely won't do is cover the full cost of a comfortable future.

So how much can you expect to receive?

Your best estimate is the one you'll find on the individualized annual statement that the Social Security Administration sends to all workers age 25 and older. Timed to arrive approximately three months before your birthday, it specifies the benefits you're likely to receive at various retirement ages: full (age 65 for those born in 1937 or before and gradually rising to age 67 for those born later), early (age 62), or late (age 70). It also reviews your earnings history, lists the individual and family benefits if you were disabled or died, and indicates whether you're eligible for Medicare.

If you'd like to get this information sooner, you can call 1.800.772.1213 or visit the Social Security Administration's website at www.ssa.gov. When you receive it, be sure to double check the reported earnings for each year you worked. And, of course, begin to integrate this data into your retirement planning immediately.

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice, or for use to avoid penalties that may be imposed under U.S. federal tax laws. Contact your attorney or other advisor regarding your specific legal, investment or tax situation.

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