By Roy Larsen, CFP®, AAMS®
In 1995, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing out annual Social Security Statements to everyone age 25 and older. These statements were designed to help Americans plan for the future by providing a detailed record of their earnings and estimates of Social Security benefits. Last year, the SSA suspended mailing these statements because of budgetary concerns, but in March 2012, the SSA resumed mailing annual statements to workers age 60 and older. If you're age 60 or older, you should receive your statement every year, about three months before your birthday. The SSA is also resuming the mailing of one-time statements to workers who are age 25 to introduce them to Social Security programs and benefits.
The SSA has also unveiled an online version of the Social Security Statement, available at the SSA website,www.socialsecurity.gov. You'll have immediate access to your statement once you've signed up for a "My Social Security" account. Statement information includes a projection of your retirement benefits at age 62, at full retirement age, and at age 70; projections of disability and survivor's benefits; a detailed record of your earnings; and other information about the Social Security program. Individuals who are receiving paper statements in the mail will have the option to sign up for online statements instead. While workers are encouraged to use the online statement option, in some cases, the SSA will mail statements upon request to individuals under age 60, including domestic violence or identity theft victims who have blocked online access to their personal information.
There's also another way to estimate the amount of Social Security retirement benefits you will be eligible to receive in the future under current law. You can use the SSA's Retirement Estimator, which is also available at the SSA website. To use this calculator, you must have enough credits to qualify for benefits, and you must not already be receiving benefits or waiting for a decision on your benefit application. You can create various scenarios that will illustrate how different earnings amounts and retirement ages will affect your future retirement benefit.
Roy Larsen, CFP®, AAMS® is a Fee Only Certified Financial Planner practitioner and acknowledged fiduciary. He works with clients in the Gainesville, GA. area outside of Atlanta and throughout the United States. Larsen Wealth Management specialized in the distribution phase of retirement or your version of chapter two. Roy has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal as well as the New York Times and has won the 5-Star Professional award for 6 consecutive years as one of the top Wealth Managers in Atlanta. Roy can be reached at 678-696-8755 or roylarsen @investinretirement.net.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information purposed only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individuals(s). To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
Roy Larsen is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and Fee Only Wealth Manager who resides outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Roy's Financial Blog contains articles on the multiple and complex issues of living successfully in Retirement. There are additional resources on our educational website, www.successfulretirementinstitute.com.