iStock_000007461656LargeFor years we have been hearing dire predictions about the future of Social Security, particularly during election years when candidates debate their plans to improve the system. Better healthcare has led to a longer life expectancy for all of us, which is of course great news. But with the Baby Boomer population approaching or already entering retirement, Social Security may be facing a significant strain on its budget. Amid all the speculation, most of you are probably just wondering one thing: Can I still expect a Social Security check when I retire? And how much will I receive?

Social Security actually attempts to address this confusion, and provides a handy online tool which will calculate your expected monthly benefit. You can access this calculator at http://www.ssa.gov/estimator. Just input information such as your birth date and expected earnings, and the tool will tell you how much you can expect to receive from Social Security once you retire. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that this is only an estimate. With the system undergoing many changes in the future, nothing is guaranteed.

At current time, you have several options regarding your retirement age, and this decision will impact the size of your monthly check. Social Security designates your full retirement age according to your date of birth, but it will range between age 65 and 67. This is the age at which you will receive full benefits. However, you also have the option of receiving benefits early, at age 62, and drawing a smaller monthly check. Another option is to wait until age 70 to receive benefits, and possibly receive a larger check. The online tool can estimate all of these amounts for you.

Theoretically, continuing to work and pay into Social Security would result in a larger check each month. However, the fund continues to pay more in benefits than it collects from payroll taxes. At current rates, Social Security will be able to pay out benefits until 2033. Unless public policy changes, Social Security will only be able to pay out about 75 percent of scheduled benefits at that time*.

When planning your retirement income, it’s important not to rely too heavily on Social Security. By the time you retire, your monthly benefit may be less than the currently estimated amount. Remember that funding your own retirement is the key to a secure financial future.

*http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/

This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional.  The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time.  All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only.  It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. 

13336 – 2014/4/17