#229 – Maximizing Social Security: The Best Social Security Benefits Calculators
Social security is an important part of retirement even if you have plenty of assets. That is why we are dedicating the whole month to learn how to maximize your social security benefits. This is the second episode in the four-episode series in which we discuss the best social security benefits calculators. This may not be the most exciting topic, but it is important to learn how to get the most out of your social security benefits. Listen to this episode to hear how to find the best social security calculators as well as how to use them.
How to protect your social security
Protecting your social security number is so important to keeping your identity and benefits safe. 158 million people had their social security number exposed just last year. That’s half the population of the country! There are a few protective measures that you can take to guard your social security number. You don’t need to carry your social security card with you at all times since it can easily get stolen. Instead, leave it at home in a safe place. Some organizations like medical offices ask for your social security number but don’t actually need it. You don’t have to give it to them. Listen to this episode to hear more tips on how to keep your social security number safe.
How to calculate your benefits
The social security administration is a great resource you can use to calculate your benefits. They send you a yearly statement with your lifetime earnings as well as a projected benefit amount. The important thing to remember is that the benefit amount they use assumes that you will continue to earn the same amount that you are earning right now all the way until you reach full retirement age. So if you plan on retiring early or taking a pretirement phase where you are not earning much then that number will change. Listen to this episode to hear how you can calculate your benefits if you plan to retire early or enjoy pretirement.
If you download your statement make sure to encrypt it
You can download your social security statement to your computer by going to the social security administration’s website. If you choose to do so, it is important to protect the file. Your social security statement is a treasure trove of information. It has such goodies as your name, address, the last four digits of your social security number, and your earnings from an entire lifetime. If you have your statement downloaded on your computer it is important to password protect the file to avoid all of that information being stolen by hackers. Learn how to password protect it on a Mac by listening to this episode.
What kinds of calculators should you use?
Ssa.gov has benefits calculators that can help you estimate your benefits based on your earnings. If you are going into pretirement or plan on retiring before full retirement age you will want to use their detailed calculator. This will give you the most precise estimate of what your benefits will be. You actually have to download the calculator onto your computer which brings another layer of complexity to things as only the government can do. The detailed calculator can help you decide when would be best for you to retire. There are several other calculators both on the social security administration website as well as through private organizations. Listen to this episode to hear which calculators you should use to help you understand when the ideal time to retire will be for you.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN
HOT TOPIC SEGMENT
- [2:52] Protecting your social security number so important
Practical Planning Segment
- [11:04] How to calculate your benefits
- [15:08] If you download your statement password protect it
- [16:22] What kinds of calculators should you use?
- [19:56] A lot of financial planning is about maximizing the numbers
- [23:55] What are some other websites that can help calculate your social security benefits?
THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT
- [26:13] Hobbies can make you happy
TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT
- [29:22] Check out one of the social security calculators or make time for your hobby
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That
BOOK - Rock Retirement by Roger Whitney
3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover
Roger’s Retirement Learning Center
The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page